Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Weekend in Redding, California

The first multi-day stop on our Western US Road Trip brought us to sunny, hot Redding, California. Or "almost Oregon" as I call it. Redding is not on most people's list of top travel destinations, but for us it is a must-do adventure. You see, we have family there. Fantastic family. And friends, too. But you can have fun in Redding, even if you don't have family there.

The Highlights

1. Fishing at Whiskey Town National Recreation Area

2. Watching kids play soccer

3. Wading up Cow Creek

4. Visiting the Sundial Bridge

5. Jumping at Rare Air Trampoline Park

Plus, we celebrated our nephew's 9th birthday at a Mexican restaurant, complete with a rendition of Happy Birthday sung while the the birthday boy doned a velvet sombrero.








Monday, April 20, 2015

The Art of Travel

One of the joys of having 24 hours of day to do as I please is choosing to actually spend time doing the things I love. Like making art. I have been drawing, painting and otherwise crafting nearly my entire life. My parents enrolled me in after school art classes in elementary school and I took art as an elective class throughout junior high and high school. I even earned a 5 out of 6 on the International Baccalaurette Art exam (not quite perfect, but good enough!). And I will never forget the junior college art teacher who told me that I should pursue my line art in a Fine Arts program at a respected Unviersity.

Of course, I was much too sensible to go to art school. Instead I got my BA in Environmental Studies, after relizing that my initial major (Architecture) was not for me. It makes sense. I love nature and I don't want us humans to ruin it.

But I also love draw. Not surprisingly, I have drawn and painted a lot of nature landscapes and animals over the years.

And now, with all my extra free time, I have created a regular practice of drawing. For the last month, I have completed at least one drawing nearly every day. And in doing so, I have cultivated a sense of peace and satisfaction within my self. As luck would have it, my artwork is also bringing smiles to the faces of people I care about.

My "daily critters", as one friend calls them, are a happy tree in the sometimes-dark and hostile forest of social media. And they exist not just digitally, but on crisp white paper and inky black relief.

If you are wondering how you can get one of these little works of art for yourself, you'll have to wait awhile longer for the universe to share its answer. The devil is in the details and frankly I much prefer drawing to figuring out how to sell my art. But I did take one leap forward into the technological age of art. I put down my inky pen just long enough to digitally remaster two of my favorite drawings as t-shirt designs!

The moral of the story here is that having more time, means doing more of what you love, which opens up the possibility of sharing your passions and talents with others. And if the stars align in my favor, it might even lead to more time and funds for travel and doing all the things I love. A virtuous cycle indeed!


Friday, April 10, 2015

My kind of double-header

Today was a double-header and not of the baseball variety. One of the best things about being back in Seattle is knowing where to go to get my art fix.

First up today? Bellevue Art Museum. They have an exquisite exhibit of Madeleine Albright's pins. For those who don't already know, Madeleine Albright was the US' first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001). And she loved to wear pins and broches. In fact, she used them to communicate her intentions, disposition and feelings in diplomatic and political arenas. She wore pins with bees when she was feeling fiesty, angels and butterflies when she wanted to communicate hope, and lions when it was a time for courage.

In addition to adorning herself with animal pins, she also wore flowers, American flags and even a pin symbolizing the shattering of the glass ceiling. Suffice to say Madeline Albright is one of my heros and getting to see a smattering of her pin collection today was inspiring. Beyond the hidden (or not so hidden) messages in her selections, many of Madeleine Albright's pins are also impressive works of art. Like the 3-inch mosquito pin with moving parts, the articulated jaguar which she wore draped across her shoulder and the red modern-looking fox brooch.

Act two of my arts double-header today was a circus show put on by the talented IMPulse Collective. Through the telling of a story about the forgotten figments of our imagination, embodied in the imaginary friends that have been abandoned by their creators, the audience got to experience the joy of adults at play. The performers are all staff at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) and the show included impressive juggling scenes, dramatic aerial silks and rope performances, contornism, a graceful dance routine with a huge metal hula hoop, among other hard-to-master routines.

The show's message about play, friendship and imagination hit home for me. I fondly recalled the aerial arts classes Josh and I took prior to our world travels and how I delighted in seeing what new tricks my body could do. Getting stronger and more fit had a purpose and that purpose was to play and enjoy life.

As Josh and I prepare to hit the road again, this time on a tour of national parks and beautiful places in America's Southwest, I am doubling down on my commitment to have fun and enjoy life. Be it by learning about the unconventional ways art can help us communicate with others, drawing animals in my various sketchbooks or playing outside like a little kid, I intend to seek happiness and enjoyment everyday.

I hope you will continue to join us on our journey to discover and follow our passions. And I hope you'll share your own adventures in finding happiness in the comments section of this blog, on Facebook or by emailing us.