344 posts categorized "Fun & Discovery"

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 07, 2013

Make the Best Decision and Don't Look Back

I recently went to Vegas with my dear friend Dori Barrett. Our mission? To see the fabulous Elton John in concert. Aside from the concert, we had so much fun and created so many laugh-out-loud memories that I know we won't soon forget. 


The show was wonderful. He played at Caesar's Palace. It was beautiful. Here's a shot that Dori took of me that I love, right after we enjoyed dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and right before Elton came on stage. I was so happy and relaxed.

Aside from the show, I played poker. A game I really enjoy.

My favorite type of poker is Omaha, which is similar to Texas, but with a twist. Each player is dealt 4 down cards and all players get to see 5 community cards ... with the first three cards that get revealed at once called the flop, and then the fourth card revealed called the turn, and then the final card is revealed called the river. (It is also a game that can become a hi-lo split at times.)

Here's the thing about poker. There are rules and a hierarchy of hands, and based on knowing the rules and hierarchy, common sense, and an awareness of other players, you make the best decision at every step of the game, based on all the information that is before you.

The best players actually rarely play because as soon as the four down cards are dealt, the rules and hierarchy and common sense inform the best players to make a decision to either get in the game or to bow out. The best players bow out unless they see a high likelihood for success, based on all the information. Same thing when the flop comes, and then the turn and then the river. The best players don't stay in a game hoping for a miracle at the river. They usually go to the river only when what they are holding and what is revealed at the flop and the turn inform them that they are most likely going to win the game.

Sometimes, when players fold before the river, you'll see some getting upset when the river is revealed because miraculously, the card they were chasing comes up. And they are filled with regret and this experience causes them to throw out logic and information presented in the next round out the window as they stay in the game with a poor hand, chasing the elusive river, only to lose ... and usually lose big.

Once I fold based on the best information before me, I don't like sticking around to see what comes up at the flop or turn or river. I don't want what I see to potentially taint me in the next round, to become irrational, illogical, or overly emotional, chasing miracles.

It's like life in many ways, I think.

  • At every step, make the best decisions based on all the information before you.
  • Don't look back.

And of course ... have fun.

If you want to. ;)

October 01, 2013

The Wilderness Downtown

Wanna experience something super duper cool?
Do you remember your address from childhood?

the wilderness downtown
Then go to The Wilderness Downtown, punch in your childhood address and see what happens.

Make sure you close out all other tabs and programs before you start.

Be sure to make a postcard at the end, print it out and use it in your art journal!

So, so cool.

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 27, 2013

Memories of My First Sunflower Seed

I've been eating a lot of sunflower seeds lately. I don't eat them very often but when I buy a bag, that's all I seem to do ... just sit for endless amounts of time and concentrate on eating them. It's hard to actually finish a bag in one sitting.

Jenny DohThe first time I ever encountered sunflower seeds is when I was 7 ... as a new immigrant from Korea to the United States.

One day during school, I remember the teacher explaining to the class that if we all behaved, we would each be given a sunflower seed. Or at least that's what I surmised from the English words that came out of the teacher's mouth because I really didn't speak English all that well.

So as a result of the class behaving well, I remember the teacher going to each student's desk to put one single seed on top of each desk. It's kind of funny if you think about how we all complied with good behavior to earn a single seed. I'm not sure if that would motivate kids these days. 
Jenny Doh
Anyway, when I saw the seed on my desk, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I watched the other kids and I knew you were supposed to eat it but I didn't really know what happened to the seed once it went inside your mouth. So I put it in my mouth and started chewing it and ended up eating the whole thing, shell and all. I quietly choked a little bit and swallowed hard to get it all down because the last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself ... as the new girl who choked on a sunflower seed.

Jenny Doh
Eventually I learned that you eat the inner seed and spit the rest of it out.

Choking on my first sunflower seed and shell pales in comparison to other challenges I experienced as a Korean immigrant child ... but it's an experience that taught me early on that even if by accident you do something like eat the shell of a seed, things will be ok. The world won't fall apart.

August 25, 2013

Inspired by Newsha Tavakolian

Last night was the annual Zoofari Gala Dinner that I go to every year with The Mister. Right before we left, Monica and I had a spontaneous photo shoot where I put on my boxing gloves for these shots.

Jenny Doh
Jenny Doh
Jenny Doh
They were inspired by this shot that we both admired while at LACMA. Stunning.
It is part of a series of photos taken by Newsha Tavakolian.
I love the idea of art and commentary through photography. So powerful.
Newsha Tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolian

And here I am with The Mister ... seconds out as we headed off to Zoofari. Gloves off.

Gerardo Mouet 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.

August 12, 2013

Recap of A Doll Story Workshop with Danita!

Yipee! Danita and I are already in discussion to plan her next workshop in Studio CRESCENDOh, which will take place right around this time next year, in 2014. So I hope you'll mark your calendar ... as we work hard to deliver another awesome workshop for you ... Danita-style!
danitaHere are just some of the awesome dolls that were made this past weekend by Danita's students. But before they looked like this, they went through many phases.
studio crescendoh
Like this ... sewn, stuffed, painted, and sealed ... but before that, they looked different still.

studio crescendohLike this ... before they were painted ... where we were planning and practicing our faces. Here's my practice face for my doll. Fangs and all.
jenny dohAnd before that, we transferred template lines and sewed and stuffed.

jenny dohThrough each step, Danita was full of patience and wisdom as she taught us her secrets and methods.

And the students worked hard. We all gained such an appreciation for the amount of work that dollmakers go through. We all joked that we didn't make dolls. We gave birth to them!
studio crescendoh
I'm excited that Danita will be working with me to plan her next workshop that she will teach in 2014. Awesome art. Awesome instructor.
jenny doh and danita
See you in Studio CRESCENDOh!

July 28, 2013

Simpler. Truer. Better.

Every time I interact with Kerri, I feel inspired to become ... Simpler. Truer. Better.

Kerri Winterstein and Jenny DohHere we are after a really great brunch where we talked about things that seem little but matter a whole lot when you think about it.

Like how blogging used to feel different than it does now. Less pressure-filled. More homespun. Same thing for etsy ... and other places in this world wide web where homespun and simple seem to have been overhauled by fancy and slick ... where there's pressure to dream big or to go home ...

So much pressure.

Sometimes, it's much too much. And we ALL get caught up in it.

And then there's the whole topic of parenthood. Are we doing it right? Are we being strict enough? Are we being flexible enough? What's the right way?

And then there's that perfect cup of coffee and that perfect side of milk that gets placed at the table by that perfectly happy server ... along with amazing French toast for Kerri and a delectable arugula salad for me. "Sorry for the wait ... it's been a busy day and we are one server short," he says. I think one of us actually says "not a problem" as we busily gobble up the goodness.

Jenny Doh

Lots of wondering and thinking out loud. Lots of chuckles. Not so many answers, but a great visit with great food and loads of healthy thinking out loud.

Lunch or brunch again, hopefully soon.

July 26, 2013

Everyday People

Monica and I had a blast meeting Joan Jett last night. I was super surprised to find out how petite she is! I mean, with all of her amazing contributions to rock n roll, I have visualized her as this tall, larger-than-life person towering over the world of rock ... she's still very larger than life but physically, she's teeny tiny. In an adorable sort of way. And the best part ... she's a normal person ... just like her song Everyday People says ... "I am everyday people."

Jenny Doh and Joan Jett and Monica MouetShe and her band put on an incredible show. They performed many new tracks from their upcoming album but also rocked the house with all of their classic hits.

Joan JettI LOVE this shot of Joan ... check out her killer arms ... and her drummer rockin out. Love it.

Joan JettThe final encore song they did was in fact Everyday People. So apropros for where my mind and heart have been as of late ... all about the concept of honoring self-determination ... to truly live and pursue happiness while letting others live and pursue happiness ... 

The concept isn't rocket science, but it's easier said than done. Cause acceptance and tolerance and love means not only accepting each other regardless of the color of our skin, but other things that sometimes seem like small things but end up becoming big things when our judgements about such matters are allowed to fester ... like how we dress, who we love, what shows we watch, who we follow on IG, the music we listen to, who we're friends with, where we worship, if we worship, what we read, what we drive, where we live, what we eat, and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby ...

One thing's for sure. No matter what, differences will always be present amongst people. Accepting that I think is the key to knowing that you, me, her, him ... we are ALL everyday people.

So do what makes you happy and pursue YOUR happiness ... if you want to. :)

Jenny Doh and Monica Mouet

Everyday People
by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Sometimes I'm right then I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my songs
A butcher, a banker, a drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I'm in
I am everyday people

Then it's the blue ones who can't accept
The green ones for living with
The black ones tryin' to be a skinny one
Different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby

Ooh sha sha
We gotta live together ...

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