Art Tip No. 2—Get The Most Out of Your Next Art Museum Visit

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(Bathing Men by Edvard Munch)

Visiting art museums is a holy time for me. The whole experience oils the mechanics of my creativity & fills me w/ fresh enthusiasm towards art and the art life.

But if you’re not in the habit of being mindful, you could accidentally miss it. How tragic to passively peruse dozens of works of art…and then realize you were worrying about some bullshit the whole time!

Ideally, walking through an art exhibit of any kind should and absolutely can produce the following positive results inside you:

  1. An enhanced admiration for the imagination of your fellow artists in this world.
  2. A fresh respect for the collective human imagination.
  3. Loads of inspiration to produce your own art!

Here’s a few easy ways to get the most out of your next art museum experience:

  1. Schedule your art museum on a day you actually have time to absorb it. (Don’t squeeze it in between dropping off some mail and rushing over to the grocery store for some fresh pasta)
  2. Practice mindfulness as you view the art. Let the thoughts come and go. Become aware of your breath. Breathe in and out. Notice the paintings. Examine their texture, colors, the choices the artist made. Look deeply at the painting and just breathe and be there with it. Become aware of the church-like quiet of the museum. Disentangle from your thought loops simply by becoming conscious of them. Once you do this, you’ll enter the moment. Your consciousness will increase. You’ll be better able to process the stimuli around you.
  3. Use marijuana. (Disclaimer: This only applies if you enjoy marijuana. If getting high isn’t your thing, then don’t do it. Your disdain for the drug will cancel out the benefit…) If you’ve never walked through an art museum stoned, its definitely something to try at least once. By supplementing the art-viewing w/ marijuana you can space out while staring at a painting and get lost speculating on the wild moves the painter made to get this or that effect. You might even feel prompted to try something similar on your own canvas…

So, take your time. Breathe. Discover new art. Enjoy it. Keep that feeling w/ you for the rest of the day. Then, go home and do something.

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Art Tip No. 1—Do Some Marker Art On Your Next Vacation

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Do you ever feel the impulse to knock out some fast art when you’re on holiday? If you’re like me, you probably prefer not to stuff your suitcase full of painting supplies. They’re bulky. They’re messy. Plus paintings often take several days to complete…

Why not bring along a pad of paper & a few markers instead? They’re lighter than paints. They dry instantly and are far more low-maintenance.

Challenge yourself to knock out some fast sketches. If your art life normally involves long-term projects, you’ll be giving yourself the joy of breaking from that pattern. Keep it fast and loose and just see what happens.

Limiting yourself to markers is extremely liberating. You can use them in parks, cafes…anywhere. Draw the people and places around you and your art instantly becomes a cool souvenir from your trip.

So, find room for a slow moment. Focus your mind. Whip out the markers and paper and go for it.

I make you this promise: It will inject a little needed mindfulness into your vacation. You deserve to be present and engaged. Give yourself that gift.

2 Matisse Paintings I dig

This Matisse painting is called Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya. I like that Lydia’s been painted w/ the same colors as the Swedish flag and that her hair is misshapen on one side.

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This one’s called Les toits de Collioure. Doesn’t it feel like the village you have to go through in the Nintendo game Zelda II—The Adventure of Link?
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Seeing Suede @ Gröna Lund

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We took the boat over to the Gröna Lund amusement park to watch Suede perform.

We had dinner at this Mexican place, easily the best place to be out of all the places there. We got to avoid the crowd and munch on sweet potato fries alongside the lime-splashed vegetarian tacos…

After dinner, Malin said she needed a coffee lift.

From the short but slow-as-fuck line at Coffeebar, we heard the woh-woh beginning of the first song from Night Thoughts. We were missing the beginning of the show, which would sting a lot more if we hadn’t gotten to see Suede just a couple of months ago on their Night Thoughts tour. We stood in line anxiously listening to the first couple of songs.

Then the third song was one of Malin’s favorites: Outsiders.

“You go on ahead,” I told her. “I’ll get the coffee.”

I kept breathing and trying to appreciate the far-away songs while waiting for the coffee to brew. I asked the coffee girl if she was familiar with Suede. She wasn’t. I geeked out and told her a little about them.

So then I got the coffee and went to find Malin but couldn’t. I wandered toward the back, less-crowded part of the crowd…And then I froze. There was this this handicapped kid with misshapen hands in a motorized wheelchair and he was with his caretaker and they were both having an amazing time. The caretaker would reach out and take the kids’ hands and gently move them around. They were dancing together and behind my sunglasses I was crying (I missed my daily Zoloft yesterday) and the caretaker had short gray hair and some facial hair – sorta looked like an older hippy.

Maybe this older hippy caretaker guy is a Suede fan from way back and he’s now – at this moment in his life – getting to share the beauty of their music with this sweet kid he cares for. Or maybe he’s never heard of Suede. Maybe they just knew this was one of the concert nights, so they came to the amusement park, and here they were enjoying Suede’s music for the first time.

I didn’t care at all that I’d missed the beginning of the show because I got to take in this totally authentic moment of love and benevolence. It was powerful enough that I actually don’t even remember the song that was serving as the background music for this touching scene.

Then someone put a hand on my shoulder. It was Malin. She guided me to to this pretty decent place she’d found for us to watch the show.

Brett Anderson seduced the crowd. He made jokes. He did the whole have-the-crowd-sing-along thing too, which would normally annoy me..but I found myself kind of loving the way Brett did it. He slowed the songs way down and minimized them—If you’ve always thought Everything Will Flow sounds too produced, you owe it to yourself to go on Youtube and find a video of the song being performed live in mass karaoke-style.

Gröna Lund is sort of an odd place for a show of this caliber. Ideally, the stage would be given its own isolated area in the park. But no, the stage is located right between House of Nightmares and the carousel. So, you’ve got people wandering all over, going to their roller coasters, buying their ice cream and trying to win gigantic chocolate bars….

But I don’t know—there’s just something warm and fuzzy about it.  There’s random people there who probably don’t know about Suede and are maybe at the park for other reasons entirely but wind up falling in love anyway. I love when music transcends the gaps.

Open Letter to Wardah Khalid

Dear Ms Khalid,

I’m writing to you regarding the article you recently wrote in which you harshly criticized Muslim reformers for their efforts to modify Islam.

I totally get it that you disagree with them. What I find baffling, however, is your assertion that your ideological opponents shouldn’t be given a voice at all in the government and the media. To me, that sounds a lot like censorship. And worse, you seem to be suggesting that your effort to silence these “eccentrics” is being done on behalf of the majority of Muslims.

What strikes me as especially strange is that you go on to write that “no single person can speak on behalf of a religion with more than a billion adherents or even the millions of American Muslims.” Do you see the Jekyll/Hyde thing we have goin on here? One minute, you’re totally against the notion of anyone acting as the chief spokesperson for all adherents of a religion. But then you appoint yourself to that very task in the next sentence:

“There are many, many people out there speaking on Islam and extremism whom Muslim Americans ourselves generally consider to be fair representatives of our views. These are the people the government and the media should be consulting.”

Sooo apparently, there are indeed people who get to speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community. And that honor, you allege, belongs exclusively to you and those who happen to agree with you. Muslims who find themselves on a different page are “offensive and incorrect.” They are “eccentrics” that you say the government and the media shouldn’t pay attention to….

Now, let’s look back at some inspiring things you said on Texas Muslim Capitol Day just last year. You stood before a doting crowd and said Muslims must redefine their own narrative and make their voices heard. Then, most notably, you added “We as Muslim Americans will no longer sit idly while others seek to define us and our beautiful faith.”

That last line got an applause from the crowd. And from me as well! See, I agree with you that each person ought to have the right to practice their own faith and no one should be defining it for them.  But aren’t you doing exactly that when you refer to your ideological opponents as “psuedo experts” and “anti-Muslim” zealots simply because you don’t see eye to eye with them on the issue of reform?

Your anger over this disagreement seems to have driven you to behave in a way that is inconsistent with your stated principles.

You’re deciding who is an authentic Muslim and who is not.

You’re deciding which ideas are “incorrect and offensive” for Muslims and which are not.

You’re drawing the line on which views are “fringe” and which are not.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I had. I am always available to dialogue with you if you’d like. My twitter handle is @thebobbynelson.

Take care,

Bobby Nelson

Watching Films Instead of Sleeping

 

Another movie I somehow missed in film school: WHITE ZOMBIE. I’m only sort of watching it and its 3:42 a.m. In a minute, I’m switching to James Whale’s THE OLD DARK HOUSE.

I need to meditate and improve my attention span. When I decide to journal or blog, goal-listing is always primary. What’s wrong with me? There’s a weird buzz all around me right now. Crickets and a vibratey-y ringing sound spreading around this room along with the mist-y light from my laptop.

I’m so tired I can’t keep my jaw closed.

What’s wrong with me?