Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inuksuit percussion concert in the forest and our time in the mountainsof Colorado

I normally do not rave about a concert, because we attend so many good ones during  the summer concert season, but this one was very special.
It took place in an open space along the banks of a river, by the slopes of Minturn mountains.

Minturn is a small Western town a few miles west of the Vail ski resort.
This concert was also offered in Aspen the very next day, but we chose to attend the Minturn concert, because we wanted to stroll in the Minturn Farmers Market before the concert began.

The Farmers Market was well attended and wonderful.
We bought organic Colorado peaches and organic bagels, admired large sculptures of wild horses made from car parts, and for the first time read the slogan:
"If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains, you are lucky enough!!!!"

Then we went over to the concert.
People came from all the surrounding areas, and even all the way from Denver, just to hear this special percussion concert.

Sixty-six percussionists were spread wide around the surrounding hills.
There were no chairs and the crowd was encouraged to walk around the musicians, listening to all kinds of drums, cymbals, gongs, bells, rattles and xylophones, as they roamed around.

The concert started with no official explanation or signal.
The musicians just started twirling hollow plastic tubes that made a swooshing sound, like whispered hidden secrets in the winds.
Other musicians used rattles or sounded emergency sirens, which produced in me a heightened state of alertness.
After all, we are used to only hearing those sirens when there is an actual emergency.

It felt more like a new-age spiritual workshop, than a classical percussion concert.
It was truly magical.
We roamed around, listening to the musicians as they created sounds that bubbled in my stomach and vibrated in my body in a way I had never experienced before.

I am adding a link to a short YouTube video of the creator explaining his concept, which is very worth listening to.

Later in the week, we attended other classical concerts in Aspen.
I liked the Conductors Series, in which each of four different conductors directed a single movement of a symphony, changing positions after each movement.
Because they were also accomplished musicians, they sat down after conducting and played as members of the orchestra.

In one of the concerts, I read in the program that Gustav Mahler, after composing his Symphony No. 1 in D Major, that we were about to hear, had a problem getting it to be performed.

In order to appeal to the public, he revised it by chopping off whole sections of it and making other parts of it more melodic and romantic, and thus easier to listen to.

I was thinking about the many times in the past when I have painted over paintings that I no longer liked.
Most of the times I was OK with the new painting which overlaid the old one, but at times, I really regretted doing it.

I once painted over a large piece that I had completed of a market in New Orleans, (many years before the hurricane) and I still regret doing so.
I do not even have a photo of the painting for memory's sake. 

At the concert, I made an inner resolution that from now on, I will ONLY paint paintings that I love and that I will not even consider painting over them, even if nobody would like or buy them.

We also took a two day mini vacation in Snowmass, and hiked Snowmass mountain.
Snowmass is located just a few miles north of Aspen and it is another much loved ski resort.

You would think that for a woman who had just finished walking a 1200 kilometer pilgrimage, a few hours of mountain climbing would not be such a big deal, but my legs were stiff for two days after descending from the mountain's peak at 11,500 feet to the base of Snowmass village. 

These past few weeks we also had a problem with the pump of the water well for our house.
At first I thought that we had run out of water, but our well is so deep, that it goes far into the underground Aquifer, much deeper than the creek that runs beside our house.

Our pump was starting to pull water from the well, and then immediately shorting out, before hardly any water had entered the holding tanks.
It happened on the weekend, where we could not get anyone to come and fix it, so we had to go bathe in the nearby hot springs.

When the well service company came, they spent the day pulling the pump from the depth of our well, located 270 feet deep into the earth.
It took hours, but they replaced our pump and also upgraded the electric and water gauges.

Instead of regretting the expense, we felt grateful that we now have a new system and that we drink and bathe in our own clean, non-chlorinated, non-fluorinated pure well water, free of chemicals or medicine residue as is the drinking water available in most cities.

We also got our passports back, after applying for our Indian Visas for our upcoming trip.
I went bold and asked for a ten year visas that will allow us to enter India as often as we want, and we got them.

I will write again and elaborate about why we are going to India....

The photos in this post are from the concert in Minturn, from our visit to the Aspen Art Museum and from our hike in Snowmass.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Click here to watch John Luther Adams explains the idea behind his wonderful Inuksuit concert which might be coming to your town as well:
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Click here to watch snippets I took of the concert:
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Photos From The Streets Of Los Angeles

Our trip to Los Angeles was short and sweet.
We stayed with my sister at her house in Venice Beach.
A section of Venice Beach was designed to resemble the canals in Venice Italy, and in the early 1900's they even had gondolas ferrying people on those canals.

Nowadays, Venice Beach is a cool neighborhood with a mixture of interesting modern architecture side by side with old, charming and small houses.

The weather during the summertime is pleasant, with cool evenings and warm but not too hot days.
It's quite a difference from the hot and dry weather in the Valley, or the heat in Hollywood, which is much more inland.

We enjoyed my sister and my Mom's company, and because we miss walking so much, we walked the streets of the city every day, stopping often to drink fresh squeezed juices, or tea and artisan coffee.

I love that aspect of Los Angeles, where there are many more juice bars than bars selling alcohol, and where you can get delicious vegan food practically everywhere around the city.

One day as we walked the streets towards Santa Monica, I experienced a deep sense of harmony.

It started with an inner decision not to judge what I see, not to try to criticize the world, but to allow ALL THINGS TO BE EXACTLY AS THEY ARE!

We were walking towards the beach, when a homeless man started walking next to us, cursing the world and everyone visible and invisible.

Normally, I would steer clear of his crazy rant, but this time I felt such deep contentment and peace, that I walked slowly and normally.... allowing all things to be exactly as they are, perfect and whole.... Even if my binary mind said that it should not be so....

And then it happened...
I felt like I had entered a fairytale land, where everything  was perfect, safe, serene, and harmonious beyond description.

The air was filled with the smell of perfume, suntan lotion, the scents of the beach and the sun...
The sounds of the traffic and the curses of the homeless man blended together into an urban symphony, each carrying a beautiful musical note.

We walked quietly, turning onto another road where a man was dancing on a balcony above the road and the traffic was cheering him on - it all blended together in such an enjoyable flow....

I realized that the way we experience the world, has very little to do with what is actually out there.

This is why happiness can NEVER be found in the world, it is WITHIN your very mind, and from there, it flows out into what you experience.

Even an ordinary day can be filled with bliss, if you decide not to try to fix the world, not to be unhappy or angry all the time, but to let all things exactly as they are....

Most Americans think that the USA is the best country in the world.
The rest of the world thinks that the USA is a dangerous place full of horrible crime, injustices, disparity and people shooting each other all over the place.

It is funny that people in rural Afghanistan once asked a friend of mine, if it is safe to raise children in the USA, and if she was not afraid to live there.

Safety and danger,
Joy or anger,
Contentment or being the world's critic, 
Are all choices that you make.
One will rob you of your peace of mind,
And the other will reveal utter ecstasy, even as you walk the streets of LA...

Back home in the mountains of Colorado, it is classical music season in the mountains.
Between the Aspen Music Festival and the Vail Bravo Concert Series, we are having such a fabulous time.

Jules overheard the musicians at an Aspen concert mention that they love to go to the new Vietnamese restaurant that opened in Aspen.
We went there also, and we were so glad we did.
It serves Vietnamese street food in a very casual seating around a large bar table.
The food was great, and such a treat to find in our rural mountain area.

I also spend my quiet days in the studio painting.
It feels like such a rare treat. 
All this world traveling does not leave me much time to develop a new body of work.

I am filled with gratitude towards all those art collectors who waited for me to return home in order to ship their paintings to them.

I shipped six pieces of art to collectors across the USA, and I have a possibility of another very large painting, to ship to a collector in Los Angeles.

As a long time artist, I must have shipped hundreds of paintings to collectors throughout the years.
But even after all those years, I am still nervous every time I ship a painting.
The level of nervousness and anxiety goes higher when I ship a very large painting.

In all that time, I have only had one small painting damaged in shipping, but despite the minuscule chance of damage, I still worry until I get an email from the collector, telling me that the painting is hanging in their house and that they love it and all is well.

I take extra care in bubble wrapping and boxing the paintings, so why am I so nervous until I hear from the collectors that all is well?

Obviously I have an emotional investment in making the art, in the time that it takes to paint, and in conceiving of the idea....

Perhaps I am still haunted by a scene ingrained in my memory a long time ago, while I was living in New York City.

When I used to walk the streets of Manhattan, I saw how the UPS delivery trucks were being loaded and unloaded.

There were usually two guys per truck, because in that city, theft was always an issue.
One guy always stayed with the truck while the other went upstairs to deliver or to pick up the parcels.

If there was only one driver doing all the deliveries, there was a chance that he would come back to an empty truck, or that the whole brown truck with all of its packages, would be zigzagging up the FDR Drive towards the Bronx.

Those two UPS guys were always playful, listening to loud music, cracking jokes and playing ball with the parcels.
Clearly they thought that they had missed their calling, and that they possessed enough talent to be professional ballplayers, even though it was obvious that their catching skills were less than perfect.

I used to see the guy inside the truck, "go long" but miss the catch, and the box landed on the truck's floor, to the sound of something shuddering inside.

Most of my paintings are too heavy and are shipped in large boxes that cannot be used to play catch with, but I still feel nervous.

I am adding to this post photos of the streets of Venice Beach in LA.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!