January 22, 2017

466 To Heal. To Expose.

Word after word466 To Heal. To Expose.
12 x 12 inches :: original acrylic painting on wood
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Yesterday after the historic Women's March, I gathered with some women to talk about how we each are going to move forward and support each other. I shared that I know my role, which is that of an artist. And I'm privileged enough to know that if the business of my art were to completely fail, I will still have health care, a roof over my shoulder, food to eat, and the love of my family and friends to hold. Because of this privilege, I feel a moral obligation to allow my art to express matters of importance regarding our current times ... when such art bubbles out of me.

Even so, even with the determination I feel, I agree with Annette Messager who says that "Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them." I referenced a collage/painting by Dominique Fortin for this work ... to express how it feels to me, to simultaneously heal and expose myself.

I also agree with Margaret Atwood says "A word after a word after a word is power."

I dedicate this work to humans everywhere doing the hard work of writing word after word, creating painting after painting, as we continuously heal and expose, heal and expose.

January 20, 2017

assertive & non-violent resistance


I was texting with my girlfriend tonight, who in college experienced sexual assault. I told her that one of the signs I made tonight: "No consent? No pussy." will be carried tomorrow in her honor, to send a message to pussy-grabber-in-chief that I resist his misogyny. Assertively and non-violently.

I agree with Anne Lamott, who says in her book, Bird by Bird, that truth is always subversive. Truth disrupts, it interrupts, it resists. I also believe that the most effective type of subversion is non-violent. 

As I march tomorrow, no matter the provocation, I will simultaneously practice assertiveness and non-violence. Just the way our historical leaders have taught us:

"At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man." (Mahatma Gandhi)

"Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less." (Susan B. Anthony)

Fired up?
Yes, we're fired up.
Ready to go?
Yep, we're ready to go. Assertively and non-violently.

Let's stay safe and be heard.

January 19, 2017

He was Black.


He was Black.
He was American from birth.
He was my President.
He was strong, calm, compassionate, thoughtful.
He was smart, funny, a great dad and husband.
He was a gentleman, a diplomat.
He was a leader, a patriot, a focused and disciplined badass.
He was nuanced, poetic, and well-tempered.
He was class.
He was hope.
He was my President who inspired me to fall deeper in love with America.

To my future grandchildren and future great-grandchildren and perhaps even to my future great-great-grandchildren, I will tell them about this incredible American President ... that he was all this. And that yes,

He was Black.
Thank you President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for showing the world how it's done. I will miss you both. With sincere love, respect, and gratitude. #yeswecan



465 And One Takes a Bow

Economy of strokes465 And One Takes a Bow
11x14 inches :: original acrylic painting on wood panel
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When I get on my soapbox to teach painting, I preach economy of strokes. Observe more, paint less. 60 percent observation/40 percent painting. Like maybe 8-10 strokes per flower for this work ... that was my count. To keep it fresh, and not over-licked and overworked.

464 Rosa Linda

Flowers464 Rosa Linda
18x24 inches :: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas
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This the demonstration painting I made while teaching my expressive flowers acrylic painting workshop in the studio this past Saturday. I've received many requests for this workshop to be taught again so the next time it will be offered is June 10, 2017. Save the date if you want to. Enrollment will open in a few weeks. Thank you everyone for your enthusiasm.


January 18, 2017

463 First Stone

First stone

463 First Stone
6x8 inches :: original oil painting on linen panel
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I referenced a photo by @_marchayden for this work. After painting the subject, I added some strokes that surprised me. The work made me think about what Jesus Christ said to a community of people denigrating a woman for her sexual promiscuity, as they were about to stone her to death. Said Jesus:

"He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her." [John 8:7]

A stark contrast to an interview that misogynist Vladimir Putin recently gave in his effort to defend misogynist Trump. A defense at the cost of denigrating women on so many levels. Said Putin:

"[Trump is] has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world. I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world."


to understand. to apologize. to organize.

To organizeDuring high school, I got involved with a church where the teachings inspired me to believe that among other things, gay people would go to hell. Some of the sentences I uttered back then to champion that perspective are ... in hindsight ... shameful and embarrassing.

In college, I got involved with classes and readings that inspired me to understand that throughout history, a person's sexual orientation is extremely fluid. I got involved in conversations with humans within this fluid spectrum and realized that love isn't about commanding anyone to love a certain way. Love is about knowing that each person loves in his/her unique way.

After college, during my career, I became inspired to believe and utter other things that now, in hindsight, I am ashamed of. It relates to the story I shared yesterday related to my late brother. Prior to his passing, I remember uttering things like "Choose happy" and "Get over it" to various people. I've learned since then that for people suffering from chronic depression, they are not choosing to be sad and it is not a character deficit that keeps them battling the grips of depression. 

What brings a depressed person out of darkness is not just one thing. It could be talking with a good therapist or friend. It could be medication. It could be meditation. It could be prayer. It could be, as Allie Brosh (author of Hyperbole and a Half) describes so brilliantly, seeing a funny-looking pea under a refrigerator.

I think there's a huge difference between "Choose happy" which is a command statement and "I choose happy," which is a statement of personal truth. A statement of personal truth declares what I believe and feel without judging or shaming or commanding another human to believe and feel.

"I choose happy" vs. "Be happy" and "I love men" vs. "All women should love men" and "Buddha is my way" vs. "Buddha is the only way" and "I am atheist" vs. "You should be an atheist."

To those who are in the grips of depression who may have ever heard me utter command statements of how to feel and to anyone to whom I may have ever said how to love, I want to officially say that I now better understand. And I apologize.

This Saturday, women are marching worldwide to speak up among other things, for women's rights which are human rights. The main march in Washington is estimated to have the largest turnout for an inauguration-related protest in US history. Where things go after the march as women seek to organize, I don't know but I'm ready to go through it. As a marcher in the Santa Ana sister march, I have received lots of supportive remarks. I've also received some not-so-supportive remarks with the most popular being: "Get over it," a command statement. To which I say: "I'm not over it," my personal truth.



January 17, 2017

462 Petals of Paper

Paper Dreams462 Petals of Paper
6x8 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord
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For this work, I referenced a photo of paper flowers by extraordinary maker, @tiffanieturner. There's something in the air lately ... can you feel it? Things are changing ... eyes opening ... hearts pounding ... flowers blossoming.

Why we march.

Why we marchAbout three years ago, after losing my brother to suicide, I found myself in my therapist's office asking "How do I make the hurting stop?" The therapist said to me, "Exactly what you're doing ... crying ... feeling the hurt, the anger ... not holding it in ... expressing your pain ... letting it all out. Let it out, Jenny. It's ok for you to let it out."

And that's what I did. What I've learned from that experience is that I don't need to glorify the fraudulence of the "choose happy" movement. Authentic happy, and peace, and beauty arrive usually through the hard work of going through the expression of the less bright and shiny ... of not holding it in.

I am joining thousands of women across this great nation on January 21st to participate in the Women's March. The main march is in Washington DC, the day after the inauguration, and there are countless sister marches all across the nation in major cities, including my own city of Santa Ana.

I am marching because I refuse to hold in the hurt of realizing that among other things, the fascist being sworn into office on January 20th:

  • taunts other nations with nuclear capacity in ways that threaten our world's peace
  • brags about sexually assaulting women
  • views undocumented Mexican humans as criminals and rapists
  • threatens women's right to reproductive health, and states that a woman who has an abortion needs to be punished
  • aligns with Vladimir Putin, a war criminal who has murdered civilians and political opponents
  • ridicules with vindictiveness and maliciousness, individuals and groups who either fall short of his definition of beauty or in some way challenge him

The hurt doesn't stop there. There are humans who will be marching for reasons that are not on my personal list but a list that is causing hurt and anger and deep disgust. On my Facebook wall when I posted an expression related to all of this, a person named Li Li Wee posted: "I live in Malaysia. Freedom of speech is restricted. It's difficult to just keep everything inside. You are ... courageous."

Undoubtedly, there will be hecklers during the march. Because there are so many heckling already online. And as the heckles come, I will keep my therapist's words close to my heart:

"Let it out, Jenny. It's ok for you to let it out."

January 16, 2017

461 Rosé All Day

Roseallday461 Rosé All Day

12 x 12 inches :: acrylic on wood panel

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I referenced a photo by @yfbclothing for this work. Sometimes I drink Rosé. But rarely all day.

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