Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To everything - a purpose: Mindfulness

Ferry from Kalymnos to Telendos, Greece - page from Greece Travel Journal

Well isn't it funny the way life fits together like little(and something gargantuan) puzzle pieces. This book is being called into existence for several reasons. The reason that will help this book be desirable to others lies in my idea of helping people extend their adventures and journeys beyond the time they catch Bart to the airport and long after they have washed the last bits of sand out of their hair. This book is about coming to be mindful of your experiences through art.

Mindfulness, Depression, and Art
One way to fight depression, a dance I am learning new moves to everyday, is through the transference of my focus from inside to outside. Instead of drowning in self doubt and self hatred I force my focus to things outside of myself. This is sometimes called mindfulness. Like many others who find themselves lost, I have learned to attain mindfulness through things like yoga, meditation, climbing, and art.
Here is where it gets interesting to me. Art helps me achieve mindfulness, but it takes acute focus to create satisfying art(I use the word "satisfying" here because the word "good" is too dangerous to throw out willy-nilly in this conversation). I find that the more I focus on my subject, internal or external, the more I look up and down from the canvas to the subject, I gain more control over how I express said subject. The tree I am drawing looks more and more like the tree in front of me. The anguish I am portraying with paint and maps grows stronger as I continuously examine my own recollections of pain.
It becomes a strange circle of defeating depression with mindfulness. I do this with art that helps me expand mindfulness. And I find one of the most effective ways to express this mindfulness is to explore my depression.
Complex, an artist book

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A New Project: Travel Journals. If there is no hold, grab it with both hands.

Travel Journal: Greece

So two months after my last post I'm feeling rather guilty. I guess part of the reason why I have not put the energy into the blog recently is it seemed that I did not have too many readers, and those that did see this are people I know. I somehow thought that magically all these people would come flocking, riveted to my every word, begging for new post after post. What was the point if no one was reading this? Well I do have to admit that I am a lousy writer and when it comes to writing about my work...I am even worse than lousy.

How does Taska deal with this....? One of the best quotes I ever read was in the little newspaper you receive when you enter Joshua Tree National Park. I do wish I had saved it. The paper is typical of a US park: little tidbits on what to look for, rules, and what ranger programs are coming up. There was an article on climbing that was a little farce on climbing ratings. It said, "5.11: if there is no hold, then grab it with both hands"

Here I am grabbing with both hands. I want to write a book, and I will use my blog to work this little project out. I don't promise it will be riveting, but it will show you and me the process. Besides now the point of this blog is to write a book, not extoll the untold virtues of my artwork to a miniscule audience.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Paying Homage


Dreaming of ELECTRA


This is my Timbuk2 bag that I painted, paying homage to the primordial soup pot of western art and culture at the Acropolis. Despite the crowds it is pretty amazing up there above Athens.

Even more so at night all lit up!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Little Taste of Paradise

Kalymnos, Greece, is what I call paradise.  Warm sun, blue sea, fresh air, rugged trails, amazing food, and superb climbing!  Oh and don't forget...cats.  Here are just a few photos from our 2 weeks on this little island off the coast of Turkey.  The rock is limestone and it provides incredible cliffs with lovely face, pocket, and tufa climbing.Looking down at Kastelli, a spur off the western shore of the island.  Home to a small chapel and our first routes we found.
Travis appreciating the generous bolting on the limestone.  Many of the routes we climbed had numerous tiny finger pockets and lots of nubbin foot holds.
My kittie radar was on overdrive the entire trip.  So many tiny little cats slinking around the garbage cans, often sporting big chunks of fish.
More to come....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back From the Dead

Well I am back from the dead or at least the flu. I did not have the flu this entire time, but things got crazy at work. I got crazy. I got sick. Rachel Jamison thinks it was swine flu. Now that is gone I am starting to believe her. It was horrible and my boss was out of town while I was sick. I was trying to run the department with a fever, throat lozenge in my mouth and a kleenex, taped to my nose. Yuk!
While all this was going on Perry, our CEO, at Timbuk2 was leaving for some cool position in the Stanford Design School. I will miss him horribly. I talked to him on the phone before I was called into an interview. He had so much faith in me when it felt like no one else in the world did. For a going away gift I organized a T2 bag for him with the staff's photos on the liner. The final liner was grey scale because Perry is a self admitted chromaphobe.

This photo of Zoe is my favorite in the bunch.  She is sporting our shirt we designed for Bike To Work 2009. 

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Comrade

Rizo 3
Here are some photos I took of my comrade, Rizo. Most people think of him more of a cat than a dog. He has an endearing personality, but you have to win his affection.
Rizo 4
I think that is why we are good pals.Rizo 4
I enjoy taking animal portraits, because the resulting photos give the viewer an intimate look at the animals, like they were curled up on the couch together.
Ideally I would like to print them around the 16"x24" range.
Rizo 6
Rizo 5

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Portfolio Addition

Making some progress with the photographing of my work.   Of coarse I am looking at them questioning my photography skills.  These are all wall pieces, 2-D or with a little Bas Relief.
I also added a few sketches.  
Sketch Fajada ButteThe dimensional things come next...eek!  
If you need a little guidance: click on the words "posTTaska Portfolio" on the sidebar to go to my Flickr page for more art images.  

Nina Bagley gave me two pieces of good advise: get published and don't rely on stamps.  As I move forward in my work I will take both to heart.
Self Portrait in Tile
 I have learned quite a bit from my work laying it all out and the floor and moving it around in groups.  Mom gave me some great feedback on working towards the publishing and grouping items for a show.
Self Portrait with My Familiars
 I should just go ahead and have an open studio...I wish I had some kind of space in the city where there were more people who might be interested.  Come on Taska, get motivated to start targeting galleries!!!!  Uhggg still need to solve some display issues and of coarse more photographing.   I think I can, I think I can.....

The Mage's Coat

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mr. Chesterfield

Here is a fabulous picture of young Mr. Chesterfield.  This little man has some real spirit.  He spends his evenings carrying his bed around and then sees how much he can rip it apart.  When on the phone with Mom I can hear him in the background snarling and maiming his squeaky toys.  He acquired the name Chester because it has the same tempo as his first name, Bruiser.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Overhang Bypass

overhang bypass
I just got back from visiting the art spirits for consultation in the desert. However right now I am going to show off a couple of pics from my last trip to Yosemite with Jim and Ondine. We had a great time with incredibly mild weather. On the South side of the Valley we were in the shade most of the time. the route is rated 5.6- 5.6 my rosy red cheeks! First off there is a missing block so if you are shorter than 5'5" you are screwed. On top of that this old school 5.6 so I think....maybe 5.8 in places.
ondine and jim overhang bypass
Long approach, but that keeps away the crowds. Lots of ants this time of year- lots of ants crawling and biting my hands when I was leading the fingertip treverse. I was a little displeased.
Valley 09 copy
The views are fantastic especially once you crest the top and look down onto Bridleveil Falls.
Top of Bridleveil Falls
Then the decent down the Gunsite is long but really amazing.
All and all good times we had by all- even when I tied the lead line in a knot while down climbing, traversing and ascending without removing my protection. Ahhh rope drag, my friend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Riding a bike with a pencil

Drawing is like riding a bike.... you don't forget how. Now after taking off 2 years from cycling and don't expect to win the Tour de Basque.... I was quite happy with this portrait of Rizo. I would consider this Mysteriosity. I think that's why I am drawn to animal portraits...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Suprise

While driving around San Fran one afternoon leaving the climbing gym at Crissy field we just stumbled upon the most awesome sight.  I said to Travis "That has to be an Andy Goldsworthy!"  We got out of the car and wandered around, hoping to find sinage or something.  Along came a worldly looking couple who said they drove up from San Luis Obispo to see the great Andy Goldsworthy sculpture in the Persidio.  I think I adore this city because it is filled with mysteriosity.

Monday, June 8, 2009


It is possible that Bubo might have a kind of skin cancer on her hears. The life of an outdoor kitty is wild and dangerous. However it might be just a topical skin problem. I m not too worried(thank god for zoloft). We brought Bubo into our lives so we could help a "senior" live our her days in comfort and love. The worst case if it is cancer is ear removal. Thankfully this is not a cancer that is likely to move to her organs. So maybe then we will get a Scottish Fold Cat.
Photo by jurveston courtesy of Creative Commons

Ray of Sun

Under the weather today....Bubo with ear issues, Hermes with Bubo teethmarks on her tail, and Juniper isn't sleeping in the bed with us....rest is good.
On the cute side of life I got great news from Mom and Dad....enter Chester!  I can't wait to meet him.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jordan McCorkle, here at Timbuk2, took this photo as Rizo and I modeled some of Timbuk2's upcoming bags. At work they call me the Dog Whisperer.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Catapation- noun- the twitching a cat performs right before she pounces.  

The animal kingdom is settling, somewhat.  Juniper, Hermes, and Bubo- not a bad family of names.  The names of pets reflect on the personality of the people as much as the animals that bear them.  For instance Al and Angela just brought home 2 little furry kittens. They ended with the names Grue and Annabel Lee: very telling of their education.  Kitten photo from Angela's camera 

There has been role reversal amongst the cats is this household.  The screaming has reduced to growling with an occasional snort thrown in when Hermes is very serious.   Although I do find tuffs of hair scattered about the floorboards.  Juniper has a couple of little knots on her head.  I think the largest barrier they are successful at establishing is the vertical one.  Juniper and Hermes make sure that they are always higher than Bubo.   I should remember this when I want to intimidate a room full of people.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Art and Soul ROCKS!

Here is my corner of the table in Nina Bagley's class at Art and Soul in Asilomar. Wow! It was amazing! Mom and I had so much fun. We made necklaces and books that are companions to the jewelry. Nina is an excellent hands on teacher and class designer. If you ever get a chance to take a class from her please do. I will shoot some photos of our stuff this weekend and post them. I missed some days while I was gone, but should be back in the saddle. The weather was foggy, sunny, foggy, but pretty warm considering. We stayed in a big motel room so we had plenty of space to work at night. Our classroom was snug but had good lighting. I just wonder why I am not doing this as a career. What is wrong with me? I have talent. I have dreams. Where is the direction? I just need to face those dreams and do it....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Argh! Computer frustrations and more fun things

I have never understood that strange relationship that we hold with the tenuous connection to the outside world with our computers. I spent hours last night hurumphing up and down the house trying to understand why my Airport wasn't recognizing my wireless. I was pushing buttons and punching in codes....nothing. Well it turned out to be the little fix of "unplug, then reboot" Silly me! Thinking I had lost my umbilical to the world. Really I was just pissed that I was all the way through a post and it wouldn't save or publish.
So here I am 25 hours later trying to remember if I was witty in my last post that was lost to the wires.
Packing for
Art and Soul in Asilomar. Mom and I are taking a 3 day class from Nina Bagley. She is an art goddess. I am so inspired when discovering articles that feature her. Nina's blog Ornamental is also a great spring of joy since we can't take classes with her every month. Art and Soul is one of the best things to ever happen to me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Well I foolishly went to bed last night without posting. So here is another ATC for that lack of mind. I should give myself permission to let these things go. The last thing I NEED is to beat myself up about something silly like this. There are enough bar fights around the house now as the cats are defining their schedules and territories.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Here is a ATC I made for a swap a few years ago. I do like working on that scale. It feels so intimate. This is a triptych so it is about 6"wide x 3"high. Mixed media.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stupid Cat, Stupid Taska

I had some balloons in the living room all tied up with string.  Stupid Taska.  Heremes decided to eat the string.  Stupid Heremes.  I found the string she rejected.  Wheh!  When I offered her fish skins "her fav" she turned up her nose.  I was ready for the vasaline or the vet.  Then she drank some water.  I brought out the stinky wet food we got for Bubo.  She gingerly lapped it up and then went back for more water.  I have been watching her closely over the last few hours and Hermes is feeling better.  She is even playing with the cat dancer now.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crusade #29- Brush effects

Here is another GPP Crusade. I am glad to hear that Michelle decided to continue with the challenges for the time being because even when I don't submit or post anything I love reading through her blog as well as exploring those that participate.This is direct dry brush for the background, paisley stamp, paint, and hand carved eye stamp.  I then tried the monoprint dry bush in reddish black.  The technique did not turn out how I thought it would.  However I does have an interesting XEROX look.
Here are some details I fun making with insets.

When your body is not your own #posttaska #mixedmedia #art #handmade #assemblage

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