My blog last month was all happy, celebrating our new pup, Jake.
Today I'm writing with great sadness, because Jake died on Sept 2. He had an anaphylaxis reaction, probably to bee venom, that led to liver failure. He tried valiantly for two and a half days in the ICU to recover, but finally let us know that he couldn't do it anymore. He used his last ounce of energy to pull himself from his tiny gurney onto my lap, then onto Chuck's lap and back onto mine, where he died peacefully all snuggled up. He was only 7 months old and our hearts are broken.
The moment I saw his photo from the pet rescue site, I knew he was my puppy and that his name was supposed to be "Jake". I mean, for god's sake - look at him!
He liked to snuggle next to Dash, and on my lap.
He liked the view from this spot in my studio.
He liked to play, eat, explore, and put things in his mouth. I made silly art from the little things I took out of his mouth. He made art from paper he found in my studio...while Dash cheered him on.
Dash loved him and now there is a sad hole in our household.
There's a lifetime of things we didn't get to do with him, and I will remember every minute I got to spend with him. He was a tiny sweet bundle of love. I'm making a tiny gallery space in my studio, and my art space will now be called "The Land Of Lost and Found Dogs" in honor of this precious little pup. I love you and miss you, Jake!
I painted this painting in 2019. At the time it appeared to be a painting of Dash and my son's dog, Coya. But now.....
Clearly that painting was a message of things to come... This is our new puppy, Jake. He is a six month old rescue from Texas. He arrived on June 4th and I am in puppy love with him.
Jake and Dash became good buddies after only two days of getting to know each other. Super dog-cuteness reigns! During times of pandemic and election anxiety, there is nothing more comforting to me than two really good dogs.
Time out of time.
I'm staying home in relative comfort, for which I am grateful. My heart goes out to all the people who are suffering during this time. I hold everyone in my heart and send out prayers to all beings for happiness, peace and freedom.
I'm reflecting on the what, how's and why's of making art now and in the days to come when our lives will be able to open up again. In my down moments, I can't see how that will ever happen. In my optimistic moments, I look forward to seeing what kinds of lessons and changes we, as a global community, will be making to create the next world. In my down moments I'm sad that we aren't learning a thing - we go back to "normal" and humanity rides a fast train to doom. In my optimistic moments, I can see the beginning of a beautiful new world.
I'm still making art because we have to keep the portal to the imaginal realm of creation open, so the problems that need solving can be found. I'm still making art because we need to see the creation of art as a agent of change. I'm still making art because we need comfort and joy. I'm still making art because this is what Love leads me to do, because Love, as art, can hold all of what's happening so we don't have to do it alone.
Right now, my art looks like colorful books made of tempera paint, fanciful stories of dangers and dreams. My art looks like small zines of life in Corona times as experienced through the perspective of Dash the Adorable Dog. My art looks like messy paper, words printed in pencil and oil pastels and sloppy stitchery.
I'm learning what Now is by living the same day over and over, noticing the very small things that make Now constantly changing.
I have my house, my husband and Dash. I have technology that allows me to stay connected with my family and friends. I have all of time, out of time - to watch Life, to make art, to see Love holding "what is" with great compassion and wisdom, and to just wait.
May you be happy. May you be at peace. May you be free.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to complete a 30-Day Yoga program. This morning while I was in downward dog, I noticed this painting behind me. It's called "Family", and it made me think of all the people I know.
Afterwards when I was flipping through Instagram I was struck by how many artists I know now. A lot of artists I just know through seeing their art on social media, but I've also met a lot of them in person. I've connected with so many artists who are not just good artists, but also just really good people. My heart is touched today by so many good people making art and putting it out into the world for others to see and enjoy.
So thank you, good artist people, for keeping on when the world is scary. I appreciate being a part of this community of artists, and I just wanted to say "Thank You" today for what you do and who you are. Thank you!
Way back in March I wrote a blog in which I asked "What if I let Love paint Love?" Since then I have learned that I don't "let" it happen - Love will paint Love, and sometimes it looks like the painting above.
I've finally come to understand with clarity how my painting process works. It is very simply Love painting Love, or even more succinctly, it's Love loving Love. Love loves these paintings into being.
I recently learned a new term - "don't know mind". It's the open mind/open heart of not knowing what will happen. It's how I've always approached painting. I never know what will happen until it happens, and then things, like the Little above, happen. I love this little painting so much because of how much wisdom and love she holds and is sharing.
I've realized that all my paintings are offerings to, for and from Love. Today I'm sharing this realization and the beginning of this series of small, affordable paintings. In February I'll have a studio celebration when I'll share them with the public - a LOVE fest!
I spent the other evening cutting up old starts that I had previously torn up to use in possible mixed media collage pieces. Using my handy dandy paper cutter, I made a delightful mess of papers. Cut, cut,cutting until my neck and body ached from sitting on the cement floor and looking down on the paper cutter for hours.
My plan is to make a bunch of little paintings, combining figurative, abstract elements and words. I'm painting these, sans paintbrush, using just my hands, paper towels and a chopstick by working on top of the pre-painted surfaces of the cut papers. Here's an example...
I'm super good with coming up with ideas, not always so good about following through, so we'll see what happens next.
Two days ago my soon to be twelve year old grandson came up to me, face to face, put his hand in a horizontal salute at the top of his head and touched mine. He said, “Grandma I’m almost as tall as you.”
Almost every time I see my grandkids, one of them will do and say this to me. Being of Japanese ancestry and having taught kindergarten and first grade, kids did this to me all the time. In addition, I am a mother and a grandmother, so that's forty two years of having my shortness pointed out to me by children shorter than me. Forty two years!
Of course it runs in my family. My sister was an inch shorter than me. If I stand really tall I can round up to 5'1", which is two inches taller than my mom was. My daughter is two inches taller than me. When one of my aunts was in her 90’s, she had to stand on a box to reach the microphone on the podium to deliver her delightful words at my dad’s funeral.
I’ve been watching the tops of my grandkids' heads rise steadily up over these past twelve years. Their hand salutes are getting closer and closer to the top of my head. My "little" granddaughter is twelve now and tall enough that we have to stand back to back our compare heights, and a third party has to make the decision of who is taller. When I see her in a few weeks, I'm pretty sure the call will be in her favor. Soon, she'll be able to call me "her little grandma". How did this happen so fast? It seems like it was just the other day that I was bending over or lifting my grandkids up to plant a kiss on their heads. Now they're looking me in the face and patting the top of my head.
I saw my own children grow up into adulthood. I watched them bend over their elderly grandma and lovingly kiss the top of her head when they saw her alive for the last time. Now I see time flash forward to a future where I live a very long time... I see my grandkids, all grown up, bending down to kiss my head as I grow older and older, until one day, I leave my body to disperse back into the Everything. One day they will find themselves wrapped up in the infinite hug of the Universe, and they will hear their little grandma’s voice say, "Didn’t you know? You've always been this big."
(This blog has also been published in Fred Swan's September Edition of Second Tuesday. Please check out Fred's wonderful collection of articles and thoughts about living and aging.)
What if I let LOVE Paint LOVE? (Wait, is that what I've already been doing, but I didn't have the awareness, understanding or words to say it before?)
What if I painted something completely different?
What would that look like?
What does Love Painting Love look like?
I'm making some big changes in the studio this year. I'm moving out work tables that I had built years ago to accomodate the mosaic work I used to do before I started painting. They've been very useful since I started painting, but I woke up the other morning knowing it was time to move them out. They'll be on their way to the Rebuilding Center soon. I'm in the process of opening up my studio space to make it more conducive to Paint With Me sessions. It's so fun to me - I love to move things around.
This year I'll be doing more Paint With Me workshops, this year two-day sessions to allow more time to honor the intuitive painting process and community building. I'll be posting the dates for the workshops on my website very soon. I already have nine people on my waitlist for the upcoming workshops, so it seems like the right thing to do at this time.
I'm very excited to announce that I'll also be starting a new collaboration with Val Heart, LCSW Intuitive Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Reiki Master. We will be offering weekend retreats with meditation, reiki, intutive painting and more. Details to be posted soon. If you are interested in finding out about these retreats, please let me know, and we'll make sure you get notified as we set them up. Or check out my website and sign-up for my newsletter and get monthly updates.
I'm super-inspired at the moment - you may be able to feel it through the vibe-waves!
All the best,
Art Life 2018:
I look at all this and think "Wow! That's a lot of good stuff. Did I really work that hard?"
One of the things that really came together in my art life this year is understanding how
doing and not-doing work together, and how to trust that whatever my art and I need will come to us (or we will come to what we need).
The six paintings above are a few of my favorites from the year. These are still available, either in my studio or at RiverSea Gallery. Contact me or the gallery if you'd like a closer look or to purchase.
I'm looking forward to the next year of art-making and all the things that come along with that. We'll see what happens...
What are you looking for to happen next year?
FB @Samyak Yamauchi Art
Painting in Portland, Oregon, and writing about it here...