on the 8th day of chookooloonks ... art & music

So, here's something:  even though I've been doing photography (first as a hobby and then eventually as a full-time gig) for something like 17 years or so, I have only been comfortable calling myself a "photographer," for say, the past three years.

I've been able to consider myself "creative" or "artistic" for only about 2 years.

And I've only had the courage to call myself an actual "artist" in, maybe, 6 months or so.

Why is that, you think?  Why are we so scared of calling ourselves "artists" or "artistic," when there's no denying that we create art, be it by using words, or cameras, or paints, or fabrics, or yarns, or music (or even mathematics or science)?  Is it because we buy into some sort of insulting stereotype about what an "artist" is supposed to be, or we think that artists aren't supposed to be taken seriously unless they are prodigies like Picasso or Mozart?

Or is it just because we're afraid that people will judge our work harshly?

And even if all of those things are true (and they're not), would we stop creating art? Could we?  Should we?

Anyway, my point is that all good things in life happen because of creativity. And artfulness.  And artistic innovation. 

So if you create art in any particular way, I say own it.  Say it strong, say it loud: you're an artist, and you're proud.

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Last week, Alex called to me from her room.  "Mom, I need a favour."

"What's that?"

"I need you to make a video of me.  I need you to put it on your blog."

So I grabbed my camera, not knowing what she had in mind.  And I recorded the following, unedited 1-minute video of Alex explaining her latest piece art.

I'm not sure why it was important to her for me to share it with you, but far be it from me to deny her request.




Man, I hope she never stops experimenting with art.


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So friends, here we are a Day 8 of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks!  Today, I'm giving away the work of two artists who use some of my most favourite mediums to create their art.


Image courtesy Katy Keuter

When Katy Keuter contacted me about contributing one of her original paintings for this giveaway, I was only too thrilled to accept.  Katy's images are vibrant and bold and she's not shy about using crazy colour in her acrylic paintings -- just the kind of art I have all over my own home.  And now, the winner of this giveaway will receive the original painting shown in the image above.  How really awesome is that?

Here's Katy's description of her work:

Artist's StatementI have a small shop because each item is truly one of a kind, each handmade item is made by me and me alone with care and love. This year I added vintage treasures to my shop which I am excited about. A big moment to date was last year when I sold two paintings to a curator at the Guggenheim museum in New York, so I actually got to address my paintings to the Guggenhiem museum...they were not shown there but still just writing down the address brought tears and a huge crooked smile. Other big moments are the ones that happen when I am sending out my work around the globe, whether it is something small or big it means something to me...the support that comes from places I never thought it would...well it is humbling to say the least. I feel we are all born to create and the word "create" is not about creating something just in an art form, no it is much bigger than that...a mother, a father, a gardener.... each one is creating something special.  When I create my world feels just right.  Spreading love...that feels right too.


Images courtesy The Jason Parker Quartet

I have a real soft spot for The Jason Parker Quartet.  Not only are Jason Parker and his fellow musicians incredibly talented, they also were the main feature of the most fabulously awesome book reading I have ever done:  in January of this year, I read passages from my book while they accompanied me with their jazz stylings, to a very kind audience in an awesomely cool wine bar in Seattle.  It was one of the highlights of my year and my career.  And now, Jason Parker is contributing not one, but all four of their CDs -- their entire collection -- to one lucky Chookooloonks reader.

Here's more about this amazing group:

Artist's statement:  The Jason Parker Quartet is a jazz band with an indie mindset. These four Seattle musicians have carved their own path, honoring the jazz tradition by bringing their own passions and personalities to bear on the music. You’re just as likely to hear the JPQ play their own compositions as you are their signature arrangements of jazz standards or their favorite rock songs from Nick Drake, Elvis Costello and Paul Simon.

The JPQ has been honing their tight swinging sound for three years, which shows in the way they interact with each other on stage and the deep bond that results. Each member of the group pours his passion and excitement into the performance making a Jason Parker Quartet show both musically and visually exciting. More info at http://jasonparkermusic.com



And as always, you'll receive a 2012 Chookooloonks desk calendar (comes packaged in a fold-out CD case), featuring 13 of my favourite images from 2011.


For a chance to win these gifts, simply leave a comment below, saying whatever you'd like, before 12:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 20th, US Central TimePlease leave only one comment.  Also, it doesn't matter where in the world you are.  I'll choose a winner at random using Random.org, and update this post when that person is chosen.

(For the duration of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, please note that there is no guarantee that you will receive any items before Christmas.) 

Good luck, friends!


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AND THE WINNER IS:  According to Random.org, the winner is AppleTree, who said "Ampersand!"  Congratulations, AppleTree!  Please keep a lookout in your inbox for an email from me with instructions on what to do next.

Thanks for participating, everyone -- only 4 more days to go!