44 posts categorized "Artists"

January 19, 2016

Benjamin Bjorklund with Blake Neubert in the Studio

This is the painting that Benjamin Bjorklund painted during his live demonstration during his recent visit to Studio Crescendoh.

Bb2Here's a photo from the actual demo where everyone witnessed this painting come to life.

In addition to this demo, Benjamin, along with Blake Neubert provided a 3-day workshop where participants worked with pencil, charcoal, pastels, watercolors, and oils. Below are some photos that recap the workshop:





Here is a charcoal drawing demonstration that Blake Neubert did, along with the final drawing.


And here's the final painting that Benjamin did on the final day of the workshop, of his dog, Solomon.

Bb1Everyone had a wonderful time and it was an honor for Studio Crescendoh to host this workshop and demo experience. For those who have asked if they will return to the studio, the answer is YES! So please stay tuned for details of future studio experiences with Benjamin and Blake.


February 05, 2015

Chopin and Liszt: The whole endless shebang

Whenever I get to practice my cello, I like to look at small notations that are written in the margins of some of my sheets of music. Mostly the notations are by my former teachers reminding me to play the music a certain way ... "with attitude" ... "with melancholy" ... "with playfulness." One of my teachers also had a way of encouraging me to add slides and ornamental additions to infuse a unique attitude and interpretation with the music that was before me ... composed in black and white.


Recently, I listened to a program on the radio about a well-known argument that happened between composers Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt back in the 19th century. After Liszt performed one of Chopin's pieces by adding embellishments that had not be part of the original composition, Chopin expressed annoyance and is said to have said something like "he should play the music as written or not play it at all."

I think Chopin had it wrong. I don't say that with glibness or disrespect because there are certain instances when a person's interpretation of a work might just feel ... I don't know ... not right. And I know that original art ... whether music or writing or sculpture reflects an important essence and intent of the creator. But at the heart of it, if a performer is given music and decides to add embellishments or play something in a mood that is completely opposite of the mood that it was intended, that is the performer's prerogative. And it is the audience's prerogative to embrace or reject the performance and/or composition.

The application of this thought to visual arts is more troubling, I suppose. Because if anyone came into my studio and up to an original painting and painted something over it, I would probably be highly annoyed. But if a person did that after having bought the painting from me, I'm not sure if I'd feel the right to express annoyance. Especially if the altered painting brought the owner great joy. Perhaps how a painting is framed ... in a distressed wooden frame or a leopard print plastic number could also be a point of contention between artist and consumer but ultimately how the art is framed is a choice that the consumer gets to make, to the pleasure or annoyance of the artist.

The application of the thought that I strenuously disagree with is when humans try to police the ways in which reproductions of originals are handled. Like art magazines. Like those who say magazines that contain photos of art ought not be altered because then we are defacing and disrespecting the artist.

Photos inspire paintings. Paintings inspire sculptures. Art magazines get cut up and painted and altered to become collages and other things. These collages and other things inspire photos. These photos inspire paintings. And these paintings inspire sculptures ... and music, and food, and dance, and poetry, and relationships. The whole endless shebang.

As far as I'm concerned, I can throw the magazines I buy (or original works of artists that I buy) in the mud and run them over with my car if I want to. (Haven't wanted to yet, btw.)

It's ultimately about letting it go. Deep down, I don't think Chopin or any composer would want the world to be policed in a way where performers are bullied into playing compositions only if they will do it the way it was written.

Because then there might be a chance that it is never played at all.



February 08, 2014

Top 10 Things I Learned form Mary Beth Shaw

I learned so much today from Mary Beth Shaw ... but here are the top 10.

Photo-3510. I love wood icing.

9. Mary Beth likes to drink skinny vanilla lattes.

8. You can stencil almost anything.

7. Limiting the number of colors you work with results in extraordinary results.

6. Blending colors isn't as scary as I thought, and learning Mary Beth's methods has opened up a whole new universe in terms of painting.

5. Inktense colored pencils don't reactivate with water.

4. Mary Beth likes to eat beets.

3. Tinted gesso is great for building layers.

2. Mary Beth is an official Golden-certified color expert.

1. Mary Beth will be back in 2015 to teach in Studio CRESCENDOh. (Sorry, can't reserve your spots ahead of time. Please just stay tuned to our master calendar. Thanks.)



December 29, 2013

Effortless or Worthless

We got back from New York last night. A memorable trip indeed.

For me, discovering the art of Wangechi Mutu at the Brookly Museum would be the best thing that happened on the trip. I don't think her art is easy ... especially when you first start looking at it. I mean, it takes contemplation and thinking and viewing of multiple pieces to really see that all of her elements have this amazing way of working together to communicate a point of view that is complex, multi-layered ... and ultimately, beautifully and magically cohesive.

Wangechi Mutu
I was reading a bit about her life in the book I bought at the gift shop to learn that she was born in Kenya, attended high school in Wales, and then moved to New York in 1992. For the past 15+ years, she has been in Brooklyn doing her thing. Making amazing art. Busy every day I'm sure.

Makes me want to be busy every day ... with focus on what it is I want to focus on with my art. I feel like I'm getting closer to that focus but I'm still not fully focused. I know part of that focus has something to do with my essence as a Korean immigrant, mother, daughter, and sister. I'm still exploring as I continue to try and move away from painturbation to declaration.

As much as I am inspired by Mutu's art, I am panicked by it too, because I realize that in order for her to so effectively express her focused point of view through many mediums, she has mastered how to draw lots of things. Not just the face, but the shoulders, the arms, the breasts, the body, the legs, heels, toes ...

I mean, I want to learn all of that so that if my focus requires that I draw a series of faces with shoulders and breasts ... that I don't become paralyzed and unable to do that, but rather that it just comes out. In other words, for me to know how technically to draw those things so that I can not get stuck on the technicalities but rather use and move those technicalities into a realm where I'm able to express my art.

This morning, my son told me he accidentally left the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon on the airplane last night. Bummer. I had given it to him to read after I finished reading it and he was really getting into it. I'll have to go get a new copy soon. Maybe a few copies to give out to friends as well. There are so many wonderful insights in the book. I want to have my daughter read it too. And I want the three of us to revel in the important insights contained in the book so simply and clearly.

Maybe the person who finds it on the airplane will also read it and benefit from it.

Steal Like an ArtistOne of the insights is on this page below, which I took a photo of last night in the airport. The final twelve words on the page really speaks to me ... "the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care."

Not that I don't care what people think about my work. But I figure there will likely be a period of time when what I do, what I'm trying to perfect ... perhaps learning how to draw shoulders ... or toes ... or the map of Korea ... might appear to people either as effortless or worthless. But the point Kleon is making I feel is that none of that should define or affect my ultimate focus or goal to get my art out and the busier and more devoted I am to that goal, the less any of that will define or affect me. I like that.

Steal Like an Artist 2

November 03, 2013

Recap! Of Dina Wakley in Studio CRESCENDOh 2013

On Day 1, Dina Wakley set the tone for her classes by talking about the concept of devotion. It made me ask myself some questions:

  • What am I devoted to?
  • Am I spending my time on that which I'm devoted to?

GREAT questions. Because sometimes, we squander our time and what we think we are devoted to gets pushed aside. Like if we are devoted to making good art, are we practicing? Are we making? Are we researching? Are we constantly learning?

IMG_0454Dina is a masterful teacher because:

  • She has solid skills and knowledge.
  • She shares her skills and knowledge with generosity, respect, and humility.
  • She is a constant learner.



We had a lot of fun and learned SO much.
On Day 2, we had a slightly smaller group of students and Dina talked about the importance of self-reflection ... and about how meaningful and important and fun it is to make art that incorporates self-portraits.

This group did some major bonding ... and shared a lot of laughs while making awesome art.


Thank you Dina, for your AMAZING classes.

And great news! Dina will be returning to Studio CRESCENDOh in 2014!!! Yipee! See you in Studio CRESCENDOh. :)


October 27, 2013

Fun with Minna Mercke Schmidt and Amy Hanna

What a completely wonderful afternoon it was today as my buddy Amy Hanna and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Minna Mercke Schmidt for some coffee, some spontaneous skipping around the Laguna area and just having fun getting to know one another.

Amy Hanna and Minna Mercke Schmidt and Jenny DohMinna (pronounced Meeeena) is from Sweden and I've been a fan of her fantastic work for quite some time and it was really an honor to fianlly get to meet her. She is author of two beautiful books and is currently working on her third one.
Minna Mercke SchmidtShe is one of the featured designers in my upcoming book titled Stylish Weddings (to be relieased in January 2014 but available for preorders here). I am thrilled to have her exquisite projects and ideas grace an entire chapter in the book.

Stylish Weddings
Here is one of my favorite shots from today ... kind of blurry but reflective of how quickly we were able to bring out the silly in Minna and become fast friends.

Amy Hanna and Minna Mercke Schmidt
Thank you, Minna and Amy for a fun, silly, and inspiring afternoon.

Minna Mercke Schmidt and Jenny Doh


October 25, 2013

Paint Paper Print :: 2-Day Workshop with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

I'm excited to announce that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer will be returning to Studio CRESCENDOh to teach a very cool new class titled Paint Paper Print: A Mixed Media Collage Exploration.

It's a 2-day workshop that will happen January 18-19 and enrollment is open right here.

Julie Balzer

If you've ever wanted to learn how to make your own colorful papers with unique patterns, you won't want to miss this fun workshop where Julie will share her tips and techniques on layering, mixing colors, creating a focal point, and so much more.

Julie's workshops are full of energy and students have heaps of fun creating and learning to enjoy the process in the unique way that Julie teaches. Julie Balzer
Hope to see you in the studio as we start the new year off right with paint, paper, and print.

Enrollment is open here.

October 08, 2013

The Time is Now :: Kathreen Ricketson

I learned today about the tragic death of Kathreen Ricketson (head of www.whipup.net), and her husband. Their passing took place almost five months ago. I am devastated to learn of this news and my heart goes out to their surviving children who are only 10 and 13 years old.

The family had been on a beach in Australia and both Kathreen and her husband drowned while snorkeling, and the children were on the beach to watch the horrific unfolding of this situation. You can read the details here.

Kathreen was a woman of immense talent. She was very kind to me and my projects in my small corner of the world. She generously helped promote one of my books when it was released last year, and we had corresponded not so long ago about a project that she had invited me to participate in.

I'm happy that she and her family were taking time to journey together to bond and create memories. I am profoundly shaken by the fact that she and her husband are no longer on this earth. I am deeply sad for their surviving children.

If there is anything that Kathreen's life and untimely death reminds me, it's that life is short.

And the time is now to live. To love.

It is with sincere respect and condolences to the Ricketson family that I publish this post.


September 17, 2013

Recap of Painting Mojo with Tracy Verdugo

So fab, right? This is a group picture that we took after a weekend of painting with the awesome Tracy Verdugo who traveled all the way from Australia to be with us. Thought I'd share some photos to help capture just a few of the many memories we made during the weekend.

studio crescendohHere's how Tracy's teaching canvas looked at the end of the weekend. So fantastic.
tracy verdugoAnd here are a few more shots of students works during our show-and-tell circle time. Everyond did a great job.

studio crescendohWe even had a dude in the group!

tracy verdugo and ben tomlinsonAt times, we worked on the floor ...

studio crescendohAnd other times on easels, on tables, or on the wall ...

tracy verdugoWe used paints, inks, brushes, fingers, skewers ... and other things.

studio crescendohWe worked really really hard and each made works that benefitted from all that Tracy taught, mingled with our individual points of view and styles.

Here's the first piece that I did, which I finished. It was also a thrill and honor to have this piece sold to fellow student, Tina.

jenny dohHere's the second one I did which is ALMOST finished.

jenny dohIt was a joy and privilege to host Tracy. A great teacher and human being. And the best part? She'll be back in Studio CRESCENDOh in March of 2015 to teach again. Thank you, Tracy. Thank you, students. Thank you, life.

tracy verdugo and jenny doh

August 20, 2013

Henri Matisse, Mary Oliver, and Me

I've been cutting paper lately.

jenny doh
Not as much as I want to because I don't have enought time but I've been dabbling ... so inspired after a recent visit to LACMA where I was able to see some of Henri Matisse's works up close and personal. I've always adored Matisse and immensely enjoyed the opportunity to hear a lecture and learn more about him at LACMA.

He was a sculptor and painter but when he became ill with cancer, he couldn't keep up with the rigors of painting and sculpting so he began to cut paper to create what he called paper sculptures.

This particular piece below is a ceramic rendering of his original paper on canvas that was commissioned by an art collector. Titled La Gerbe. It was breathtaking to see it up close.

henri matisse
I learned that his proces was to paint thick paper with gouache. And when those papers were dry, he cut them into shapes and mounted them onto a substrate where the cut paper would be slightly higher than the substrate ... like this.

jenny doh

My papercutting activities haven't yet involved painting papers with gouache ... I've just been cutting colored paper and mounting the pieces down onto paper. But I'm really excited to try exactly what Matisse did.

Inspired. And yes, imitating Matisse.

Gasp! Imitation?!

The concept of imitation is a tricky topic within the art world ... also within the world of writing and really any other segment of society if you think about it.

On my way down to LACMA I was reading out loud to my family, passages from Mary Oliver's book titled A Poetry Handbook. It's a really wonderful book that has so much wisdom packed in it ... not only for aspiring poets but for aspiring artists of all kinds. One topic that she talks about at length is the value of imitating.

Mary Oliver
She goes on to say that staying too long with imitating one certain style may get you stuck and unable to coax your own voice out into the world. She encourages, however, imitating many styles, to learn from them, as you eventually find your own unique voice that can unleash through the process of observing, imitating, studying, and learning.

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