2 More Weeks!

art, creativity, photography, Seattle, work

I’ve had a collection of work up at Fresh Flours Bakery on Phinney Ridge focusing on abstract and travel photography. They’re up through the end of this month, so if you haven’t already, grab a cuppa something and a tasty pastry (Trust me. They’re great pastries), and have a look. Contact me if you’re interested in any pieces or have any questions!

Recent abstracts up and hanging:

Abstracts2

(L to R): Waterfall at Dusk, Spine 2, Rising Song

Telling Stories

anxiety, art, creativity, Learning/Education, mental health, Motivation, photography, process, therapy, work

I woke up the other morning and felt a nudge to get myself to the kitchen table and start doing something – anything. I didn’t quite make it. I scrolled through Facebook for longer than I wanted, and then I made it to the kitchen. I put the kettle on the stove to get the coffee process started and then pulled out my notebook and pencil.

I stared at ruled pages and had nothing to write.

Last night before bed and after watching episode-after-episode of the 9th season of The Office, I peered over my husband’s shoulder and saw a book on henna art that had been sitting on a shelf of our sideboard for I don’t know how long. In fact, I had forgotten we had that book. We probably bought it thinking that it would inspire us one day, in some way. Lo, and behold, this morning, it did just that.

The last few months has brought on a tidal wave of activity and non-activity. I started and completed the 8 Weeks to Badass Coaching Program guided via videos and audio by Jen Sincero. I am happy to say that I achieved my goal within the 8 weeks. My goal was to get my photography shown at a local coffee shop. By week 3 I was able to secure a location and will be hanging my work up next month. There is still much work to be done before I hang my work up, but I’m set for this one goal.

Since then, I’ve been working on my online image and social media activity. I even have a friend working on my brand. It sounds artsy fartsy and hoity toity, but I was struggling to do it myself. I bit the bullet and hired my friend to come up with ideas and we’re getting close to something I think I’ll really love that will speak to my personality and style.

With all this in the works, it’s been a challenge for me to produce more work. I find myself to be creative in a general sense. I don’t think I’m all that profound or very original, but I do think I see things differently from others, and have an aesthetic people can appreciate. What I’ve come to realize is that my creativity comes in waves. For someone who can be really impatient with herself, it is hard for me to accept this reality.  I’m probably more likely to come up with work I really like on a quarterly basis than daily or weekly. But it is amazing how I think I need to produce something spectacular every time I pick up a camera. My brain says this is silly and unrealistic. Of course I’m not going to produce something amazing every single time. The monkey on my back, on the other hand, likes to piss me off and judge me, asking things like “Why can’t you be like [name famous artist here]?”  So I’ve been carrying this silly monkey on my back for a long time. I couldn’t name it. I couldn’t explain what it was. I just knew it was on my back and I didn’t know how to shake him off. Or even bribe it off. What I found out this morning was that the monkey on my back was questioning my creative process. “Why do you do what you do? Why aren’t you more prolific or active? Why is it so hard to be around other people? What are you afraid of?” I did not have an answer. So instead, I started to read.

Back to that book on henna. Henna. It’s pretty. I remember getting a henna design on my hand when my good friend was getting ready to marry. It was the one part of the week-long celebration I was most looking forward to. It was the only time I had done it. I flipped through the book and thought I’d go straight to looking at the designs, thought “I wonder how the paste was made? Then, I thought I should read about how henna became what it is. Where did it come from? Why is it used the way it is? I read about animals eating the plant that henna comes from which made their mouths look bloody. The shepherds who tended to them freaked out, thinking their animals were bleeding from the mouth. But after removing the plant from their mouths, they realized the red stained their hands like a pigment. It wasn’t blood. I read about how henna markings were used for celebrations and how it spread from country to country by the migration path of birds. Henna has a history. It has an origin. There is is a story behind it.

It’s easy for some to set a schedule, write down a plan, and do that plan. To take a walk everyday might be easy for some, but for others it is not. I get so much advice about going for walks and taking pictures. About meeting up with people to get creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, for me, these activities can cause me to freeze up. How can it be that trying to do the one thing I’m fairly good at can cause anxiety in me?

I think I found part of the answer to my question when I stopped to read this henna book. I want photography to be more than pretty images. I want it to speak to me. I want it to tell me a story. What I have found is that art tends to be more provocative and of greater substance when it comes from a place of meaning. Art is powerful when there is a story to tell. Simple quick snaps of my food might have some meaning and will cause pleasure for some to see. They’ll respond that it looks delicious or makes them hungry. But the meaning pretty much stops there. Now, think about a photo taken of a table filled with dishes left behind by a family in an empty restaurant. Where did that family go? Was it a family? Who is going to clean that up? Why didn’t they eat the bread rolls? Why are we only seeing one table? Why isn’t anyone else in the frame? Why is this a picture of an empty table of plates?

For me, photos have a greater impact when they can tell a story. I forgot that. It’s probably the one thing that people will tell you. That photos tell a story. That they’re worth a thousand words. But I forgot that. It isn’t always just about being aesthetically pleasing. It’s about telling a story. Not just any story, but a story that I can care about. A story that speaks to me that I really want to share with other people. I know it won’t be something everyone cares about, but that’s not the point, nor do I want it to be. The point is having a connection with a subject or situation, and how I can interpret the image I see to be able to tell a story. And the more I can connect with those instances and be authentic about my story the better.

My last blog entry about my nieces is an example of this very finding. I didn’t intend to write about my nieces. I knew when I took their pictures that I wanted the same vantage point, but that’s about it. I didn’t think much about how to process them. I hadn’t thought about how I had actually spent time with each of them. I hadn’t thought about how they inspired me enough to write about them. But each photo of their little faces did something to me, and the memories I had of them flooded back, so I wrote those down. I had to tell a story. So I did.

That is the photography I want to do. I know I won’t please everyone. I just want to be okay with my work and feel good about the work I do. I want to have greater intention when taking photos. I want to slow down. I want to understand the meanings behind the moments behind my camera. I want to use my camera as a means to meditate and connect. I want to tell stories.

Marivic’s Community Giving and Humanity Bettering Christmas List

Community, culture, family, friends, fundraising, giving, Health, Home, homelessness, life, Loss, Love, mental health, nature, photography, Seattle, work

sasquatch-n-meI was thinking about things I’d like for Christmas, even though I couldn’t possibly ask anyone to get me anything because I honestly don’t need anything that I don’t already have some version of.  But what I think might be more helpful is if we spend our money and time helping each other.

Below are places that could use your help.  The first thing listed being the most important.  Please keep in mind that this is my own personal list and it’s only a few of the MANY things I care about.  Other than the Philippine Red Cross, I have had direct involvement with the other organizations listed here and feel comfortable listing them.  I may add more as the days go by and I remember  things that aren’t coming to mind right now.

Philippine Red Cross
By now I hope you all know about Typhoon Haiyan and how it has devastated the Philippines.  Thousands upon thousands are without homes, food, medical attention.  People have lost not just possession, but loved ones.  It’s incredibly heartbreaking.  Please help or donate as much as you can.

Philippine Red Cross:
http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate

More information:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/09/world/iyw-how-to-help-typhoon-haiyan/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Photo Coverage:
http://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/weather/typhoon-haiyan-batters-philippines-53497768

Seattle Children’s Hospital
The staff at Seattle Children’s are incredibly hard-working people.  I know because I used to work there and many of them are some of my closest friends.  They are dedicated to the mission of providing uncompensated care to children who need special medical help.  Their research teams are doing their best to work toward eliminating pediatric illness.  They are a nonprofit hospital and rely on donations, grants, and government funds.  But we cannot underestimate individual giving.  Please consider doing that.

Ways to help:
http://www.seattlechildrens.org/ways-to-help/

Seven Star Women’s Kung Fu
I can’t tell you how much this place rocks!  I just finished my beginner’s cycle and am learning all kinds of awesome things.  But most importantly, it’s a wonderful community focused on women’s well-being by strengthening your sense of self through self dense and kajukenbo kung fu.  They run on the power of a steering committee and the volunteer time of their students.  But like all nonprofit organizations, they can always accept more to better the facility and provide equipment.  Please consider supporting a school that empowers women!

Your support goes to kick-ass women!
http://sevenstarwomenskungfu.org/dnn/

More about Seven Star:
http://www.sevenstarwomenskungfu.org/dnn/AboutUs/OurSchool/tabid/76/Default.aspx

White Center Food Bank
My friend manages the garden here.  It’s amazing.  I did not spend my childhood growing things or planting things on a regular basis.  I helped out for a couple of weeks here with the garden, doing some watering and harvesting some food.  The food I picked went directly onto a distribution table that qualifying families could then pick up and take home.  Seeing that was incredible.

They can always use help:
http://www.whitecenterfoodbank.org/Donate.asp

More about White Center Food Bank:
http://www.whitecenterfoodbank.org/About.asp

Power 2 Give Puget Sound
I’ll be damned if I live my life without art.  In whatever form it comes.  I want access to programs and the space to have art, appreciate it, and share it.  This site is specifically for organizations in the Puget Sound region.  See what projects need help.  As a bonus, corporate support is matching $1 for $1 !

Keep the arts alive:
http://power2give.org/PugetSound/projects

More about ArtsFund, who is making this possible through Power 2 Give:
http://artsfund.org/

Other states with projects to sponsor through Power 2 Give (note, they may not have matching like some of the Puget Sound projects do):
http://www.power2give.org/

Support the Samarya Center
Nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to the practice of yoga for well body, well mind.  I’ve taken classes here and every one of them was a refreshing experience and mind-calming experience.   It’s not just about bending your body.  It’s also about being mindful about your actions.

Help them re-locate and support their transformation:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-samarya-center-matters-please-support-our-transformation

Visit their website for more about what they do:
http://www.samaryacenter.org/

The exploration of identity

art, creativity, movie, photography, therapy, work

Last night I met up with some friends from school to watch the film Blancanieves by Pablo Berger. The flicker from the reel above us was calming and meditative. The film itself was silent, but accompanied by flamenco music. It paced to the rhythm of alternating hand-clapping and the strum of acoustic guitars that brought to life every wink and smile, twisting wrists and tapping feet.

Entirely in black and white, as photographers we paid attention to the detail in tonal quality and luminescence. It was visually scrumptious. Extreme close ups, long shots, quick cuts, and noir angles made it a treat to watch. Elements of surrealism were used sparingly, but in a fitting manner.

I’ve been out of touch with creativity as of late. The 40-hour work week has taken precedence, but I’m starting to feel a kind of drain to my unique existence. One friend asked if I had added any pieces to the one collage piece I made from our last final together. I remember thinking it’d be interesting to create a series that spoke in the same vein as that piece. So, this morning, I brought out some spare prints, scissors, charcoal, and tape and played. I can’t seem to break away from my photograph that imitates Lee Miller’s “Nude Bent Over, c. 1930“. Something about surrealism speaks to me. I think it’s because it seems that surrealists are trying to tell a story, a lot of the times about themselves, and put it all down on one page/canvas/negative. I’m attracted to piecing together a narrative of sorts, and the exploration of identity.

Without further ado, here is the beginning of a second piece. It’ll sit on my floor until it becomes what it needs to become.

20130413-151949.jpg

Title: TBD
Mixed media
2013
(c) Marivic Pinedo

The End of Midday Screen Time

family, photography, television, work

For the past year and a half, I’ve been taking photography courses and working part time. But starting Monday, I will be back in the swing of full time work (unrelated to photography). This means my days of sitting on the sofa or at my computer blogging, editing, and watching hours upon hours of shows, movies, videos via Netflix, Hulu Plus, my DVD collection, and YouTube are over. So, I’ve decided to make a Kodak moment of this time in my life, for I will probably never do it again.

Midday Screen Time

A typical lunch would be Ichiban ramen. I added bok choy to this batch and was watching “Save The Last Dance” with Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas. It isn’t one of my go-to movies, and after a few years of having not seen it, I was reminded of how important it is to face diversity head-on, take a chance on yourself, beat the odds, open your heart, and fight for a life worth fighting for. (Yes. I got all of those messages from this one MTV movie).

During this time I’ve learned that I can handle photography as a hobby, and not much more than that. That making art is a lifestyle I wanted to flow in and out of, and not necessarily live and breathe. I recognize that I have too many inhibitions. But that’s okay to me. At least I know this.

But I haven’t given up on myself. Far from it, I think I’ve gotten a clearer understanding of what I want from life. My dreams are not what I thought they were. I think I’ve romanticized a lot of them. It’s as if I took on a life I should’ve started in my 20s, but did it in my 30s and realized I don’t have the energy or drive like I would have back then. And, most importantly, my life isn’t just my own. I share it with another person, and my goals have become our goals in the best sense of the idea.

So, I say goodbye to midday screen time. It was a wonderful run. Full of laughter, tears, excitement, and joy. Goodbye to good company. Namely, the Crawley’s of Downton Abbey, Shawn and Gus and their psychic investigations, the women of the Joy Luck Club, the chauvinistic men of Mad Men, and more. I could not have gotten through this period of my life without them.

The power of community

friends, fundraising, giving, life, work

This past weekend, I received an e-mail from my manager regarding one of my co-workers.  Her grandfather is choosing to end dialysis treatment and wants to transition out of this life.  His last request is to have Thanksgiving with his family.  My co-worker cannot afford a flight to get to the midwest for Thanksgiving, nor would she be able to go back for a funeral, or even make rent.  With that news, a rally ensued to help her out with funds to make the trip.  A fundraising website was created in minutes and the flight cost was raised in less than an hour.  Two days later there is enough to cover a second flight, cover money she’d lose from missing work, and money to help with funeral costs.  We reached out to our customers and co-workers letting them know about her situation and the support has been flowing in.  It’s really incredible.

Needless to say, my co-worker is humbled and feels so blessed to have a job where her boss and co-workers will support her in anyway they can, regardless of money or time.  That her customers support her even if that relationship is something that happens over a counter once a day.

No one is obligated to help another human being for whatever reason, and seeing people do it without hesitation and with such selflessness is incredibly heartwarming.  It makes me happy to work where I do, with the people I do.  I work with people who are compassionate incredibly selfless and serve customers who feel that their daily encounters are not just fleeting, but are bonds that are significant enough that they’d help you in a time of need.

This is all just totally amazing.

Fighting Reality

anxiety, creativity, mental health, photography, therapy, work

Today is one of those days. Here I am, crippled by fear and anxiety. Here, I should be working on homework since I lost a week to a bad cold. But, instead, I’m pacing my apartment, wringing my hands, writing furiously in my journal, making a latte, and just disappointed in myself.

Yesterday, I had a talk with my husband. He knows what I’m going through. He’s seen it many times before. I stop doing anything and complain that I’m not doing anything. I’m putting less than a few hours a week on my homework and already deeming myself a failure for not being great. I can’t expect to be good if I’m not doing anything, right? He, of course, is right. I totally know this and agree with him. People don’t become great at anything without putting in a shit-ton of hard work and a whole lot of failure and mediocrity in between. Unfortunately, my fear of failure, ridicule, and mediocrity keep me from creating anything at all. It’s like I flat-out refuse to put myself in the situation of coming up with crap. It needs to just come out great. It’s like expecting the sun to come out instantly in the middle of a typhoon. I know, realistically, it does not happen this way, but it is what I want. And that is not possible. I know it is not possible. Today is a day that I am fighting reality and coming up with nothing. I am the loser in the battle.

I have class tonight. I haven’t worked any more on my piece, so feel I shouldn’t go because I have nothing to contribute. I’m also embarrassed that I won’t be bringing in anything new and that my peers will comment on it. I don’t care that I was sick this past week and sat on the couch and laid in bed watching all of Season 1 of Parenthood. I expect so much of myself without putting in much if any effort at all. I’m so completely unrealistic right now. It’s stupid and I hate it and I find myself completely unbearable right now.

The state of my piece in draft form. I’m focusing on anxiety.

Piece: In My Head
Photo collage
Mixed Media

Fall Carnival Fundraiser for R-74 a success!

coffee, Community, creativity, culture, education, friends, fundraising, giving, Home, Learning/Education, life, Love, photography, work

The fundraiser for Washington United for Marriage was a success. For more information about this referendum, learn more at the site here. There was face painting, a coloring table, a bake sale that left us full of sugar, family and friends. The photo booth played a great stage for people to let loose and show their support for marriage equality. Some photos from the event below. For more photos, check out the album on the Facebook page!

Bake Sale goodness

I like to call this “FUEL Clan Gang”.

Face painting was a hit.

Reading and coloring table fun!

Animal masks!

“FUEL Clan Gang II”.