09.29.03

There is often a tendency among creative people to be highly critical of one another.

Many artists who work in non-digital media such as drawing with pencil to paper, painting with oil to canvas, or sculpting by hand to clay ... these artists tend to look down on the digital artists as not really artists at all.

I have a professional photographer friend who only uses 4x5 Hasselblad for his images and thinks digital photographers are "lame" because they can edit their images via computer and create something that was really not there for the eye to see when the photo was created.

I found myself reminding him that photographers like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Margaret Bourke-White were creating their stark, almost surrealistic imagery IN THE DARKROOM by pushing, burning, or over exposing. In fact, many professional and art photographers will utilize the darkroom as a paintbrush to edit what was originally captured on film.

So, I guess if you modify an image in a darkroom, it is creative license and aesthetic? However, if you modify an image digitally, you are somehow not a serious photographic artist?

There is snobbery in the art world. I know ... because I once felt that same way.

Yes, I am a classically trained artist. Prior to my university experience, I studied privately for over 15 years with various art professors and masters throughout the southwest. I have had my drawings and paintings exhibited around the USA and currently have two pieces in permanent collections.

So my point?

I once thought that individuals who "drew" digitally using software to make their images were not really skilled artists. I believed that they were just good technicians.

However, now ... four, maybe five years into understanding and exploring the digital realm of imagery ... I see the astonishing art that is created using various rendering programs and nothing ... nothing ...

... can convince me that those people who sit for hours, days at a time ... laboring over the fine details of a digital image, choosing an exact light source to implement the correct angles and shadows, making the pupil of an eye look wet, translucent and alive ... drawing each strand of hair or texture of fabric, the drape of a sleeve ...

... these are not artists?

When I look at the work of a digital artist such as Martin Murphy or the digital photography of Mitch Miller, there is no way I can discount these remarkable, talented individuals as artists.

And no one should.

Art is art. Digital art is a skill. It is, without doubt, a contribution to the art world.

And I, for one, appreciate it.


09.27.03

Life's lessons.

Now I truly understand:

"Do not give what is precious to the undeserving; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

- - Matthew 7:6


09.22.03

I have very long hair.

Wait, let me change that.

I had very long hair.

I have not been to a salon in over a decade and instead have allowed anyone with a steady hand to cut my hair. A simple straight cut done about every four, maybe five weeks.

I mean, how hard is it? The hair hangs down my back ... wet and totally straight ... and all you have to do is cut an even horizontal line, yes?

So, I have this neighbor friend, Steve. I saw him outdoors and waved him over.

"Steve, will you come in and cut my hair?"

He looked wary. Very wary.

"No really Steve, it is very simple. Just take these little scissors, this comb, and cut two inches straight across."

He came in, still very hesitant.

"Um Jann, how short? I mean two inches?"

I nodded and stood straight, ready for him to snip away those pervasive split ends.

"Okay, all done."

I looked down. There were strands of hair over 6", maybe 7" long now coiled prettily on my dining room carpet.

"Wellll, okay then. Thank you Steve!"

He smiled ... actually beamed ... very proud of himself. "Hey no problem, that was fun!"

Off he went. And off I went to look in the bathroom mirror.

Seeing my formerly long hair (between my bra line, almost to my waist) now resting perfectly blunt cut ... between my shoulder blades, I started to laugh.

I was reminded of that old joke:

A woman asks, "Why do most men make lousy carpenters?" Holding up her thumb and forefinger spread about 2.5" wide ... she says, "Because they are convinced that this is six inches!" (sexual connotation implied)

Uhhhh, yeah. Oh well, it'll grow back. My hair, that is.


09.20.03

Lack of night time sleep, a muscle relaxer, Mexican food and a baseball game on TV can lead to a very interesting afternoon nap dream.

I had no idea that I was tired enough to fall asleep watching the game but alas, a big lead takes some of the interest edge from the contest ... and off to slumberland I went.

And there I was, in a knee length evening dress and big hair, reminiscent of the 80's. I was barefoot.

How I was able to be standing in centerfield DURING the Diamondbacks game, only my dream master will truly know.

I walked up to the second baseman ... who was a faceless entity ... and said, "Can I ask you a technical question?"

He said, very nonchalantly, "Sure, we are really beating The Brewers ... go ahead."

I responded, "Don't call me goathead!" He looked puzzled.

I shrugged, giggled and walked up to the shortstop. I could hear the fans screaming and cheering in the stands but it had nothing to do with me being on the field, it was because PeeWee Herman was batting.

I asked the shortstop, "Can I ask you a serious question?" He simply said, "Yes."

"Why do you guys play some of your games underwater?" I asked.

"Because it sells so many more trading cards," he replied.

I shook my head like I understood, said "thanks" and walked out to talk to Luis Gonzales playing in left field.

He turned to leave the field and I ran after him. For some reason, now my hair and evening dress were drenched ... soaking wet.

I caught up with Gonzo in the hallway under the stadium seats and asked if I could walk with him.

He said, "No, you're barefoot" and he skated away. Skated?

Yes, Luis had "grown ice skates" and skated away mumbling about having to talk to Gordie Howe.

I was standing on ice.

I heard a honk behind me and turned to see a very large armadillo about ready to run me over. But it was not really an armadillo but a Zamboni disguised as an armadillo.

It was being driven by Ricky Martin (of "Livin' La Vida Loca" fame).

I awoke.

Pondering the entire dream, I could not help but wonder where I got the evening dress.


09.17.03

Some people never cease to amaze me.

They will be pleasant, even friendly, to you when approached one-on-one (in person, via email or telephone).

But then ... they get with their "other friends" ... you know, the cool kids. KA-BAM! They turn on you like a starving dog on a tossed out bone. It is a clandestine Jekyll-Hyde thing.

So help me God, if I do it ... smack me down, strip me naked, douse me with honey and throw me to the ants!

And while I am grouching about the innate bitchiness of some individuals ...

... I cannot help but pity those folks who are so afraid that their edgy, sarcastic, very cool persona will be ruined by overtly being kind, decent and warm to people who simply want to be friends.

Key word: overtly.

I know people like that.

I am most certainly not one of the cool people: I do not try to impress with my edgy sense of humor, my sarcastic wit, and by being caustic or confrontational. I am a simple woman who believes that life can be a remarkable adventure when it is lived expressing goodness, decency and warmth. I purposely attempt to keep my language clean, my attitude positive, and my outlook rosy (Note: I said "attempt". Saint, I am not).

And sadly, I end up feeling like the overweight girlfriend who is kept hidden by the good looking guy who happily has remarkable, all out fun, lustful and sensuous sex with her in private, but God forbid that he should be seen with her in public! Oh the shame, oh the humanity!

While typing this entry, I recall a "line" I heard in the movie "Summer Catch" (Freddie Prinze Jr. & Jessica Biel):

Fat girls are like mopeds. They are fun to ride but you don't want your friends to see you."

You would be amazed how many of the cool, intentionally unapproachable people can be so warm and decent and friendly (yes, friendly) when they can hide you in the privacy of their home, their email, or their phone calls ...

... but will not be seen speaking with you in public, in their online comments, or acknowledge that they do communicate with you.

It would jeopardize their coolness.

And I cannot help but wonder what frailties lie within the facade of "being cool" that makes it so easily damaged. Is the 'I am a personality' veneer so easily cracked?

I suppose I will never know the answers. All I know is that ...

... some people never cease to amaze me.


09.15.03

I wonder if Jon Stewart is really on Trading Spaces ...

... or if Doug Wilson is really the host of The Daily Show:

Jon Stewrt  Doug Wilson


Yes, I definitely have too much time on my hands.



09.11.03

"Now I begin to feel that all that is important comes in quietness and waiting; and that activity should be only the working out, the digesting and putting forth of what one learned, so that one may become empty again to receive more." - - Rodney Collin



At 5:46am this morning, with reverence and humility, my head bowed in honor and remembrance for all that was lost, I cannot help but go back to those hours, days, and weeks ... time passages of hope and hopelessness ... and remember that I sat waiting.

These are my words:

9/11 - DAYS OF WAITING


09.08.03

Recollections, remembrances and thoughts:

Voices


09.07.03

I spent this Sunday morning doing something ... well, I just have never done before.

The result?

I realize how truly old, out of touch, and "unhip" I have become.

I also realize that some of us were meant to contribute to society dancing to one beat, while others ... the drum beats in a completely different rhythm.

I watched what felt like a marathon of a MTV show entitled, "The Wade Robson Project".

Okay, so the premise behind this show is the way-over-the-top-cool dancer guy ... uh yeah, Wade Robson ... duh ... who is/was the choreographer behind Britney and *NSync ... holds tryouts around the USA for the best amateur individual dancers and then they perform/compete on the MTV show.

I guess you could call it the dancer version of 'American Idol'.

American Bandstand it is not.

While I did not recognize 90% of the music, the dance moves themselves totally blew me away.

Sure, I have seen these booty-shakin' hot poppin' moves in the R&B, hip-hop and rap videos but when the dance dude broke them down into two sets of eight counts ...

... I realized that this kind o' dancing takes 'skilz'.

Skills I never possessed. Damn, he would show these young dancers one eight-count move perhaps twice, ferchrissake, and they would replicate him like the Rockettes in unison at the end of the Christmas season!

Bam! He would show them a second set of eight ... and again, dead on.

Then, without skipping a heartbeat, he would have them put the two sets together and dance.

Yep, I am old. Hell, I am worn out from just watching the show!

But if you like watching young people dance, can stand listening to the music of today, and wanna feel totally spastic ... you know the drill ...

... and 5, 6, 7, 8 ...


09.02.03

I did something this morning that I have not done in a long ... too long .. time.

I went outdoors and from the privacy of my deck, I watched clouds.

Yes, a simple act of observance.

While the morning's temp was an appetizer leading to a toasty 110 day, the sky offered a palette of bright blue and billowy white.

The winds must have been blowing briskly in the higher atmosphere because the clouds were flying by. Racing across the sky towards the horizon finish line.

I could not take my eyes off them. I found myself looking north. Straining to see them in the east. Watching them above me.

A bounty of beauty without buying a ticket.

Here I sat, sweat beginning to trickle down the nape of my neck in response to the morning humidity, and I felt refreshed by the vision of clouds caught on the winds.

I envied these puffs of white and willed myself to join them. To seek the breezes of late summer and allow myself to transcend space and time and simply drift away.

But it is not that simple, is it?


09.01.03

I have read eleven books over the summer.

Whilst the quantity may seem insignificant, I assure you the experience was rich: replete with adventure ... and disappointment.

I read some books slowly but deliberately ... savoring the tactile pleasure of turning the pages, inhaling the scent of ink, paper and creativity ... letting the bedside lamp bathe me in warm light and the stories become a reassuring balm to a spirit that has been challenged, wounded and oft times, broken.

I lost myself in the lives of the characters.

I found myself in the turn of a phrase.

Stories that challenged the reader to slow down and let each paragraph melt into their psyche with a sensual, erotic fluidity that only the best of wordsmiths can construct.

Other books were read in a feverish pace, turning page after page ... just to finish a chapter ... just to finish a sentence.

It was almost painful to continue to allow my mind to dance within the halls of these books ... because it was not a sweet waltz or a gentle two-step. No, these stories were written for the shock value: to confront the reader and stir darkness, perhaps fear. My mind was forced into a staccato beat ... lured to turn the page and disappointed with the result: the dance lacked passion because the author forced lust.

I found myself wondering who the people are that write the hardcover book jacket reviews and quotations.

I found myself wondering what kind of drugs they must take to find value in words that swirl around the page like a cesspool: a cistern filled with violence and hate so foreboding that the characters are no longer integral to the book but instead dead to the reader. The only thing alive is the sheer astonishment that the writing was ever published.

Words flew off the pages like jagged pieces of glass. Each shard of the story growing more and more disconnected.

Yes, I read each book, each page. Why?

Because they were there.

And because of hope. Perhaps trust.

I want to believe that the pages of a book, when turned, will open my mind, exercise my spirit, and allow me to dream.

That is the hope.

I want to believe that when a reviewer says that a book is "ground breaking" or "a spellbinding read" ... I too, can find that experience within the author's words.

That is the trust.

So, now ... for the Fall, I have decided to revisit The Classics.

Books that I knew in high school and college, often only through the CliffsNotes.

No shortcuts for me now.

I plan to take each word, place it softly in my mouth and breathe in the life their power holds ... like a wine across the lips of a sommelier.

Yes, Fall holds promise for me.



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