Samyak Yamauchi, "The Strong One", 26" x 22" framed, $800 @ RiverSea Gallery
I hardly ever paint men. They just don't emerge as freely from my layers and marks as females do. I've been thinking about why that is. I guess it's because I'm a woman, so that's the story I paint.
Like every woman I know, I've had my share of mistreatment and disrespect by males. From childhood through adulthood those men, unconsciously merged with the collective false myth of the male, have said and done really stupid and inappropriate things. When I do paint a male, he's usually paired with a dog, because there's nothing like a good dog to teach you how to be a good human.
I paint mostly women and girls. I paint women and girls who are fierce and funny, strong and smart, and connected to themselves and to others. That's some of what will help move us out of this Bizarro World and into a world that is respectful and sustainable.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to be a woman or man of integrity in this world right now, and I have deep respect for those who are willing to stand up for what is right and for who they are.
This is how we started. Bold, intense, colorful, liberating. It was love at first sight.
Then she started to change. She started getting a little fancy, but I liked it - although she was starting to lose boldness and abstract interest to which I was so attracted. I liked her blue a lot.
So I added more blue. Nice blue, but now the whole picture wasn't not knocking my socks off anymore, and I could tell she wasn't as happy.
We decided to shake things up big time. She had a story about the river she wanted to tell. While I loved what she had to say, I didn't like how she was saying it, so I started making her messy. I realized by forcing my idea on her, she had become far too literal. In my eyes, she lost her mystery. In her view, she had lost her power. It made me feel sad that I had gone too far.
This is how we left it when I left the beach house. When I get back to the beach, I will reassess where we stand and go from there. I'm disappointed about losing what I thought I saw, but know that going forward, something new and even better will be created. Mantras to remember:
This is the process.
Go with the flow, not against it.
Lose my mind to love the world.
Today's the day,
The longest day of the year!
More light to see
what's inside of me
let go of my mind and pray
for joy, grounding and play.
A bucket of water, the beat of the drum,
my heart, my friends,
Waiting, 31" x 31" @ RiverSea Gallery
I wait for the sun to come up.
I wait for the alarm to go off.
I wait for Dash, the adorable dog, to do his morning business.
I wait for an end to my chores and errands, and then -
I paint and I wait for the paint to dry, and then I paint and wait for the paint to dry.
over and over I paint and wait,
and while I wait, I take Dash for a walk
or find a snack.
I sit in the sun or watch the rain or check my phone for nothing important,
and I paint, and I wait for the paint to dry
until my body clock says it's 5:00, and the painting stops for the day.
I eat some dinner. I look at a screen or read a book or play with Dash.
I go to bed, and
I can't wait to wake up and do it all again.
Dash is my joy-is-zen sensai. He teaches me how to sit and relax my mind. He keeps me in the present moment of tug and tag. He reminds me to use all my senses. He makes me get out of the studio to go for walks and talk to strangers. He shows me that food is a miracle. He shows me that black and white is everything.
One year ago my color palette shifted. It went from bright color to subdued blues, grays and pinks with contrasting black and white. This past fall I noticed a brighter blue was showing up, along with some pinks and yellows. One day a couple of weeks ago, guava pink and mango yellow appeared, and pacific blue became more prominent.
In 2017, the intensity of the political climate, the natural disasters, the mass shootings - the whole shadow-side of the world slapping was me in the face every day. A subdued palette was calming to me. When I first started painting, I was going through a challenging spiritual awakening. Back then, the shadow-side of my inside world was slapping me in the face and my paintings were all black, white, gray and blue. One day I reached for the three primary colors, then I spent three years taking color as far as I was brave enough to take it. Last December the color just disappeared. Now, it's back. In fact, I go to sleep and wake up thinking about color lately.
I'm just starting to know better who I am as an artist - the key phrase is "just starting". One thing I'm certain of is that I like color. I like figuring out how color works, how colors speak to each other and to the people who are looking at them. I'm starting to understand how color speaks in its own language, one that doesn't need imagery. This is why I am starting to explore painting non-representional abstracts to let the color tell the story. My word for 2018 might be COLOR.
"Color is a power which directly influences the soul." - Wassily Kandinsky
Follow me on INSTAGRAM @ samyakyamauchi to see my colors.
I painted this picture last Saturday. I didn't appreciate it until I asked "What's she looking at?" I realized she was seeing the end of the world. It got me thinking about how the world ends for people.
Then, two days ago I found out about the horrible incident in Las Vegas.
Today I went for a walk. The sun is shining, the trees are starting to show their fall colors and children are having gym class on the grass.
I can't wrap my mind around Life. My mind is too small.
The Cosmic Kiss 10-3-17
The world ended today.
It ended the day before yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
It ended every day since it began.
It ended with explosions and fires,
hurricane winds and rising waters,
with splitting earth and buildings crashing down.
It ended with a horrific burst of gunfire and blood and screams
of bewilderment and confusion.
It ended with illness and tears
and sometimes it ended with the peace in the silence
after each very last breath.
Once, it ended when the dream-spell broke open into jagged pieces that dissolved into the air.
Then what had been seen became invisible,
and what had been invisible was all that could be seen,
and the end became the beginning again.
These are the sisters, Phoebe and Jo. They are seven and a half and ten years old, respectively.
Jo's full name is Joan (after Joan of Arc) and Phoebe's name mean's "the shining one".
I've set off with them on a late summer journey to have adventures in far off imagined worlds, where their sibling love and resiliency is demonstrated.
In my own family of origin, I was the youngest of four children. My brothers were 7 and 15 years older than me and my sister was 13 years older than me. I always wanted a sister close to my age who would be my best friend and partner in playful adventures. Painting this little series is giving me the opportunity to have some sisterly fun doing what I enjoy the most.
I've been working on 15 x 15 pieces for my own enjoyment, but as one of six PDX-CSA (Portland Supported Art) artists this season, I have proposed to make a series of smaller mixed media paintings depicting their adventures in images with text. The PDX-CSA works like a farm CSA - you purchase art by the deadline of Sept 17th and receive the completed art in early December. If you would like to be part of this journey with me, please see details about how the PDX-CSA works - check out www.pdx-csa.com/
I'm paired up with artist Maude May whose mixed media collages explore the theme of what makes a home, a home. If you purchase our pairing, you get a 10% discount.
P.S. You can come meet me and the other PDX-CSA artist on Wednesday, September 6th from 6:00 - 8:00 at the "MEET THE ARTISTS " event being held at 1522 N. Humbolt St. 97217.
P.P.S. The top three paintings are now available through www.guardinogallery.com/Guardino Gallery in Portland.
Last winter, while in a contemplative state, I heard a quiet, small voice say to me, "Soft, like a kitten." As I thought about it more and more, I started thinking about how cats are so chill and at the same time so able to spring into action. I let the phrase sink deep into my being.
One night I shared this thought with my son who then told me that his partner's greatest wish was that she could be a cat. I decided then to make seventeen paintings of Girls Who Want To Be Cats, and the CatGirls were born!
As I've painted them and written their stories, I've come to know the CatGirls as smart, ferocious, compassionate, and creative. They remind me of the strength and power of girls, the wisdom of animals and how "soft, like a kitten" is my true nature.
My "CatGirls" will be showing until August 24 at SideStreet Gallery in Portland. I will have a book of them and their stories available in my studio during Portland Open Studios in October.
Ha ha, it just struck me how this image reminds me of the Michelangelo painting "The Creation of Adam". It's a crop of one of the paintings I'm working on currently. I'm writing about it because a cool thing happened with it today.
I was painting on it as a demo for Portland Open Studios today. While I was painting, a little girl came up to talk to me. I found out that she was four years old (almost five!) and has some water colors, which was really just a ruse to talk about her Calico Critters and then she said, "There's hands in the painting." I told her I was thinking of painting over them, but what did she think about that? She said I should keep them, so I did. I showed her how I saw a hand on the left side of the painting too, and I traced around it. She said, "It could be like they are pulling on a rope." So I painted a pink line between them, but then I painted over it with blue and drew the zigzag line with the end of my paintbrush. "How did you draw with that?" she asked. I showed her how the end of the brush just scraped through the wet paint to leave the color underneath. I could see her mentally filing that idea away for the future.
We talked about the structures on the bottom of the painting that you can't see in this cropped image. She said they looked like castles in water, and that castles have drawbridges, so I attached a drawbridge to it.
We talked about her birthday, her favorite dress, and then she told me about her ugly paintings. She told me how she had painted her mom really little and herself really big, and how it was just VERY ugly. I told her, I paint ugly paintings too sometimes, and when I do, I paint over them and start again. At which point her Mom said, "Did you hear what Sam just said? So instead of tearing up your paper, you could just paint over it and start again."
The point of all this is that inspiration comes when you least expect it, like when a four year old says something that makes me scratch a line in a painting and then the painting ends up reminding me of God and creation. Or a little bitty artist person hears that every big artist person makes ugly paintings sometimes too, and the ugly painting doesn't have to freak you out.
Someday, after I have made this painting as good as I can get it to be, I'll put it in a show and dedicate it to this wonderful little girl, and every time I see it, I will remember what a cool little person she is and what she brought to my art on this day.
Painting in Portland, Oregon, and writing about it here...