Top: carved railing at Snoqualmie Falls Park, New Year’s Day
Middle: from the 2010 PAH Calendar show in Philly last month
Below: Wes and Steve at Snoqualmie Falls Park

We went to hear the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night: Beethoven’s 9th. We put on our best clothes and took the train right to Benaroya Hall. Our seats were located in the highest balcony, on the very far left, practically OVER the musicians. It allowed us to see things others in the audience might have missed.

It really was a beautiful thing watching these musician perform. Each one played such different roles and parts to make up the whole… some had only a few minutes of play time the entire hour-long piece, and waited patiently until their turns (drums, piccolo); some were continuously busy the entire time (violins, cellos); some had bursts of activity and then spent the down time fussing with their instruments (horns). Different parts, different personalities, made up the beautiful whole… a metaphor for life, no?

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“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.”
— Winston S. Churchill, from Painting as a Pastime

One of my “hobbies” is to go to the public library, pick out a stack of books that look interesting to me, and take them home. Often they are books about artists, art history, the creative process, etc. I usually have a foot-high stack next to my bed.

Here are some books from the past week, from the fabulous Seattle Library system:

Jackson Pollock: “Psychoanalytic” Drawings, by Claude Cernuschi, Duke University Press, 1992. I loved looking at these drawings that Pollock submitted to his therapist in the late 30s… strong Picasso and Miro influence.

Sketchbook, Carl Morris, 1985. a collection of end-of-day sketches from a visit to NYC in 1980… loved them. From the introductions: “These drawings were not meant to record events or to try out ideas for future paintings but were done simply for the personal satisfaction of drawing.”

Play Pen: New Children’s Book Illustration, by Madin Salisbury. Contemporary children’s book artists I want  from this book that I want to look up: Alexis Deacon, Meng-Chia Lai, Elena Odrioola, Kveta Pacovska, Shaun Tan, Morteza Zahedi, Harriet Russell, Charles Adams, Neal Layton.

Les Bravades: A Gift for His Daughter by Orson Welles. Wonderful lively sketches from life.

Return to Painting, by Gao Xingjian. Still reading, but here are a few things from his essay that caught my attention:

“No artist has ever saved the world; self-fulfillment is the best an artist can ope for.”

“Art is not a tool of protest.”

“His [the artist’s] creations are nothing more than expressions of his own sensations, his imagination and aking dreams, narcissism and masochism, insatiable desires and particular preoccupations.”

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Overheard in Tully’s in West Seattle: “There’s a lot to know about cheese… how to cut the cheese….”