Is There Life Without a Smart Phone?

Photo of New Mexico Interstate and Sunset by Raychel Sanner

Have you ever tried to imagine life without a smart phone?  The other day, I needed something.  The stores I needed to go to are either closed, too far away or the item I want is out of stock.  So, I started searching online, with my so-called “phone”.  I found what I needed in ten minutes and soon it was being processed for delivery to my front door.  I never got out of bed.

A New Day Dawning

Just before that, I was watching the sunrise through the windows.  Silently, I was thinking about how are those of us in the creative arts going to continue?  Last year, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I had a successful private show where I sold several paintings in one afternoon!  How will I do this now?  When can artists, like myself, start showing again? 

As the sun moved more over the horizon, I tried to imagine life without technology.  I am old enough to remember the rotary phone and the Rolodex, so yes, I could imagine it.  Oddly enough, I could not remember it.  If someone were to ask me to imagine a world without smart-phones, I could. 

As I laid there watching the day get brighter, I realized that, like many of us, I have sailed so far into the ocean of technology, that imagining was no problem, I just plain forgot what it was like!

Dude, You can Do This! Where’s my Phone?

What did I do all day before checking my email or Facebook every ten minutes? Thirty years ago, how did I manage to drive all the way across the country without a phone for miles? Why now today, will I not leave the house to go grocery shopping without my “devices”?

Wait a minute … I am from the twentieth century!  I can DO THIS!  Without panicking, I can figure out how to live without a constant resource in the palm of my hand!  I can live without being pre-occupied by instant news, social media, metrics, algorithms, notifications, or whatever it is we all do all the time now.  Somehow I have trained the seventies and eighties right out of me.  Within me rose a renewed sense of ironic yet forward-thinking purpose. …  I must re-learn my old ways! 

Nice try.  No matter what I do anymore, it seems to involve some form of technology.  So then, there must be some sort of balance.  Perhaps, that is the part I forgot.  Maybe we all have. 

What Road Are We On?

I remember when the internet was called the “information super-highway”.  The vision was one where our tasks would become easier to manage and take much less time to accomplish errands or work projects.  We would be organized and be free as never before.  The promise was that we would have more time enjoying our free time since our responsibilities would take just moments to finish. 

Consider, email.  No more writing by hand, searching for stamps, standing in line at the post office after driving across town to get there.  Nice!  But, instead of cherishing our newly acquired “free time”, we decided to fill it up with doing more.  Twice as much time, twice more productive!  So, instead of welcoming a world of ease and free time, we ushered ourselves into the age of multi-tasking.  Also, I never regularly purchased reams of paper until we became a “paperless society”. 

Stolen Moments, Not What I Had in Mind

Is being constantly informed really a good thing? I think it depends on what information is being received.  Is what I am bombarded with daily truly important or did it become important because it just slid into my frame of reference?

This is where I ask myself if I can remember life before so much technology at my fingertips.  I wonder how much is me being “concerned” with what is in front of me versus how much is me having my attention stolen? 

That’s a question I would love to ask my younger self. Some decades ago, I was driving through the center of New Mexico. The windows were down, and it was raining while the sun was shining. The thrill of life, the beauty of everything I saw was all around and I was literally soaking it up.  I had no compulsion to record the moment or feel the need to update my status or check in anywhere.  There was no way of knowing where I was on a moving map.  I only knew I was in the middle of “nowhere” and it was gorgeous.  My AM radio was not receiving stations, and I had no tape player.  I just was “there”, physically, mentally, emotionally.

I Am From My Future!

If I, as my present self, were watching my younger self from the passenger seat, I could ask myself a question, “Where’s the nearest options for food, how do we get there, and how long will it take, what does the menu look like? Also, where is the motel and how much will it cost, what does it look like, where is it exactly, what have other people said about it, where’s the gas station, how close is it to the highway, what is the weather like when we get there, when does the sun rise, what is on tv tonight, who won the game, did your friend ever get back to you, are you going to call them right now, is there any traffic ahead, how much money do you have, did you pay the gas bill before you left, what’s the temperature right now?

I could only imagine my younger self, staring ahead for a moment with glints of sun in my eyes and in my hair, the wind swirling all around from the open windows at highway speed.

I’d probably turn to my future self and say after a long pause, …,

“What?”

Banner Photo by Raychel Sanner – instagram.com/raychelsnr and Raychel Sanner

Cultural Literacy versus “Doom-Scrolling”

Painting of Three Guitarists Playing by Curtis Green

There is a notion that a society is defined by its art and culture.  Think about that for a moment.  A culture can be described as a set of behaviors or beliefs common to a society.  Society and culture are two different things but also seem to mean the same thing.  Like the “chicken or the egg” question we can ask, does a society create a culture or does a culture create a society?

I would think the society comes first.  The behaviors and beliefs would then set the culture for that society.  That could be either good or bad.  So, I ask again to think about that for a moment.  Does this have anything to do with how we spend our time?  (See some suggestions below)

Cultural Literacy versus “Doom-Scrolling”

Cultural literacy is a phrase that often comes about in discussions of societal development.  This has to do with how we, as a society basically spend our time or what we place our attention toward.  For example, the more I “doom-scroll” on social media the less time I have edifying myself toward more enriching things.  (And, I have been doing a lot of “doom-scrolling” these days.) 

Shifting the Conversation

To get out of that cycle, I remind myself that making a better place for my immediate surroundings could include a shift in the conversation.  How can I improve the atmosphere around me and encourage the best in myself and others?  Could I create or contribute to a healthier discussion and use of my time?   If I do these things, will I be setting a personal practice that could invite others to consider the same?  Could my immediate friends and family, neighbors and loved ones be a micro-culture that defines how I view or enjoy my interactions with others?  Will I want to hear, listen, and contribute to ideas, concerns and actions of others in a way that is constructive and helpful?  If I do, will I be at least one example of a world becoming a more tolerant place?  Will that mean a culture based on these practices could make a better society?

A Vision Visited

This is a vision that is often dreamt and visited.  We hear this idea many times in stirring speeches and stories.  Artists are usually looked at to help us process and heal.  They often give initial guidance after tragedy or set the tone before a celebration.  We can see this just recently with Amanda Gorman as she stirred many Americans with her poem at the 2021 inauguration of American President, Joe Biden.

An Unspoken Creative Oath

Many of us are processing so much right now including Covid-19, a contentious election, civil-unrest, loss of jobs or loved ones, the list goes on.  As an artist, I sometimes find it hard to make anything during these recent months.  Then I remind myself of what may amount to an unspoken “oath” that creative people might acknowledge as a motivation.  Many artists feel that we can give of ourselves to engender a sense of community.  We want to kick-start the conversation by sharing ourselves through whatever talents we can offer.  Hopefully, this generates and fosters a shared commonality.  A good beat, an inspiring word, a soul stirring picture, a captivating dance, can be felt and acknowledged by everyone despite race, gender, class, or politics. 


Here are some artists and programs you may want to explore and see how they are offering themselves and inspiring others. 

MusiKaravan

Due to Covid19, all concert venues have closed for the time being, so Etienne Gara and YuEun Kim have decided to take to the road with their instruments and safely bring music to people.  The goal of MusiKaravan is to showcase great music, delicious food and wine together with human bonding.

www.musikaravan.com

South Bay Chamber Music Society

The aim of SBCMS is to present the highest quality chamber music performances featuring the finest musicians in Southern California.   Their concerts are now virtual. Visit their site to enjoy their recorded live concerts.

South Bay Chamber Music Society – YouTube

www.sbcms.net

Inner City Youth Orchestra

Led by Composer and Conductor, Charles Dickerson III, their mission is to cultivate musical expression as a vehicle for personal development, and to bring to fruition the full musical and academic potential of young inner city residents of Los Angeles.

Through the ICYOLA Orchestra Program, they present an annual Concert Season of 8-10 concerts that features both the standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary music that resounds within the community from which ICYOLA emanates and that it serves.  That Concert Season concludes each year with a Season Finale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The ICYOLA boasts approximately 125 members aged 10 and above.

www.icyola.com


ART

Google’s Virtual Art Tours

Screen Shot of Google Virtual Art Tours Collections Page
Screen Shot of Google Virtual Art Tours Collections Page

One thing about the Covid era, staying safe at home meant going virtual got better! For an aggregate of information, go no further than the almighty Google to arrange virtual tours of collections from nearly every art museum on the planet!

Collections — Google Arts & Culture

The National Museum

Tour the British National Museum or browse their collections. So much to see. Join their email list and stay involved with them as they continue their work even while they are closed.

Virtual tours | Visiting | National Gallery, London

The Louvre Museum Virtual Tours

The Louvre Museum at Night
The Louvre at Night

Which art museum is more famous than the Louvre?  Arguably none other!  Visit the museum rooms and galleries, admire the palace architecture and enjoy the views! Join a virtual tour.   Choose your language, or enjoy the tour in the universal language of art.

Online Tours | Louvre Museum | Paris

Site officiel du musée du Louvre

Literature

You can visit Penguin Random House for live virtual author events.  Click their link to learn more.

Author Events – Penguin Random House

Enjoy the Arts, Enjoy Life

Our behaviors and beliefs, or said another way, what we focus and concentrate on, will be our culture.  Our culture will define our society.  Enjoy these offerings and explore and create your own connections through art and music. We cannot help but find our humanity in these things.

Shift in the Paradigm

Cubist Painting, The Sideboard, 1920 by George Braque

The end is near!  Someone recently asked me the other day to choose one word to describe the year twenty-twenty.  A lot of words come to mind that are not usually repeatable in certain company.  I thought for a few seconds about a sarcastic reply and then I went a little deeper. The word that popped in my mind was shifted. Like a shift in the paradigm of “normal”.

This year, in my opinion, caused many of our standards to be revealed and questioned.  The mechanics of our culture and society were exposed as if our car broke down and we lifted the hood for the first time in a long time.  We were forced to examine a number things that were neglected or simply taken for granted.  It was as if, by looking into the engine, we got to see all the components that come together to make the whole thing work.   

What Happens if it Breaks?

I imagine a thing breaking down.  Some people are upset that the thing broke down.  What will they do now?  Others are happy that it broke down.  The thing made too much noise, or it smelled of fumes anyway, so good riddance.  Either way, there is a shift in the paradigm. 

Continue reading “Shift in the Paradigm”

One for the Books

A Row of Art Books

Summer is now one for the books. The snap of fall weather always gets me going. I love the crisp air mixed with warm sun. Somehow, the fall season gets us to shift gears from the light days of summer and into cozier clothes and heavier foods. Favorite smells and spices fill the air around town and in our kitchens. The idea of warmth comes around as the we all start to settle in for a season of gratitude and reflection.

These days during the pandemic, our holiday time is going to be a little different. Maybe that’s okay. Holidays are often hectic. This year, perhaps it needn’t be so. As I continue to be vigilant for my own health and for the sake of others, I have limited my physical interaction with others. Instead, I have an opportunity to think about how my holiday time may be personally meaningful.

Continue reading “One for the Books”

A Constant Normal is Change

Plien Air Oil Painting of Lily Rock in Idyllwild

Have you noticed, some comedy sketches will rest on an adage that “the more things change the more things stay the same”? This can be either comforting or agitating.  For certain, what is a constant normal is change.

There is a classic sketch on the show Saturday Night Live.  John Belushi played a character who basically said one thing, “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Pepsi, Pepsi”.  The character had a burger shop, all they did there was flip burgers and serve Pepsi.  Like clockwork, day in and day out, it was a life of burgers and Pepsi. 

All day customers comes in to order a burger and a “Coke”. 

The character says, “No Coke.  Pepsi.” 

Art Service

With that, I should announce some changes being made to my website.   This year of 2020 pushed many artists to examine how their art is delivered to an audience. The venues are different than before the pandemic occurred.  Particularly the arts have had to adjust.  Musicians, actors, dancers, painters and more have not been able to have live concerts, plays, recitals or exhibitions.  Making art means having a conversation. Artists tend to want to share, our audience is important. I like going further to make art accessible by building relationships through interaction, education and affordability.

I am re-organizing my site to be more conducive to the online experience for visitors and collectors.  It will be taking on more of the form of an online art service and gallery.  The visitor will be able to enjoy work online and should have an easier and enjoyable way of communicating, commenting, and inquiring about the paintings.

The site now has segment categories.  Read on to learn more.

Gallery Store

Fine Art Pillow Print of Backyard Roses Painting by Curtis Green of Backyard Roses. The gallery shop is where many of my paintings are included as the design on a product.  Much in the way a gallery store functions at a real museum or gallery, unique items are for sale as gifts for you and your friends.  Great for holiday gift giving or anytime.  Pillows, pouches or coffee cups, these items are delivered by a print on demand service such as Pixels or Fine Art America.

Fine Art Prints

A plein air painting and fine art print of a park in Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Estates, CA showing a meadow of mustard grass and lavendar with distant houses. I am pleased to announce that high quality Giclee’ prints are finally available!  Framed or unframed, this is a true giclee’.  These are not from a print on demand service.  Selected paintings are professionally photographed, color corrected, test printed and approved before I sign them.  The pigment inks and quality papers are archival. Collector quality giclee’s are individually made by a Canson certified print lab in Los Angeles.

Original Paintings

Original Artwork on an Easel The original paintings are available for online viewing.  As of October 2020, there are still some changes to be made in this area of the website.  However, an experiential feature added are private viewing rooms.  Buying original artwork is an investment for your home. It often becomes an heirloom to your family. Thoughtfulness often joins with time when considering a purchase. By inquiring about the original artworks, you may be given personal attention in your own online viewing area where the details about the work, special requirements, purchase, framing, and delivery options are discussed. 

The Objective of Change

The main objective for these changes is to move my studio towards being an arts service for patrons and collectors of fine art and away from being a simple portfolio site.

Why? Because, I enjoy creating community and relationships around art and helping people learn more about it.  With these new changes, I hope to invite and create more satisfying engagement with my work and website.  Some of these changes have already occurred and others are developing now, like online art shows and forums for example.  Visit and come back as often as you like. I am happy to help with any of your questions about my work or how to buy an artwork or print.

Thank you

I would like to say thank you. As the pandemic began, I was uncertain whether or not I could continue as I have. Remarkably, this year my audience has grown, engagement is up and interest in prints and paintings have been impressive considering the circumstances. As our year winds up, going now into the holiday season, may we continue find ways of sharing and connecting, being a little more “artful” to ourselves and one another.

Other ways to stay connected:

Curtis Green Artist on Facebook

Curtis Green Artist on Instagram

Resources to be Artfully Engaged During Covid-19

As the pandemic continues, many of us find ourselves mapping out and navigating ourselves into a new way forward.  We hear from medical and mental professionals about the mix of emotions and their effects this historic disruption has had on what we all knew as our stable way of doing things. Here are some resources to be artfully engaged during Covid-19. This is just a list of some available resources found and compiled here. Decide for yourself if they would helpful for you.

Resiliency

The good news is that we can certainly all understand how we all could possibly feel, which may be a little topsy-turvy.  Still, one thing I have noticed are a couple things.  One is our resiliency overall.  We tend to go through several processes individually yet in the end we create slogans like “rise up” or “stand strong”.   See links below for museums that have opened up online resources to view their collections.

Support

I like to believe that means we all truly support each other and want the best for each other and ourselves in the pursuit of personal and societal happiness.  I hope you are being well and know that we are all finding our way out of uncertainty by creating new things and inventing new ideas about work and life. The National Endowment for the Arts, (NEA) has an extensive list that might be useful for artists.

Sharing

Another aspect is our tendency to open-up and share.  Here are a few art related ways I found recently to stay in touch and stay involved.

Continue reading “Resources to be Artfully Engaged During Covid-19”

Being Well Family Art Resources During Covid-19

Painters Palette at the Ready

During this time of isolation and being told to stay at home is seemingly an artist’s dream. Finally, I thought, a window of opportunity to keep creative without burdensome interruptions!  Yet, my easel sits in our living room and I have yet to paint a thing!

Here at home, we are adjusting for new regimens.  Each of us are having fun figuring out how to make two work lives happen at one kitchen table!  We bumped into each other at first, but after a while, we adapted our routines.

We have eased ourselves with cooking and playing music.  We reached way back
and found those old cookbooks we rarely use and started on some adventures in the kitchen.  I have picked up a guitar I haven’t played in a while and got re-acquainted with that old friend.

Positive Family Resource

15 Art Therapy Activities, Exercises & Ideas for Children and Adults This is from a website called Positive Psychology . You can visit their list here: https://positivepsychology.com/art-therapy/

Quarantine Family Toolkit by Kristin Ramsey, ATR-BC, LPC, which offers suggestions and resources on how to talk with children about COVID-19, a sample daily schedule for working/learning at home, online apps, podcasts and other resources for daily activities, mindfulness activities and short guided muscle relaxation script, as well as many art activities instructions and examples.

Art Therapy Resource

The American Art Therapy Association is a great resource that may be useful. They have extensive materials, articles and suggestions regarding art and Covid-19. 

American Art Therapy Association Resources for the Public 

These are excerpts found on the American Art Therapy Association’s arttherapy.org website Covid-19 resources page.

Crisis Text Line if you need help, please text SHARE to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor

The Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to free and confidential support and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

 Resources for addressing COVID-19 — The National Council for Behavioral Health offers resources to help manage coronavirus-related anxiety and to communicate with your kids about this crisis among other topics. Behavioral health care workers will also find resources including telehealth best-practices and implications for certain vulnerable client groups.

Affirmations for Coping during Coronavirus TimesAATA Blog, March 30, 2020

#Coronart is a Facebook group for people to share personal renditions of the coronavirus. “Paint it, draw it, build it, carve it, knit it, grow it, sing it, play it. Anything you can imagine it. Let’s make this thing ours and share our vision!”

Keeping Art and Hope Alive

Maintain that spark of hope and inspiration now and always.  The creative self tends to manifest joy, humor and levity. Creativity is beneficial and a little soul searching can often illuminate a better or brighter way forward. 
 

Similarities Unify Us More than our Differences

My Brushes on a Table

As I write this, many of us are having concerns about our health due to the Corona Virus pandemic.  In connection with that are concerns about our leadership, election campaigns, and the economy.  I recently attended a panel discussion about civility in partisan times.  One of the major points was that throughout human history there has been conflict and worry, however our similarities often unify us more than our differences.

Continue reading “Similarities Unify Us More than our Differences”