Monday, September 17, 2018

Good Design In PAINTING

No, I have not abandoned my blog or painting. It just seems that my days slip away from me, without me doing any productive works. But then, at almost 90, I am entitled to "goof -off". Right? There is nothing urgent that requires me to "get with it." Isn't there?

I still read, paint, and I study about art and life - that is to say that I LIVE.

But, the days do seem to slip away faster than I realize.

So back to the idea of Design, John Carlson, the great artist and teacher said, "If you approach nature without some idea (that is, when you are painting nature), she is merciless in the way in which she piles lumber in your way."

Because you are not really painting the world out there. You are painting a design that you impose on the world. Without that design concept, you can get caught up cataloging what is in front of you.

Where were you, John, when I needed you, when I was in Europe painting landscapes.

Design is the over-riding structure you impose on your painting. Without it, details, incidentals, nuances and distractions can easily bury you.
Wow, that is profound!

So begin your painting with a design idea firmly in your mind, then you have a road map.
Follow the road map.
Every mark is doing something.
Be aware of that something when you paint.
Each mark influences the entire dynamic of your painting.
Do thumbnail sketches (that's what every teacher says.)
Use a view-finder.
Stand back 10'-12' often.
Chang your view orientation.
Walk away someitmes.
Crop and frame dramatically.
Find large, strong value masses to drive your painting.

THINK in terms of design!

Your paintings become more engaging and your success rate soars.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Edie's Poem

Where I'm From 

    I am from the books crowding the shelves,
 siting around. 

    I am from the old rotten apple tree
 From the tree-house that has gone with the fallen limb.

    I am from the red brick school,
sitting there.
    It is no longer mine.

    I am from pillow forts and gun fights with my brother.
    I am from the stuffed tiger who came with me everywhere.

    I am from homemade soup stirring in the kitchen,
And shrimp Wonton with my grand-mother.

    I am from photographs lining the walls,
Mysterious figures of the past.

    I am from shelves weighted down by trinkets and tokens.

    I am from the green house on the corner,
The old swing-set and the playhouse. 

                                     By Edie Olderman
                 (my 11-year old grand-daughter)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Where did The Time Go?

Here I am in Plano, TX, for the tenth month.
Almost ten months!
Where did the time go? 
Yes, I have been very content in this old folks' place. It is not home, but it is okay.
Living among some 200+ Seniors is still a "new" experience for me. I do, however, finding it interesting. 
I have found people from all different parts of the U.S. and beyond, and people with very different backgrounds. 

Lots of materials for a story teller.
Someday, I will tell you a story or two.

In the meantime, I have learned a lot about people and life. 

I came across this and wish to share it with you -

        The best part of life is not just surviving
             but thriving -

        With passion and compassion, 

        And humor and style,

        And generosity and kindness.

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Friend Beverly

I first saw Beverly Montgomery at an art workshop in Ardmore, Oklahoma, in the late 1999s.

I was blown away by her colorful and vibrant watercolor paintings. I said to myself that I wished that I could paint like her. I was a greenhorn of a painter, seeking advice and help. I wanted to know Beverly. And I did.

Beverly became my mentor, my teacher, and my good friend.
We traveled to Mexico, Itlay, and Portugal to paint.
Of course, we painted in many places in Oklahoma - Murray State Park, Turner Falls, Sulphur, Ardmore, etc.

Beverly Montgomery was always interested in Art. However, It was not until her boys were grown that she went back to school and obtained her art degrees - BA from University of Texas at Dallas, TX; and MFA from Texas Women's University in Denton, TX.

A resident of Texas for many years, before moving to Marietta, Oklahoma. She was active in the art communities in and around Dallas, TX. and in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

She mastered her art so well that she was awarded the coveted title of Member of Southwest Watercolor Society (SWS).

Beverly taught briefly at Murray State College, Tishmingo, Oklahoma; and for the last few decades, she taught at Goddard Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Arddmore, Oklahoma. She did workshops in Ada, Holdenville, Madill, and Sulphur, Oklahoma.

She touched many of us, want-to-be artists and helped many of us to become true artists.

Beverly passed away in the early morning of Jyly 15, 2017 - while we, some good friends of hers, prepared an Art Show in honor of her, at the Conservatory at Plano, TX.

Beverly passed away.

The show went on.

Her art lives on.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Little Poetess

My ten-year old grand-daughter writes poetry. 
Here are some of her poems:

The Ringy-Dings

The Ringy-Dings
Are thingy things
That ding ding ding when they move
And they hover
And they ground.
They really are quite dumber 
And look like a mound.
And what they eat is disgusting.
It smells all musty
And looks all dusty
And is called remusty.
And some are green
And some are mean
And some smell like poop
And some go gloop
And some are in the shape of a hoop.
And they drag around spaghetti
And they stare at parettidetti
Which is funny rigatti
And also a pigati.
And they have Afros made of cloud,
And they are very loud.
They like dingy places
And mingy faces
That are stinky 
And blinky
And they leave trails
Of floating goo.
And they faceplant in rails
And they slime
A trail of blue.
But even if I could I would never ever ever change the amazing 

One Little Dot

One little dot of light
In a sea of night.
One little star in the sky
One little plane flying by
One little speck in the sea
One little dot in the world
That's me!!!!!!!!!! 

The Sun

The sun
It just makes you want to have fun.
It's bright,
It brings light. 


It brings out imagination,
Makes the characters fighting.
You weave a story,
don't make it boring
The hero won glory,
The eagle is soaring.
A mantis sea,
A tiger freed,
A kittens need.
Knights in shinning armour,
A poor old farmer,
A miller.
An assassin, a killer.
Writing is so fun.
You can do it everywhere, any time,
In the sun,
Even in front of a mime!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Love And Friendship

Last night I got a phone call from my old schoolmate Joyce.

Joyce and I went to England together after our graduation from Hong Kong University in 1954. We traveled on S.S.Asia, from Hong Kong to Italy. And from Italy, we went on an overnight train to Calais; then crossed the English Channel to Dover; and then, rode a train to London.
We stayed at Joyce's aunt's place in London for a couple of weeks.
You remember the story about us washing her antique vase by mistake?
You are not supposed to WASH the dust off antiques!
We did not know.
We were two ignorant and silly girls!
Her aunt did not get made at us. She forgave us. What a Sport!

Joyce, my friend from sixty some years ago.

Joyce now lives in Australia with her husband, Ernie.

I was so thrilled to hear her voice.

Joyce and her family were refugees from Shanghai, like me and my family in 1948-9. Joyce is part English, part German, part French, part Asian, and part I don't know what. Me, I am pure "Han", Chinese.
Joyce could speak Chinese as well as I could.
We became good friends at the University.
After I moved to the U.S., we kept in touch all these years.
Isn't that great?

Joyce and I never had any words. We respect each other.

It was so good to hear her voice.

We talked, and we talked.

We filled each other in on all the news relating to our old school mates, etc.
She wanted to know how I like my new life and so on.
There was such warmth in her caring voice and I was so touched.

Since I came to the Conservatory, I have received many cards, letters, phone calls, messages, and such from my friends in Ada, Oklahoma. They all wished me well and wanted to know how my new life is. 
Some of them, I did not think that I knew that well. 

Yes, I do have lot more friends than I realized.

I used to be quite cynical about that aspects of life. I used to say that I had many acquaintances but not really many friends. Which is probably true for most people, if you think about it. 

What is a friend?

A friend is someone who likes you for whom you are. 

A friend is honest with you in all aspects of your relationship.

A friend tells you the truth even though you may not like to hear it.

A friend is someone who comes to your rescue if you need help.

A friend is someone who can disagree with you but still talks to you. 

A friend does not have to see or talk to you everyday, but he or she is there for you if you need him or her. 

A friend does not take advantages of you in any way.

A friend is there for Life.

I am lucky that I have many friends. 

I am also lucky that I am making new friends.

I wish you the same!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Loner

They call him Whitie. 
He has a full head of fluffy white hair.

I had seen him around. 
He did not say much. 
Sometimes, he would acknowledge your "Good Morning." Sometimes, he would give you a half-hearted smile. Sometimes, he would just look at you. 
Perhaps he did not hear my greeting.

That morning, I went to the dining room for lunch. John, the dining room manager, asked me if Whitie could sit with me. "Sure," I said.

Whitie sat down, and ordered his meal.

Since I am supposed to make conversation with anyone eating with me, I started by introducing myself and asked him how long had he been at the Conservatory.

He said, "Six months."
"How do you like it here?" I asked him.
"It's terrible," he said.
I was taken aback.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
" My son wants to mange my life. He sold my house. He put me on an airplane and sent me here," he said.

I did not know what to say.

I was thinking that I was one of the lucky ones because I made my own choice of coming to this senior living place. I would resent it if my daughters did the same to me.

I waited a minute or two. trying to collect my wits.

"I was a ski instructor," he said.

"I had ten acres of land and a big house. I miss sitting on my front porch watching the deer go by,"
he  continued.

I forced myself to make a smile.

"I understand." I said.

Did I really?

"I hate it here," he said again.
"Where does your son live?' I asked.
"A mile from here,"he said.

"He comes to see me once a month," he said.
Obviously, he did not think that was often enough. 

"How many children do you have?" I asked.
"Three," he said.
"Where do they live?" I asked.
He looked at me and said,
"My daughter came to see me once . . ."

I was silent.

"It will get better,"I said to him. A white lie?

"Thank you for talking to me,"he said and smiled.

I am going to make a point of greeting him and talking to him. I hope that I can make his life a little more bearable for him.

I wonder how many "Whities" are in this place.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Museum Outing

There are many activities provided to the residents at the Conservatory.
Cultural ones, such as visiting the museum is one.
One sunny morning, the minibus took some fourteen or sixteen of us to one of the major Museums in another City, some fifty or so miles away, to view some special exhibition.
We started out around 9:30 a.m.
The trip would have taken about 45 minutes to an hour, give or take a few minutes. Depending on the traffic, they said.
Our leader informed us that she found out that the museum will not be open until noon.
Now, we had some time to kill!
So off we went to have breakfast at some restaurant.
We were served huge stakes of pancakes, giant waffles, biscuits and gravy, extra large glasses of iced tea, and huge mugs of coffee . . .
Hey, this is Texas!

On to the bus, we continue with our journey.
Now, our leader and driver were trying to figure out what is the best way to get to the museum.
Surely, this was not their first trip to the museum, or is it?
Well, we did get there safe and sound.
We were there early.
Our leader asked us if we would like the bus to circle the museum a few times since we now have another few minutes to kill. 
Thank goodness, some of us voiced our opinions and asked to be let out of the bus and to take up our places at the line at the entrance instead.

We finally made it inside the special exhibition at the museum some fifteen minutes after the noon hour.
It was a great exhibition!
Around two o'clock, most of us were through with viewing the artworks. We started to congregate at the little café.
We were missing some of our fellow travelers!
We had no instructions as to when or where we were supposed to meet to board our bus.
So we waited, we waited . . .
Finally, everyone gathered at the café . . .
And on to the bus, heading back Home (our home at the Conservatory.)
By the time we got back, it was around 4 p.m.
A six and half hour trip!
We only had some one and half hour at the Exhibition!

Well, what is the hurry?
We old folks have all the time in the world, don't we?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sit And Get Fit!

Every Monday through Saturday, there are exercises classes at the Conservatory.
You can do Sit And Get Fit, Move It Or Lose It, Yoga, or Balance Acts.

My children said to me that I should go to Exercises Classes.
"They are good for you," they said.
"Mom, you should go," they said.
So here I am, at nine-thirty in the morning, with some twenty seniors, doing Sit And Get Fit.
Our instructor puts on some music and calls out the movements -
"Left leg in,"
"Left leg out,"
"One, two, three, four,"
"Five, six, seven, eight."
"Nine, ten, eleven, twelve."

"One, two, three, four . . .

Twenty-three arms went up in the air, some higher than the others . . .
Some lifted his or her left arm, some lifted his or her right arm. Some may be moving his or her leg instead of arm . . .

I see them in the large mirror in front of us.

For thirty minutes, arms waving, feet kicking . . . 
Not in complete unison, mind you.
But there were movements.
It is good for us, they swear.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Hour!

It is three-thirty in the afternoon.

Happy Hour at the Conservatory!

Just a minute.

I thought this is a senior-living facility. Happy Hours at three-thirty? And they are serving WINE?

When I was looking over this place some months ago, the Coordinator said to me and my daughter, "We have Happy Hour every weekday and the residents love it."

Yes, indeed! The residents love it!
It is a time to have a drink and some snacks, and it is a time to meet people.
Not such a bad idea.

Yes, there are limitations. No more than two drinks per person. And there are many who do not drink, like me. Mind you, I do not object to drinking in moderation. It is just that Drinks don't like ME.
We, non-drinkers, could have a soft drink or some water.

Did I not read somewhere, one of the secrets of living longer is -
Being With People - People who are congenial, People who support you, and People who are there for you . . . and so on. Isn't it true that a lot of older people experience loneliness and such and suffer from depression?

Another point is: have a glass of wine each day.
Right? Or, not?

I think the people who run this place know how important interacting with the others are. I don't know about the wine part.
May be they Got It!

It has been some three and half weeks since I came here. They have kept me so busy that I have not had time to totally unpack. I cannot find some of the things that I thought I had brought here. They are in some boxes somewhere. May be they are in the hall closet.

It is three-thirty in the afternoon.

Happy Hour at the Conservatory!
I will talk to you later.