Seeing Lee Krasner’s Collage Paintings & Other Works from 1938-1982

A notification from Kasmin Gallery alerted me to an exhibit that I was very excited to see: Lee Krasner: Collage Paintings 1938-1981

Lee Krasner is better known by some as the famed abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock‘s wife.

The exhibition was a tightly curated ensemble of works from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and private collections.

I admit I was initially interested in seeing Krasner’s works as

1. I’ve read about more than experienced her,

2. I was intrigued by her relationship with Jackson Pollock as an artist and as a partner in life

and

3. I was interested in exploring how her works have influenced the style of Jackson Pollock and vice versa.

She is also known for her large canvas and Neo-cubist works, and while the exhibition primarily displays Lee Krasner’s collage paintings, I was able to see one or two paintings that reflected her other “periods” of style:

Both collage and cubist elements

Things to note if you have have the chance to visit Kasmin before it closes

A couple things caught the attention of my friend Georgia and I:

  • The way some had glass/plexi-glass on top and others didn’t. We wondered whether it had something to do with who owned the work that is being displayed; from what I’ve learned so far through self-teaching and asking peers in the art business, owners’ and collectors’ preferences sometimes have a lot of sway in regards to curatorial decisions.

Curious, I went up to the gallery assistant and asked him whether this work belonged to someone else and did not belong to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation

Verdict: It was in fact from the private collection of another!

  • Her changing artistic styles from monochrome to stark color contrasts.
  • Her heavy handed use of various materials; her interesting use of something that looks a lot like blue tape.
  • That she seemed to prefer more jagged, angular shapes vs Pollock’s round style of paint application. We did see some marks reminiscent of Pollock’s trademark shapes and textures in a couple of Lee Krasner’s paintings on display.

Bisous,

Soo

Morning Meditation: Examining Success, Failure, and What it Means to Live Skillfully

I was doing morning devotionals with my partner this morning with a reading of Psalm Chapter 33.

In our second round through, he pointed verse 3 to me, which states that we are “to play skillfully”.

We briefly thought about what that meant in a work context, and I started thinking about the relationship between skilled work, living in excellence and the word success. Our conversation inspired me to meditate further on these two words, and brought me to some very important things to remember:

The Abstract

Fact: God demands, no, requires excellence – OUI!

Examination: Does playing skillfully = success with my desired goals, milestones, specific aims? – NON! Pas nécessairement.

Self-examination: Do I evaluate outcomes as successes or failures through the world’s eyes, or God’s eyes? – TO BE DETERMINED!


Remember that the excellence God calls us to live and embody does not always beget an “outcome” looking like success as defined by modern culture and the world

The world’s definition of success, according to Oxford Languages:


noun: success; plural noun: successes

  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. – Psalm 33:10“he foils the plans of the earth, he thwarts the purposes of the people” – sometimes he thwarts my purposes, even with my good intentions, because I am thinking very small, very short term, compared to his very big, longer term picture of excellence and success.
    • the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status. – Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one or despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  Replace ‘money’ with social status, your personal goals-vision, wealth, fame “her success owed more to hard work than luck”
  2. the good or bad outcome of an undertaking. – One of the first things we discover as Christians is that God’s value system is incredibly different from the world’s. I have to always challenge my thinking in seeing an outcome or situation as good or bad, the way I (human, not omniscient) shaped by the world’s education am led to see, and instead shift to thinking of how God sees it.

Remember to be realistic (for God loves his people shrewd) about what is in our control

In addition to our observance and acceptance that God is ultimately sovereign, omni-potent, etc., we must accept that often, there are 163947290 other forces (genetics! people with different motives and inputs!) influencing the outcome of our aims and purposes– things which are completely out of our control.

Accepting how the world actually works looks like acknowledging that an undesired outcome is not correlated with how “right,”– efficiently, productively, intelligently, or hard we worked. Thoughts such as “I could have done better,” “I am not good enough,” or “I am a failure” have no place in the world of a true pragmatist!

So…why am I trying to overcompensate and work even longer, bio-hack myself even further? Why am I defaulting to a self-induced state of anxiety, blaming myself, blaming another for an undesired outcome, proclaiming something a failure, instead of seeing something for what it actually was? What am I really trying to do here?

subvert God’s plan?

Remember that God’s view of time is different

Consider the probability that a decade for us is merely a blip, like, fractions of a nano-second (billionth of a second), for God. Try to see a situation, an outcome, or a pursuit the way God sees it.

Some questions to maybe ask:

Am I expecting God to fulfill an aim and purpose of mine? Do I have disordered expectations? Maybe I can have a conversation with him, ask God to let go of my expectations of him and what I believe an outcome should look like, or a situation should be played out like.


Remain in remembrance of God’s definition of excellence and success

In order to do that, we must constantly re-learn, memorize, elaborately rehearse, etc. etc. his aims and purpose is for us; we must have his view– his definition of success and skillful living committed to heart. So below are some:

Fruit of the Spirit

Embodying

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Forbearance – patience, self-control, restraint and tolerance
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness 
  • Self-control

Beatitudes

  • Hungering & thirsting for righteousness
  • Being merciful
  • Being pure in heart
  • Being peacemakers

I respect Ray Dalio for amplifying a life principle of being radically open to feedback (love this book and re-read it yearly!), but the OG call is here before 4th century B.C.:

Proverbs 15:22; 12

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.”

God’s will/aim/purpose is for us to be skillful and diligent in work

Proverbs 31: 13; 15-17

Depictions of a woman of noble character: “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands… She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her family servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”

Exodus 31: 2-3

The Lord to Moses about Bezalel: “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.”

Proverbs 18:9

“One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”

Mark 16:16-18

Jesus to his disciples: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

God’s will/aim/purpose is for us to embody forbearance, particularly in exhibiting control of our tongue:

Proverbs 18:21

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 3:3-6; 9

“When we put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder where the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell…. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Some songs to encourage yes and amen’ing and inspire prayer:

Situation – Jonathan McReynolds : “There is a limit to what I can see, so I am not asking for an outcome, or praying for results, I’m not hoping that it all goes, exactly how I want, no I’m not asking you to do it, or asking that you don’t, I’m just inviting you to my situation”.

Yes and Amen – Housefires : We say yes and Amen (let it be!) to his plan and his desired outcomes, not ours 🙂


End thought: A conscious pursuit of aims and purposes in line and being on-board with God’s will does not create anxiety, a lack of peace, and it never leads to failure.

Bises,

Soo

Coverphoto is Charlotte Greenwood

Best Works of Josef Albers at David Zwirner’s Albers and Morandi: Never Finished Exhibit

Josef Albers is a German artist I am a great fan of, him along with his German-American partner and fellow artist, Anni Albers. Both were students and teachers at the Bauhaus, with Josef specializing in abstract painting and Anni in textiles.

I can only dream of the kind of youth they had, studying under Johannes Itten (Swiss abstractionist painter, color theorist and part of the Weimar Bauhaus), brushing shoulders with Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky– becoming masters of crafts.

Thoughts:

Most of the painted layers for the square paintings were layered on from center to outwards. There were some where Albers changed up his layering process for, which was very interesting– occasionally he’ll make the smallest center square as the final (top) layer.

If anyone could help me get Josef Albers’ Midnight and Noon book (it’s sold out), I would be extremely grateful.

Very interesting in person:

morning day-dream

There’s a small part of me that always wonders if I pursued the creative route.. what would life have been like?

What would life be like with a partner who is equally or more in love with art? What it’d be like for us to chase visions and beauty

together.

Fish & Avatar Illustration Sketches

As I illustrated these, my mind took me back to a bible verse in Matthew Chapter 4, when Jesus spoke to the men who would become his apostles, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”


I also illustrated an avatar of my sister with the thought that it would be nice if there was more open-sourcing of avatars and characters of multiple ethnicities (e.g. Pablo Stanley’s Humaaans project, but even more diversified). It would long term serve the greater good– in company efficiency and racial equity.

Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented Exhibition at the MoMA

Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented at MoMa. On view through April 10, 2021

Things I loved about this exhibit:

It was interesting to see the works of artists who promoted more utopian, democratic schools of thinking and then went onto become fascists.

I loved seeing the works of Swiss graphic designer Max Bill, which I love, in person.

Loved studying the reigning types and typography of these artists in regions of Germany, Poland, Latvia, etc. in the period between WWI and WWII.

The exhibition showcased the works of many influencers of or from the Bauhaus school– for that alone, this exhibition is worth seeing!

Poster for exhibition of furniture by Wohnbedarf et Le Corbusier’s Maison de Verre (Immeuble Clarté (1933), letterpress by Max Bill

I loved the story behind this artwork so much. The photographed man was involved in the design of some project involving pool, but was not permitted to utilize-enter the pool because he was Jewish. His friend creates this collage piece with him in pool. The work is an impressive act of protest– and one that signals the dignity of the subject:

Another collage I liked, this one the size of a palm:

I appreciate how much the exhibit focused on showing the final versions and the maquettes of magazine pages and spreads.

A maquette for Plan for Socialist Offensive magazine spread, for 30 Days, no. 11 (1929) by Latvian Gustav Klutsis

As someone is largely self-taught-teaching-herself art, these maquettes and the finished magazines offer a fascinating view into process.

Plan for Socialist Offensive, in 30 days, no. 11 (1929) by Latvian Gustav Klutsis

I loved the design of these postcards:

Postcard for the exhibition Dommerstock Housing Estate: The Functional Dwelling (1929) by German artist Kurt Schwitters

Poster Designs:

Of lesser importance, but one that provided an opportunity for me to learn more about architecture (I’ve recently developed an interest in learning more about architecture as an acquaintance of mine is one).

Untitled (study for building) (1925), Ink, colored ink, gouache, and pencil on paper by German artist Fritz Schleifer

Do Not Worry: Illustrations from Matthew 6 in English and French

At the end of February, I put to image some verses I’ve leaned on during periods of uncertainty, worry, and when I needed to remind myself what I believed in. Tools used were my handy MX Ergo mouse and Adobe Illustrator.

I call these kinds of my illustrations Adult Bedtime Stories, as they are (picture books) children’s books made for adults like me.

The illustrations that follow span scripture from Matthew Chapter 6, from verses 25 to 33 in English and French.

I hope they are useful and bring comfort to anyone who stumbles on them:

Here is a link to the original illustrations:

English Version

French Translation

Bises,

Soo

Influenced by Faith: 6 Values I Strive to Live By at Work

My values for work and my work ethic have been influenced by many,

some through direct experience and demonstration by great and horrible bosses, and others through minds in books: Ernest Hemingway on the attractiveness and persuasiveness of brevity; Ray Dalio on embracing the natural bents, strengths, and weaknesses of others, Shane Parrish on the many mental models I could employ to make smarter decisions, and Marcus Aurelius’ father on how to treat your co-workers, to name a few.

I give credit to the Bible for most of the underlying values in work I’ve cultivated in my professional life; They are things I strive to abide by and commit to at the age of 28.


Here are some lessons I learned from the Bible on how to live as a Christian in work:


Rest and relaxation must become a familiar presence in your life. 

Having work physically, emotionally and mentally consume one’s life and identity is against the character of a Christian life.

As a Christian, participating in the Sabbath is an act of obedience, a reminder for me that I am not a slave beholden to my work (“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12)), and a demonstration that I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I say I believe God is sovereign, at the center of my life and my purpose for being.

It’s also an healthy act of rest: to rejuvenate, restore, and re-center myself in the things that matter most to me in life.

So, we keep the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14):


Listen and actively seek and embrace guidance and counsel from others.

Be humble and open minded in the counsel and feedback of others.

Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Proverbs 24:6 on being a wise and successful king: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.

What these verses do not imply is to accept the guidance of anyone, or to always embrace the guidance of close counsel. They simply state the value of taking into deep consideration the counsel of one’s advisors. Who do you see as an advisor in your life? Hopefully someone close, who reflects principles and values you respect, and someone you trust and respect.

Despite demonstrated differences in values, principles, and/or opinion, have respect for and be respectful of placed authority.

It is important to show a level of respect to those placed in specific positions as they have been “elected” and placed there by people, whether it be by the board of your company, or by your nation’s people. (Romans 13)

While I struggle with showing deep admiration for someone when his/her principles are at odds with mine, regardless of position, I learned that is different from being able to show thoughtfulness and respect for the dignity and position of another.

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, has also savvily quipped once: “you can disagree without saying anything.”


Engage in and pursue work that has purpose and meaning.

Being involved in work that is “beneficial,” “constructive,” or benefiting the “good of others” is in close character with Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:23


Celebrate and compliment your colleagues’ strengths and accomplishments. Mentor your juniors; actively give credit to them.

Lift up your peers [hype them] when there is any true opportunity to do so. BUT avoid flattery.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:18)
“For there is no truth in their mouth…. their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” ( Psalm 5:9)

Bises,

Soo

Things to See: December 2020

Magi© Bullet , by AA Johnson, first installed at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1992.My friend and I stood under the ceiling of semi-deflated pills for some time, wondering how we’d be able to get a balloon down so I could take one home with me. If I weren’t flying out to South Korea the next day, I would have gone back to the museum in the morning to see if there was one ready for me to pick up.

See it at the MoMA.


My Favorite Wife

My Favorite Wife is a romantic comedy that ends happily ever after, per many of the films featuring Cary Grant, centered on an indecisive husband and an independent wife. If I was a young woman in the 40s this movie would have been the inspiration.

Multiple scenes and dialogues bring me back to The Parent Trap, my most favorite childhood movie; it turns out My Favorite Wife heavily influenced The Parent Trap, namely the elevator scene when Dennis Quaid (Nick) catches his ex-wife inside the elevator with his fiancée— an exact nod to a scene from this 1940 film’s.

I was delighted.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime or The Criterion Channel.

#nothingnothingnothingatall #favorites

November 2021 Vlog

Pieces I particularly enjoyed this month at the MoMA:


Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver’s Cinematic Illumination, Floor 4

Retrospective of French anarchist Feliz Feneon.

Making:

I’ve recently discovered that embroidering is a very meditative activity for me.

I’ve been working on this for a couple church services.

I believe the doodling also helps me to focus on sermons a little more too.

For my birthday this year, my older sister asked me what I wanted to do with her to celebrate. She wanted to take me out to dinner, but I asked her if we could just grab dinner to eat casually and quickly; I told her I just wanted to paint with her and make art, and so we did :). She managed to persuade me to agree to making this a painting session of making one of Joan Miro’s famed paintings, The Birth of the World.

This is hers. I made mine off of my favorite colorway which are the 3 primary colors, and I added a boa constrictor digesting the elephant which is another “favorite” of mine from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince.

That was a great evening for me.

I really appreciated having a moment to rest, being in a relatively quiet environment, and being able to do something mindlessly, unambitiously, and completely for my pleasure–my pleasure alone.

Just another packaging proto using a lot of makeshift materials:

Reflecting on Happiness

If we are unable to recognize the beauty and gifts that take form in the humdrum events of our daily lives, can we say we know happiness? 

or to pose my question more bluntly: If I can’t even be happy with the things I already have, how certain can I be that I’ll be happy once I get the thing(s) I’m chasing after?

I recall three excerpts from writers whose words and pieces I look back to often, that give my mind’s thoughts on happiness [or rather the precipice between discontentment and happiness] more flesh.

Marcel Proust, 20th century writer

“Once he had been dazzled by this opulent depiction of what he called mediocrity, this appetizing depiction of a life he had found insipid, this great art of nature he had thought paltry, I should say to him: Are you happy?

When you walk around a kitchen, you will say to yourself, this is interesting, this is grand, this is beautiful like a Chardin.”

and Charles de Montesquieu, French judge and philosopher of the 18th century

“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”

Lastly, we have the thoughts of 20th century English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic, G.K. Chesterton, contemplating on the habits of the one, great thinker:

“But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun.; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic monotony that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Harold Ancart at David Zwirner Gallery

Earlier this week, I went to see Belgian Brooklyn-based painter and sculptor Harold Ancart’s exhibit at the @davidzwirner gallery.

The gallery was exhibiting Ancart’s series of tree paintings he made during the pandemic.

The painting with a green tree and pink skies made me feel like I was looking at a tree in a Japanese animé.

This naturescape made me feel like I was looking at a tree in a Japanese animé.

This red and blue painted piece reminded me of René Magritte’s hand. My photo doesn’t capture the blue color well, but Ancart paints the sky in the Surrealist master’s trademark blue.

It was very interesting to see throughout his paintings how he would sometimes choose to layer on the sky atop the tree instead of keeping the sky behind it– adding to the surrealist element of the naturescape.

and sometimes one would find a painting with a trunk that is not even part of the tree.

Bises,

Soo

Poem_When Push Comes to Shove

You like espousing ethics and break

promises in the same breath,

you say you value communication, but here’s the silence I

got instead.

You wanted trust, but pulled away before we’d even built a foundation

you said you like to give, but push came to shove and all I got was the taking.

 

 

Homemade Totes

While the materials used did not pass muster, I was very content and happy with my first attempt at making a tote bag with little to no direction. I am also happy and proud of the fact that I engaged sustained effort  (pretty much guaranteed need with hand-stitching) and focus into this (Even a couple years ago, I was not keep my attention on one art project. I had (still have, but less) a hard time focusing, and would always flit about to the next thing before finishing my project because I would get bored after 2 hours). This finished product is a reflection of my progress over the years in improving my ability to focus on one thing at a time.

I did enlist the help of an unused bag; what I did was deconstruct it by its panels, and study that. That must have influenced the success story above.

Learnings from Experience

I understand now why all sewers use thimbles. Sewing with a metal needle for hours on end feels like playing the guitar for hours without any calluses having formed on my fingers. It leads to a unique, unpleasant burn.

I understand fully now why totes are made often with lighter, more thin material, and things that are more structured are made with more durable fabric. It has a lot to do with desired aesthetic.

What I’d Like to Do Better

I would like to start with materials (fabric, straps, colors) that are ideal.

I would like to improve the evenness of my stitching while also getting better on time.

 

Reflecting on My Life with Christina Baker Kline’s a piece of the world and Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World

I was inspired to read this poem by Emily Dickinson after finishing a piece of the world by Christina Baker Kline:

Learning From The Homes Of Famous Writers

“This is my letter to the World that never wrote to me”

“This is My Letter to the World”, goes like this:

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

Kline’s a piece of the world revolves around the life of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s most renowned masterpiece, Christina’s World (you can find it at the Museum of Modern Art, 5th fl). Margaret Steiger, a fellow peer and art lover, also my supervisor at MoMA!, recommended me this book as she knew how much I loved Christina’s World.

Christina suffered from a life long illness (initially thought as having polio, modern day neurologists believe she actually suffered from Charcot-Marie Tooth (CMT) disease, which causes progressive loss of muscle tissue and touch sensation) that started to render the nerves in her arms and legs pretty much kaput as she entered adulthood.

In this novel, the character Christina (will now move forward referring to novel’s character as ‘Christina’ and the real Christina as ‘Christina Olson’), coming into her teenage years, and with a body severely limited in movement from the effects of a mysterious illness’ onset at toddler-hood, begins to develop a curiosity and ferocity of mind, and this coincides with her discovery and subsequent exploration of Emily Dickinson’s words at school.

Excerpts

“I agree. Rest is stupid. I am tired of this narrow bed, the slice of window above it. I want to be outside, running through the grass, climbing up and down the stairs. When I fall asleep, I am careering down the hill, my arms outstretched and my strong legs pumping, grasses whipping against my calves, steady on toward the sea, closing my eyes and tilting my chin toward the sun, moving with ease, without pain, without falling. I wake in my bed to find the sheet damp with sweat.”


“MRS. CROWLEY TOLD me once—the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me—that I’m one of the brightest students she’s ever taught. Long before the others, I have finished my reading and arithmetic. She’s always giving me extra work to do and books to read. I appreciate the compliment, but maybe if I could run and play like the other kids, I would be as impatient and distracted as they are. The truth is, when I’m immersed in a book I’m less aware of the pain in my unpredictable arms and legs.”


“I’m so tired of this mutinous body that doesn’t move the way it should. Or the low thrumming ache that’s never entirely absent. Of having to concentrate on my steps so I don’t fall, of my ever-present scabs and bruises. I’m tired of pretending that I’m the same as everyone else. But to admit what it’s really like to live in this skin would mean giving up, and I’m not ready to do that.”


“’Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” Maybe so, I think. Maybe my memories of sweeter times are vivid enough, and present enough, to overcome the disappointments that followed. And to sustain me through the rest.'”


“My chin drips blood, my wrists throb, I am facedown in the wet, soiled dress it took me weeks to sew. The skirt is bunched up round my hips, my bloomers and misshapen legs exposed. Lifting myself slowly on my elbows, I survey my torn bodice. All at once I am so tired of this—of the constant threat of humiliation and pain, the fear of exposure, of trying to act like I’m normal when I’m not—that I burst into tears. No, I am not all right, I want to say. I am fouled, degraded, ashamed. A burden and an embarrassment.”

On Christina’s first experience with love:

“It feels as if my life is moving forward at two separate speeds, one at the usual pace, with its predictable rhythms and familiar inhabitants, and the other rushing ahead, a blur off color and sound and sensation.”


Reflecting on Christina’s World

I have felt a deep connection with Christina’s World, ever since I first encountered Christina’s World as a university student.

20200524_091845

The work is an incredible sight and experience; numerous people from all over the world will tell you so as well: painted is a young, youthful girl, in stark contrast against the muted landscape of a field and barn/farmhouse. Your eyes settle intensely on the seemingly feeble, yet remarkably dignified, stoic, and bold girl in pink dress.cri_000000165457

Personal Reflections

I was very sick when I was 13 and in my teenage years. The utter prison I felt like I was in, of not being able to wield my body at will, not being able to do things other kids do nor be carefree was a formative experience in my youth.

Thinking about my future was scary.

The picture my mind drew of my life was monstrous; It was only filled with more ifs, doubts and and despondence from wondering whether I’d ever be able to live the life I wish I had instead of living through it with a body I abhorred.

The memories do not go away easily //

Having to stay a couple nights in the St. Judes hospital deprived of sleep and watching Shakespeare in Love and The Man in the Iron Mask with my mother who bravely tried to stay awake with me and laid on a cot bed by me.

Stubbornly demanding and begging I get my license like all my other high school friends and be allowed to drive with my parents in car, and my father finally relenting, only to find myself losing control of the wheel, with my foot off the pedal and my hands fallen to their sides [and off the wheel] one day driving my family.

Crossing the road, beginning to feel time slow, seeing my dad not far behind me running to catch me before I blacked out.


I was engaged with this painting before I had learned of its background story and the life of Christina Olson.

Looking at her was as if I were seeing myself. Or seeing what I’d have liked to see in myself back then: a portrait of strength, boldness, and ferocity– dignified living.

I stood staring at her for a very long time.

And I’d come back to it again, and again, and again. As if I was drinking from a well.

Fast forward to 2020, having finished this book, which was a light and lovely spin-off and depiction of Christina Olson’s life, I find myself glad to be seeing Christina again, anew.

More Excerpts

“The House of the Seven Gables. ‘So much of mankind’s varied experience had passed there that the very timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart.’”


Andrew Wyeth & Christina Olson:

“‘ I wanted to show the contrast with your skin. To highlight you sitting there.’

Now that we’re having this conversation, I realize that I am a little angry. ‘I look like I’m in a coffin with a lid half shut.’

He laughs a little, as he can’t believe I might be upset.

I stare at him evenly.

Running his hand through his hair, he says, ‘I was trying too show your…’ He hesitates. ‘Dignity. Solemnity.’

‘Well, I guess that’s the problem. I don’t think of myself as solemn. I didn’t think you did, either.’

‘I don’t. Not really. It’s just a moment. And it’s not really ‘you.’ Or ‘me.’ Despite what you think.’ His voice trails off. Seeing me struggle with the heavy oven door, he comes over and opens its for me, then slides the baking tray of biscuits in. ‘I think it’s about the house. The mood of it.’ He shuts the oven door. ‘Do you know what I mean?’

‘You make its seem so…’ I cast about for the right word. ‘I don’t know Lonely.’

He sighs. ‘Isn’t it, sometimes?’

For a moment there’s silence between us.

I reach for a dishrag and wipe my floury hands.

‘So how do you think of yourself?’ he asks.

‘What?’

‘You said you don’t think of yourself as solemn. So how do you think of yourself?’

It’s a good question. How do I think of myself?

The answer surprises us both.

‘I think of myself as a girl,’ I say.”


“EVERY WEEK OR ten days a thick letter in a white envelope with a two-cent stamp arrives in the mail. He writes from the library, from the dining hall, from the narrow wooden desk in his dormitory room, by the light of a gas lamp after his rugby-playing, gin-guzzling roommate has gone to sleep. Each envelope, a package of words to feed my word-hungry soul, provides a portal into a world where students linger in wood-paneled classrooms to talk to professors, where entire days can be spent in a library, where what you write and how you write it are all you need to worry about. I imagine myself in his place: strolling across campus, peering up at thick-paned, glowing windows at dusk, going to expensive dinners with friends in Harvard Square, where the waiters wear tuxedos and look down their noses at the unkempt students, and the students don’t care.”

Fall 2020 Trends

Some Fall 2020 Hits

What one with a penchant for subtlety could wear: beiges, wraps, and mixing hard with soft

Asset 38The Office

 

A Loungish Fairytale w/ global color pattern +/- flora influences

 

Asset 39Loungewear

“Let’s say I want to show off a bit of individuality”

Asset 37Style Out

The color pattern and play for Christian Dior’s Look 63 is masterful. Can see this diluted down to so many digestible mass styles

 

Asset 28LBS_Fall 2020


Evening:

My body may be landlocked, but my dreams are flying out to a faraway place, namely a lush garden with whorls of silk, gems, decadence, and books. With stars ablaze against a light, yellow-blue sky.

 

Wish List

Hermes The Three Graces Scarf 90 in Bleu Vif/Marron/Verf:

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The Three Graces Scarf 90 in Bleu Vif/Marron/Vert

 

Gubi Pacha Lounge Chair in color Kvadrat Vidar:

 

 

Gubi Black Upholstered 3D Lounge Chair with sledge base (they don’t have this color option upholstered, but they do offer an unupholstered semi-matte version here:

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Gubi_LoungeChair_Sledgebase_Grashoppa_FloorLamp_JetBlack_1024x1024

 

Beaded ring, Watercolours, and Illustration in May

 

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Bookmarks and cards to encourage friends during coronavirus days

 

Asset 4Highlands

An inspired illustration featuring characters from Ruth Krauss’ book Open House for Butterflies

Inspired illustration from listening to the song Highlands (Song of Ascent) by Hillsong United one morning meditation before work, and I then proceeded to take the illustrated characters from a children’s book I love called Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss to help depict the scene I imagine the song is singing about: to sing when the mountain’s in our way, and to sing when we’re on top of the mountain 🙂

Recycled unused accessories: deconstructed all the materials, organized them in colors, and then began to make things out of them. Here’s a ring, my favorite kind of accessory.

 

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Love letters are the best kind of letters, don’t you agree? 🙂

Part of a love letter I made for my younger sister waiting it out in Cambridge.

 

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Don’t know what’s going on here, looks like some kind of pulmonary situation bearing fruit (a la the tree that reaps) – air to my lungs?

When It Comes To Looking At The Future

There’s a model (originally economics) called hyperbolic discounting, which speaks to the human tendency of choosing a reward now over wanting the greater reward that will happen later. In liberal application, this law can allude to our relative inability to see beyond the seeable, comprehensible distance over the things up close: what is happening or might happen in the immediate future or present. I believe this rings true for the scenario we find ourselves in in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pain, the discomfort, and the anxieties of the circumstances we find ourselves in are absolutely real. But, we (I) can choose to see beyond for what could happen that could be greater and more meaningful in magnitude over the mess in the immediate– see the good being written even now.

The motifs and the arc defining this story remain to be set in stone. We don’t know what lies ahead for us. We don’t know what the larger picture will be. I’m not referring to the next 2 or 3 years. I’m talking about the next 10, 20, and 30 years.

We must press on in hope, thinking and choosing to look to more hopeful outcomes– to where the real story might be. And in the meantime, be present and do as as much as we can for our family, our friends, and our people.

Some quotes from my journal that I’ve leaving for added contemplation:

“You cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow, it is kept from you.
You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. It’s right use…is a matter of the highest urgency.”
– Arnold Bennett
“We become, neurologically, what we think.”
– Nicholas Carr

On Respecting Authority or Differences in Opinions and Considering the Harm Done If We Choose Otherwise

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote... for the person they judged more worthy.
2. Speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side." 
- John Wesley, English cleric, theologian, and philanthropist
The following are questions I entertain and often, given the current climate of our country:
  • What does it mean to really respect instituted authority, respect entities, and respect individuals despite encountering drastically differing opinions, values, or personalities?
  • What does it mean for our mental and emotional states when we choose to do the opposite?
Surely the thoughts we express can be of potent criticality without adding to toxicity.
I wake up this morning desiring to understand how to do this better and authentically in all circumstance… how about you?

My Faith Grounded Musings:

Romans 13:1 on Submission to Governing Authorities

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

As a Christian, I can rationalize the validity of this command or “rule”. When one considers the grounding tenets that define Christianity, a quick survey will reveal some very constant albeit complicated narratives that frame our faith: an everpresent dance and balancing act between the subject of God’s sovereignty, having free will and its impact, and the concept of time that is not linear or as we see it according to modern physics. Following God is not about always having the answers and the whys to everything from the start (I would say I struggled with this question as a believer my whole life until maybe about last year!). Sometimes a situation requires obedience before we are able to see and understand 20/20, even with a controversial verse and command such as this that many Christians either outrightly ignore or struggle with (including myself!)

The fact of the matter though is that God’s word is God’s word. When we say we give our life over to him, we are surrendering our right to picking and parsing things we like and dislike, accept or reject, and that includes where we stand on the merits of the Bible’s commands. When one accepts the truth of the Gospel, the only requirement for being “Christian,” this implies a full and total acceptance of the Bible as the living word (Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”).

*For context, the word of God referred to the written or spoken word of God, and the Bible is accepted as the word of God.

Notes on Conscious Leadership ft. Bob Iger and Jim Dethmer

Notes from a podcast interviewing Robert Iger

While I respect Iger’s mind, the podcast was not strong (felt the interviewer was ill prepared and the conversation was not original, so not leaving much here from what I listened to and will not leave link)

Be generous and efficient
Have great teachers
Never, ever complain about work
Iger worked 30 years with the top bosses and mentors
“You must be in the business of changing with or ahead of the times”

Notes from Shane Parrish’s Farnam Street’s Knowledge Project Podcast Episode 60 ft. Jim Dethmer (coach, speaker, author, and founding partner of The Conscious Leadership Group)

Fantastico. First 20 minutes are a lot of common sense, and then for the rest of the podcast, Dethmer proceeds to unpack familiar concepts with great originality of reasoning – conversations that really excited and inspired me! Such a thought provoking man and highly recommend you listen to the actual podcast recording.
State of Beings (Always operate out of a place of love and play over fear, rage, anger, guilt, or shame):
Being “above the line” vs “below the line”
Above the Line: Open, curious, trusting, open to learning, presence of candor
Below the line: Contracted. Curtness came from contraction. Contracted living can lead to self-criticism, which will probably lead to even more curtness. Defensiveness, Being in a state of threat, attached to proving you are right.
Acting below the line can lead to short term desired outcomes/results, but will leave toxic residue.
Can I accept myself for being where I am? (Acting out from below or above the line)
  • Acting out from below or above the line.
  • Can I accept myself for being reactive?
  • Order of states: acceptance follows awareness
    • Self-awareness in his words: creating a feedback rich environment/ or developing feedback rich tools for self-reflections
      • ‘If you are constantly getting feedback you are on a rocket-ship to self-awareness
    • Constructive Self-acceptance
      • Susan’s view: Centering on God’s delight in you, regardless of your state of being, mistakes, or how you acted. That you can accept and just strive to be better.
      • Dethmer’s view: Being present with “I am okay just the way I am” Kill the belief that something at the core is missing.
On Motivations
Purpose/Calling: 1st level of motivation that doesn’t lead to toxic residue
  • Jim Dethmer calls this level the “zone of genius” – what it is that lights me up to do in the world
Play: 2nd level of motivation
  • When work can start to lookalike play
    • Ex.) Dethmer’s: “When I am coding, it is like a child at play. I love it.”
    • Ex.) Susan’s “When I am designing or making new products, it is like a child at play. I love it. When I’m creating or solving something challenging, I get a huge adrenaline rush.”
  • The sooner you return to PLAY, the better for best leadership or results or work
Love: highest level/form of motivation
  • the love of the thing
    • Ex.) Dethmer’s “I LOVE LANDSCAPING!!”
    • Ex.) Susan’s “I LOVE MY CUSTOMERS I LOVE SEEING ATEM IN MORE PLACES I LOVE PEOPLE GETTING HAPPIER FROM ATEM AND COMING BACK FOR MORE!”
Teams of the future must be motivated by intrinsic rewards, play and love. However, so many people are motivated from desiring approval (Susan: this was me until 2016!! and I decided to start fighting it!)
  • On desiring approval: “The core of this motivation too lies in fear”
At 36 minutes:
On Integrity in Work/Leadership/Relationship to Others and Yourself
“There’s no such thing as a small breach of integrity” – Jim Dethmer
Reconsidering the term “AGREEMENTS”
  • Definition: agreeing with oneself or with 2 people+ to do something.
  • What does it mean to make clear agreements (commitments)?
    • Agreements need to be incredibly clear.
      • Not, let’s plan to meet around noon/in the morning, but let’s meet at x at y for z and we’ll do r, t, and c.
        • Who, what, when
  • Only make agreements you have a whole bodied agreement to
    • Wholebodied agreements: When it’s a yes from you in mind, body, and heart.
    • If you don’t do this, you make agreements you don’t want to make
      • This includes little details even with things like times that are less convenient for you. Either be whole bodied agreeing in compromise, or say “if we could do it at 7:30 that would be better for me”.
  • Most organizations keep between 40-60% of agreements
Broken agreements are a broach in integrity
Integrity is about my agreements
  • How impeccable I am about making and keeping my agreements
  • How impeccable I am about renegotiating agreements before I break them OR if I break them, cleaning them up
    • If you break an agreement, immediately acting: “Before we go on I want to say sorry for being xyzzy. I was to see if there is anything I can do to make it up for you.”
    • Taking acts of responsibility is the commodity of trust.
  • High integrity people will meet this 90% of the time
On Having a Victim Mentality
Do you live by a victim mentality or a creator mentality?
Victim Mentality: Is this happening to you?
Creator Mentality: Is this happening by you?
At 1 hour , 11 minutes:
On Improving EQ
Step 1. Decide if you are willing to improve your emotional intelligence
Step 2. One must be emotionally literate before one is emotionally intelligent
  • Being emotionally literate: Capable of knowing what you yourself are feeling, when you are feeling it. (Susan: I struggle with this, and naming my feelings and the why in the “present”).
    • Something people often do, thinking it’s their feeling “I feel you are wrong” “I feel overwhelmed” – A thought followed by a feeling is not a feeling.
Step 3. Can I feel my feelings?
  • Dethmer: Statistics support that feelings last less than 90 seconds if one doesn’t feed the feelings.
Creating a Feedback Rich Environment
  • Identify your feedback filters
    1. This person needs to give me feedback by this deadline, I need experts in the subject matter, this person isn’t smart enough” etc etc
    2. Dethmer: your state of mind should be about “I want feedback given any day, any time, by anybody
  • Being thoughtful about your feedback filters and being conscious about which ones you want or decide to keep
  • When asking for feedback, ensure the other person if they are concerned abut reputation or junior; “don’t worry about being right, constructive, or giving actionable feedback” “Anything I did less than 10, tell me what I can do better.” “Anything I did better than 1, tell me what I can do better.”
    • Susan: Things I can do: Ask family “What is one thing I can do to be a better sister?” “What is one thing I can do to be a better daughter?”
  • When receiving or getting feedback, always, ALWAYS ASK: “How is their feedback about me true about me? (Feedback is based off their projection of you or your work, but how is it true?
  • When you give feedback or give out a projection of another, take that feedback of yourself in and see how it is true about you.

Making Things With Fruit Peels

Artboard 2 copy 3Hi Sunshine_square format

I was catching up with Christine over ZOOM because we haven’t seen each other since the Corona Virus started hitting New York City very hard and was eating a lot of clementines.

I started making a little square mound of it while we were talking (I always find I need to do something with my hands to stay focused :D)

When my sister came over to the table to see what I’m up to, she laughed at the little mess I made and joked about it being art.

I laughed too, and then thought, “why not?”

And so I whipped up this draft for the day

My cute orange peels :). Thanks for feeding me today.

 

 

Draft 0

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March 29, 2020