Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
My Review of Look Both Ways, by Debbie Millman (c) Louise Dunn Herman, July 25, 2010
…like the sculptor who looks at a stone and realizes what it could be, Debbie Millman has transformed the book form into her own creation. It has become, in addition to it's message, an object.
While reading the book Look Both Ways, by Debbie Millman, an enriching experience takes place. The cover is conventional, yet the palette and overlapping comma symbol on it’s front take on greater significance as the ‘story’ unfolds. Opening the book, you first find a series of pages that resemble the chalkboards of childhood. As you begin to read, you are drawn, literally, into the text by the casual conversational way it is written. You might be reading someone’s notes in their lined hard cover black and white school composition book. Or perhaps, it could be a diary. But soon enough, easyness in reading starts to give way to weaving eye movement as you are forced to follow the types' gradual uneven changes. Along the way, you encounter some cross-outs and smudges which speak of first drafts, or suggest the spontaneity of only one draft, or the innocence of a child's first efforts.
Periferally, you sense something more. The blackness of the chalkboard appears painted on. And toward the edges, color, quite pleasant, peeks through. This ‘underpainting’ or layering suggests the artist’s hand, or brush as it were. And the white chalk-like script is immediate, and familiar, and common. So, there is a lot to see, and read, and think about on each of the pages. Sensitized now, you notice as you read, that the pages appear to take on an ever increasing sophistication as the ‘child’ grows up, moves to the city, begins a career. This build-up increases in a gradual curve, almost imperceptible until you realize what is happening. The style is changing along with the author, as she reveals the various foibles and traumas of school, personal relationships, and work-related choices.
In the last two essays, a fully realized marriage of art, style, and content suggest the satisfaction of having realized a dream. In one essay, the direction lines, flow chart-like, pace the author and the reader in a choppy but purposeful stride. The final essay contains shadowy, ghost-like echoes of words, barely perceptible in strategic yet visually scattered places (read between the lines). Floating on a sophisticated evolved backdrop, this final piece displays a secure and fully realized artist’s hand as well as a firm control of the medium. Millman has, despite her aha moment of choosing ‘branding’ as a practical career, achieved what she tells us she really wants to be: an artist and a writer.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Remarks of this type are often evidence that the person you are talking to is disturbed by what you are saying, or how you are feeling. They may be unfamiliar with the subject and/or not at all interested in engaging in a conversation about it. Or they might feel they ‘should’ know more about it. You are enthusiastic and in addition have your arms around this topic. They are uneasy at your obvious delight in something they do not trust.
Time to hang up the phone, leave gracefully, end the conversation - a satisfying solution compared with trying to convince the other person of the worth of what you are saying or doing. Trying to persuade another to read or do or buy what YOU found to be meaningful, is as if you were to say that your favorite color should also be theres'. It only leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy on your part, as they continually rebuff your misguided efforts.
Interestingly, they feel no remorse or guilt at their rebuttal of your topic, having convinced themselves that their path in life has fences on each side. Your remarks are a weather event threatening these fences, and you have to be ‘put in your place’ in order for them to continue on their chosen path. Staying on that road means security; everything is familiar. They have learned to deal with rocky parts by breaking them into little pieces, stomping on them, kicking them out, and then going on their way. Looking back is dangerous, revisiting past episodes is to be avoided. Visits often lead to questioning the way those episodes were handled, and that questioning is unsettling.
Why try to share your opinions, enthusiasm, or experiences with such people? You may think you are being generous to recap something that you find wonderful. Conversely, does the other person you are interacting with share their own special finds and passions? Usually not. You often find out accidentally after the fact that they have done or experienced something special. They may not even have thought they needed to share it with anyone.
People who appreciate what you have to say and who share your enthusiasm for an event are not threatened by your obvious delight in an experience. They know what it’s like, as the same desire for sharing often happens to them. They too, enjoy a conversation about what has transpired or been felt, not necessarily to evoke change, but to bestow upon another a little of their own flavor. When not in the presence of such kindred spirits, when your gift is about to be rejected, it's better to change your direction, and continue along to grow in an ever widening world of your own making.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
When I was painting the marbles in the round glass bowl, it gave me such joy. Adding the other elements, the McDonalds figurine, the Cinderella figurine, the little ceramic pillbox with the red shoe on top, the catalogue from the Alex Katz painting show with Ada on the cover in the red coat-it all seemed to come together by itself. Like the painting took on a life. There was very little about the experience I did not like. When I think about painting, when it flows like that, when you go from start to finish in a swoop, regardless of how long it really takes, the outcome is joyous, both to me, the painter, and to the person who looks at the finished work. The joy comes through. The doubt never really surfaces, there is no doubt- about the subject, the composition, the paint quality, the color. It just works.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The innermost core can be touched by a decision that comes up all of a sudden.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Horoscope today said "ONLY YOU are the judge of whether you are successful." Nice. No one else's opinion can possibly be the answer to whether or not you are successful. What a relief. It is inside of you. Your own personal goals. Satisfaction when you achieve some goal that is yours alone.
It can be as simple as eating healthy all day long. Or for two hours at a time. Or exercising. Or spending two hours painting. Or going for a long walk. Whatever is your need at the time.
It can be figuring out a problem that has caused some worry. Waiting till you feel right about the solution or direction you want to go...till the decision feels right. No one can say your decision is not right, because it is right for you. Once you go through this process of internal review, contemplation, waiting till the right moment to act, you will save yourself from doubt.
At the end of the day, sleepy time, review your happy accomplishment. That one thing can make you smile as you start your dreams for tomorrow: that you achieved a goal that is meaningful to you.
People sense the pride in yourself and see your smile. It is relaxing to be around someone who is happy with themselves. By achieving your own special private goals...inch by inch...you live your life consciously and in the moment.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
A performance like this illustrates that to be an artist, to create art in it's various forms, you need to meld technique with expressiveness. No self consciousness, or holding back, worrying what the audience will think. Being completely in the moment and not questioning or looking in the mirror. The audience becomes part of the show, part of the book, painting, rhythm of the dance. It all comes together in an experience that is unique.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
How important this part of my make-up is, how really necessary-for doing what I feel I am capable of. Anytime I ever denied this part of myself-this necessary path explored-I have not felt like me.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
"What had been slowly leaking, years and years, the person who said "I." Last line of a poem by Rachel Hadas in "Speak Up" in Neurology Now, Jan/Feb 2010.