Amazing typewriter artist

Over the weekend, Chris and I were out and about running errands in downtown Portland. I needed to pick up an item at a local boutique and while waiting to pay we look up and saw an amazing piece of artwork on the wall. While the piece itself may not be something I would put on my wall, I was fascinated and in awe of how the artist creates her art.

Rachel Mulder is a local Portland artist. What sets her apart from other artists? She creates her pieces on a typewriter. The darker areas are made by continuous strikes on the typewriter. As you can see by the screen grab I took from her website, there is an amazing amount of texture, color, and shading and to think it was all done via a typewriter.

I am always amazed and impressed when an artist does something so different and awe-inspiring. While I may not necessarily want this woman specifically on my wall it makes me want to think outside the box and find new ways of looking at the world. Who knew you could make such a rich piece by spending hours at a typewriter? I had to stand and stare at it for quite a while. It is worth taking a look at the link to her website above. (My screen grab is just a portion of the woman).

I would love to purchase a smaller installation of her artwork (the piece in this boutique was quite larger, but worth every penny). It makes me think about all the other creative and simple ways that we can make art. Her way is genius, and I love the energy and creativity it added to my day, and made me want to come home and paint. I did not, as the day ended up being full of catching up on life, but that desire is still fueling inside of me. I bet Rachel goes through quite a few typewriter ribbon tapes. Remember those things?

Here is to finding fun, new, and creative ways to express ourselves!

“Words and Pictures”

Over the long holiday weekend, we watched “Words and Pictures.” It has been a while since I have seen a good movie (or one that I actually watched completely without multi-tasking). This one sucked me in. Maybe it was the subject matter. Words, writing, ideas and art, painting, pictures. Plus it had a bit of the indie film feel to it. It was a mellow movie, not too much drama, but just the right amount of depth.

Juliette Binoche and Clive Davis are the main characters and they do not disappoint. Owen is an alcoholic, yet endearing English professor at a college prep school, and Binoche an artist/painter who cannot do what she used to after rheumatoid arthritis effects her. They begin a personal and professional war that moves both their students and their own worlds. It was not an amazing movie, but enough to keep me engaged and make me think. I was enamored watching her paint. Who knows if Binoche had any idea what she was doing at the craft of painting, watching her awakened a dormant vein inside me. I have not painted for a while. She painted large pieces, a size I do not have a space for, yet it brought back a craving for me to continue to paint. It brought back the desire to dust off my brushes and get busy painting.

As far as the movie goes, I could speak to either side of the debate (words or pictures) as the movie debates. I am a word fanatic. I love writing, find that I process my world with words. Yet, I also love art. It calms me, is therapeutic, and truly allows me to be in the moment. Some of my paintings have no words to describe them, they are just something I feel. Sometimes my words still do not do justice to what I am feeling. The debate continues, but both are just as important to me.

Check out the trailer below.

Words Matter

Have you ever thought about how words matter? Writing is my world. Yes, I have other strengths and focuses, but at the end of the day, if I could do what I wanted it would be to write, play on the potter’s wheel, bring out a blow torch and do encaustic paintings, oh the list goes on and always tends to involve creative outputs. Words, though, dictate so much. You can provide a visual explanation of art through a painting, but to me words can bluntly or eloquently tell folks what you really think. They matter. They change emotions, moods, and communicate a variety of informative details.

Words alone do nothing. They have to be interspersed with tone, intention, care, and purpose. Without the emotion and care words have meaning but they stand alone. Sometimes even with the best intentions, how words are communicated can turn individuals away, make them feel guarded, alone, separate. With the best intentions and carefully crafted, words can make individuals feel included, respected, and valued. Words matter.

I am passionate about the selection of words, their meaning, and their intent. I think about it for almost every email I draft, every communication I write — whether for work, or among friends. I wonder, though, do we all think about our words and their effects on those around us? Do we write to make others feel inspired, engaged, and excited about what they are reading? Sometimes. Other times our words fall on deaf ears because we do not communicate well. We miss moments and opportunities to have a direct connection with our reader.

Yes, words matter. Think about that as you draft that next email, communication, blog post, Facebook post, whatever vehicle you use to share your ideas. You might find, as you focus on the words, you receive a different response from your reader.

Which doors to open…

It has been a while since I have written about a book I have read. Two reasons: I have not had the time to read as many books lately, and I have not read as many books that have inspired me. However, over Thanksgiving I read a novel that I could not put down. It is called: “The Time Between” by Karen White. I am not even sure where to start in explaining this complex storyline.

It is about two sisters (Eve and Eleanor), their stories of loss, anger, longing, and forgiveness. One is in a wheelchair, and the other does everything she can to take care of her sister. She works long hours in an investment banking firm, plays the piano at night to bring in more money. The other sister sews gowns in her wheelchair. Such pieces she herself would have worn in past beauty pageants. Music is weaved throughout the story, second chances, and the beauty of an island. Of course there is so, so, so much more to the story, but I do not want to ruin it for you. There is one line near the end of the book that I had to share with you:

“There is how we were before, and how we are now, and the time between is spent choosing which doors to open, and which to close.” page 319

I thought this was the perfect morsel of insight from the book. White discusses this in different ways throughout the book. She is right. So often we are stuck in how we were before, that we cannot be okay with where we are now. As White alludes to throughout the book, there are many doors to which we can open or close and the choice is 99% ours to make. Do we forgive someone and move on, or do we stay stuck in what they have done to us? Can we get over the one that did not choose to love us, so that we can be present and ready for the one that we will love so deeply? Such good ideas for really anyone. Even with the sisterhood theme, it did not feel like chick lit to me. Just a great novel, and really I can see it made into a movie.

Open a new door. Take a few hours to read “The Time Between.” It is worth it.

Encaustic badass

Each year a few days away from our anniversary, we venture to the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. We try to go on Friday so that if we fall in love with a piece of artwork, there is still the possibility that it has not been sold. We have had this tradition for quite a few years, and sometimes we do not find or purchase anything and other years we come home with grins and excitement to go back on Sunday to pick up our new piece.

Karl KaiserThis year we came home with smiles across our face. Karl Kaiser’s talented encaustic work has come home to hang on our walls, and we also got to meet him at the Festival of the Arts. I am enamored with his work. If you are not familiar with encaustic, I encourage you to check out his blog as he will show you how he does some of his pieces. Encaustic is a form of painting using hot beeswax. Many encaustic artists mix their own colors, and you will find that each artist has a very different finished piece of work.

I have been wanting to start doing my own pieces, and had always been told that I would need a blow torch. Based on my multi-tasking and often dream world thinking Chris has not wanted me to have a blow torch in the house. To my excitement, Karl let us know that I could use butane to start out.

The piece you see is many, many layers of wax cut down and embedded into another piece. I love the rich color that he has brought into this piece. If you want to follow Karl’s work, you can like him on Facebook, check out his website, or his blog.