Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English, have no links that were not pre-approved, not include profanity, or threats. The problem with the links is we can't take the time go there and see if they are legitimate and relate to the topic.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Transitions

by Rain Trueax

Rain Rock Casino-- Yreka, California

Holy Mackerel, what is going on with time? It seems we just got home with a blog to share but now, time to write another one. Ack. 

Mostly the days after we got home have been about unpacking (a lot goes between homes) and then rearranging the house. When we are gone (with current agreement), our son lives here sometimes with his boys. He takes care of the livestock; and although in town, he has a duplex, he tends to be out here the most due to the needs of the animals. He then, of course, arranges things to suit himself. We come home and have to arrange it to suit ourselves. This business of sharing a home may not work long term for him or us. We are all feeling our way through it. One way or another, change has to come.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

by Diane : The value of art to me and quotes

My personal story:
I learn positive values of aging from my art making. 
My golden years are an empty canvas or book
that I fill with nurturing care for myself like I care for my paintings.
 
 
Art is a license for me to play, fantasize, and be young at heart.
 
Art is healing was the most compelling theme in a book I read recently. Since last week's post which was a review of "Disturbances in the Field", a novel by Lynn Sharon Schwartz, I am looking for more stories of  the art's power to impact the quality of our lives. One of the secondary stories within the novel was about the main character calming herself by coloring in a children's coloring book after two life tragedies. She hid her coloring books under couch pillows when family and friends came unexpected.  During the eighties adults would think she was digressing to childhood. Today public opinion has become more accepting. Big chain stores like Target, Fred Myers, art galleries, craft stores and even grocery stores market adult coloring books. Artist friends of mine are not ashamed to say at times they find coloring books soothing. Art permits us regardless of age to play.
 
Art saves lives. Practicing an art improves quality of life making living joyful and rich. For example this morning at breakfast I watched the swallows in flight, a couple of foxes hunting and the lighting on the field and woods changing color with the heat of summer. I was looking with the interest of an artist preparing to paint. Seeing like an artist is enough to enhance living. But I wanted more. So I rushed outside to paint. My iphone camera doesn't capture my excitement or how I see the colors. Selecting what I paint from the landscape is empowering.

 



My experiences are reflected  in quotes my sister-in-law Debby Wenzel gave me.

An hour a day of art makes me happier. An hour of art per week reduces depression.


In art as in life much can be forgiven if your values are right. Experiencing the world my values have changed over the years. I would rather buy art supplies than most material things. I see beauty in people and the environment in unconventional ways.

Art humanizes people. One example is children learning to play musical instruments and playing in a band or orchestra. Another is the art of cursive writing helps to develop a child's brain. Art is the sublime manifestation of the human spirit. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

On the internet I found this quote shared by Donna Watson.
Art is not just ornamental, it is an enhancement of life.
It is a path in itself, a way out of the predictable and conventional...a map to self discovery.  Gabrielle Roth

Saturday, June 08, 2019

roadtrip

by Rain Trueax



What we left behind

Roadtrips are long journeys made by car, bus, anything wheeled. It's not so much a vacation as a way to get somewhere.

We've been on the road this week, pulling our 26' travel trailer, and staying in RV parks, which has made it difficult to write much. This trip has convinced us we do want a larger trailer or a fifth wheel, with more storage and maybe a desk of some sort. At home, I use a ergo keyboard, which makes the laptop dicey for typing. A few years ago we bought an inexpensive lightweight desk for the Wildcat. I set a monitor on it, a split keyboard on the pull out shelf, and the laptop goes below. When not in use, it is stuffed alongside the bed (which we get into by crawling up). Unless we are spending more than a night somewhere, it's too much work to pull out. 

Driving 1400 miles is no vacation. We used to drive all day, but now go for  less miles in a day but the traffic can be horrendous especially with how much trucking moves our goods. I do not deal well with heavy traffic or rough roads. Luckily, Ranch Boss handles it better, but it wasn't a lot of fun for either us or the cats.

So, my plan for what I'd write here is postponed and this about heading north through California. We came across highway work both in Arizona and California. Such fun... i should have taken pictures of that. I was too busy moaning lol.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Art Heals by Diane, DISTURBANCES IN THE FIELD, a novel by Lynn Sharon Schwartz

 
DISTURBANCES IN THE FIELD, a novel by Lynn Sharon Scwartz was well worth the difficult read. I was up to my chin in attempting to keep from drowning.  I was impatient in a "field" disturbed by vocabulary that I do not often use and by references to forgotten Greek philosophy. I did finally listened to Schubert's "Trout" which played a central part to the plot. I felt I had  to look everything up along the way but found for all of my toil, it was not necessary to understand the book. Every seemingly disparate part of the book did come to an uplifting conclusion for me as an artist.  It is a love story that confirms my belief that art is healing. 
 

Disturbances in the Field, acclaimed when it first appeared in 1983, has just been reissued in paperback by Counterpoint.

The plot: "When she was a girl, Lydia Rowe spent an idyllic month with her family in a house on Cape Cod. As with Proust and Combray, Lydia’s memories of the brown house by the sea became her talisman of the harmonious life. At college, she comes to feel the same way about studying Greek philosophy with her close friends—precise Nina, aristocratic Gaby, earthy Esther, and her first lover, George. The young women form a circle of intimacy and unity, a quasi family that will endure over the next twenty years.

Lydia becomes the pianist in a chamber music group, another kind of family. She marries Victor, an artist, and though their early years together are turbulent, they have four children and finally achieve something of the order and balance of the classical trios she loves to play, the coherence amid diversity that has been her goal since reading the pre-Socratic philosophers in college. Then a tragic event turns Lydia’s life into a field of dissonance and pain.

The stoic Epictetus wrote, "everything has two handles, one by which is may be borne, the other by which it may not." Lydia grasps the wrong handle and grows numb to herself and those she loves. Though she feels stripped and vacant, her inner voice remains, doing its implacable work of observing, remembering, connecting, persistently limning the shape of her sorrow. What is the right handle by which her loss and her broken faith may be borne? How can Lydia reach a place where "ordinary things... resume their rightful proportions and places in a university of ordinary things?"

I highly recommend the book and especially my friends who write, know music, literature, philosophy, psychology or like love stories with substance. 
 
The theme: Last night June 4, the theme that art is healing was aired on Public Broadcasting News hour's Canvas segment. Mothers of homicide victims went to the prison where they shared their story with the murders of their love one. The prisoners were moved and wanted to do something to express their remorse. The prisoners got together and decided to make paintings or drawings  which were sold so the money could go to families of victims to pay for the expenses of the grieving families to pay for example the head stones. The act of doing something that expressed true remorse gave them a good feeling they would pursue doing more good. Likewise the families of the victims were  on the road to forgiveness and healing.
 
In my experience when I had oral surgery, I was able to ease the pain without medication by painting very small tight illustrations for a story book.
 
What are other examples of how art heals?
 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

the hero's journey

by Rain Trueax




Last time I wrote about rejection, something most creative people have to learn to deal with if they want to continue creating original work. Copying what someone else did is different-- whether a painting or a book. Where it comes to fiction, there is work that has been proven successful and rules that help someone duplicate the exact pattern (in a romance that is when the couple might first kiss or have sex) and possibly have economic success. 

As a reader/writer, I've seen where certain specific plots get repeated over and over (some say that Shakespeare created all possible plots-- hence generally speaking, there is nothing new). One hopeful writer studied bestselling writers, came up with a pattern, followed it perfectly and wrote her own bestsellers. She was not trying to do creative work but rather make a living-- nothing wrong with that. Copying what has been successful has appeal for many readers and writers. There is a kind of security in it. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

by Diane: Humbled by research into the ch'i in Chinese painting

Swallows, oil, 11' x 14"
Movement in a painting is not enough to have ch'i




My research on the principle of ch'i in painting awoke me to my ignorance.  Compositional movement is not enough to have ch'i. To achieve ch'i, I would need complete focus meaning just one role in life as a scholar. To keep the ch'i flowing I would be painting in the lotus position or standing on my knees for maximum spirit moving  from my core to arms and fingers. During the act of painting I would not be observing and learning, but I would know the flight of the sparrows, not just in my mind, but in my muscles too.
         In the painting of swallows the two trees in the background is a Western devise for perspective. The trees are too much. The color of the flowers in the foreground is too much. Chi needs simplicity. Swallows with little environmental cues, swallows dominate in the picture would be more revealing of  the energy of life in the swallows. To have ch'i, I need to know and emulate paintings of swallows by Chinese painters from ages past. No can do! I depend on vibrant color.
  
          My goal is revised. I am not going to achieve ch'i but just let some of the principles of Chinese painting inform the development of just one painting,"Swallows". Specifically I am employing simplicity in my revision!
Removed all that distracted from seeing swallows first so their flight flows.
Please comment on which you prefer the energy of the colorful "Swallows" or the restrained one ?

My research details:
 After thinking about George  Rowley's book, PRINCIPLES OF CHINESE PAINTING, I realize ch'i is more than the simple translation, spirit of life.


I researched my own books to find as much as I can on the ch'i principle.
I am humbled by the realization that I was pompous to think I can pursue ch'i as a goal in my painting. I got a big head from being complimented by an admirer of my paintings who said my landscapes had chi. Reviewing my books I now understand that every aspect of  Chinese painters' lives fed their ch'i yun. " the way in which spirit (ch'i) manifests itself in their style.  (Page 14 in Rowley's  book.)

I am enthralled by this statement; Painting should be the playful pastime of a scholar, even though one should prepare to paint  "as if to receive an important guest."  Without diligence, painting will lack completeness so that Kuo Hsi advised working as if "guarding against a strong enemy".  Could this be a reference to the disciplined martial art of Tai Ch'i?  In Tai Ch'i  every change of pose in the continuous flow keeps the body in the best possible balance. Keeping all joints relaxed and unlocked allows the life force ch'i to flow.  Never over extending allowing an opponent to grab the arm and pull one off balance. Ch'i is applicable to Chinese brush painting and doesn't work so well in traditional oil painting as I was attempting in "Swallows."  I need my oil paint creamy and buttery to have control. To achieve the flow like Chinese watercolors the brush could be stiffened with rice starch while the Chinese watercolor would be the consistency of chicken broth. I will never have that skill.

..one should prepare to paint "as if to receive an important guest."  Infrequently I have the pleasant experience of my painting flowing as though a guest is directing me in all the right moves. A preparation is practice, practice, practice as in Chinese brush painting with traditional movement to become muscle memory.
     I am hoping that one of the side effects of practicing the martial art of Tai Ch'i I will develop a greater awareness of where my body is in space as well as the meditative focus that will carry over to my painting without setting a superficial intent from another culture.
      Below is a passage from George Rowley's book that I have from time to time studied over the years.
PRINCIPLES OF CHINESE PAINTING, page 14.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Rejection

by Rain Trueax

My view, when I turn around, from where I write when in Tucson.

One of the things that is hardest about being a writer comes only if you put your work out there-- rejection. This is true for anyone who does creative work. Do it for yourself, and no risk. You are satisfying your creative need. Put it out for a contest or to try and sell it and bingo-- rejection. 

For me, I don't feel so much rejected for myself, but for the work that I personally love and why doesn't everyone? Yes, I do laugh when I write that because some people ridicule someone for saying that but a creative work is an offspring of someone's mind and emotions. Why would they not feel a part of us?