Thursday, March 18, 2010


It’s elementary… literally. We’re given basic tools as grade-schoolers. But in adulthood, sometimes these tools are forgotten. Reading teaches us there is much to learn and learning will literally be a never-ending process. Recess teaches us to play. Science teaches us to experiment. History teaches us about the past – some of which should be never repeated again, while understanding how far we’ve come. Math helps us add up numbers… and numbers don’t lie, only people do. Nap-time teaches us to rest. And then there is art…

Some people may think of art as construction paper, paste and crayons. But when I think of art, I reflect fondly upon my graphite, ink, pastels, charcoal and watercolors.

Today I heard an interesting story about a man who is starting his life over… completely over.

After an extremely long and successful career of 18-20 hour work days, a divorce, health scares and issues, with the reality that the world is changing, his career has changed, he has realized that after all he’s been through, that his perspective of life, creativity and passion has also changed. He is returning to a fundamental and elementary love in his life, the life of art.

Long forgotten, have been the simple pleasures rediscovered: the vibrant colors and viscosity of paint; the feeling of the slender wooden paint brush handle which surrenders its control to the desire of the artist; and the textured blank canvas which beckons ….”imagine, visualize, create, dream… let’s become one and share the story only we can tell together.”

This relationship between artist and materials is a unique, private and special one. It is the artist who moves the materials and initiates shapes, designs and carefully the layers of colors and shades into the story that is being told. It is the materials who surrender to the hand of the artist saying “I’ll be whatever you need me to be… YOU just be.”

Painting, drawing and expressing oneself through art is a raw, vulnerable act.
It is open, it is freeing and liberating with every line, shape and shade. People who understand art, are in the process of learning a whole other dimension of themselves. Part of an artists inner core of being can only show up on a canvas, on paper or even carved in stone or shaped in a sculpture.

When you become one with the art you create – it is beyond music, beyond acting. Art is both a conscious and unconscious form of creation… it comes out as it comes out, for all the world to see, appreciate, criticize, marvel at, and even judge. It is the artist’s hand. The artist’s line or brush stroke. It is not a script, not someone’s camera work or lighting. It is all … the artist.

Unlike a live performance which can be forgotten, art is a permanent, tangible creation which stays as it is and as it was created. It cannot be manipulated with editing, sweetening, lighting and lenses or even be erased afterward. Once it is final… its finality is what carries its original intent and message from the first line, the first brush stroke, the first sense of what it was becoming as it was becoming.

In the journey of life, we are left with impressions people leave behind.
And it is in art, we are left with impressions created by the people who dared to share and express.

I wish him well on his colorful journey and for having the bravery and courage to be vulnerable… to be an artist.

Media Monster Communications, Inc.
Stacey Kumagai

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


From the time we are babies, blocks are a part of our life. From the ABC wooden blocks infants play with; to Bristle Blocks, Lincoln Logs and Legos – we are given things to build with. These toys have many pieces. Jigsaw puzzles have many pieces but they are part of building in a different fashion. Our childhood development with jigsaw puzzles involves putting pieces together and making things fit.
Whether we realize it or not – building things and putting pieces together are the fundamentals we need for problem-solving as adults.

I saw a toddler in a stroller THROW a block directly from where he was sitting and he threw it hard. While it didn’t hit me, it did hit a little girl in the ankle. I had to wonder if the toddler was simply ‘fed up’ with building, or merely got ‘impatient’ with the idea that building seemed ‘for nothing.’

This made me think. Sometimes we don’t have the tools we need to solve what we need to solve when we need to solve it. And sometimes we end up giving up before we begin.

This is human. There is a see-saw. One side of it is patience. The other seat is taken up with skill or sometimes leaves us sitting on the ground because the seat across from us is empty – without skill, because we haven’t developed it yet.
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes we’re missing pieces to complete the picture. Life is like a building in an earthquake. Sometimes life crumbles, but we have a chance to rebuild again after we rediscover ourselves under the rubble, dust ourselves off and begin anew.

Our success comes from accepting the missing pieces. These pieces can be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the absence of a friend, or a broken heart. The missing piece could be the unknown future of hope, inspiration, dreams and goals. It depends on how you look at the picture … is there a hole there? Or is it merely room for new things to appear.

This perspective is the glue. And while some blocks just don’t add up until we’ve actually been around the block for awhile to gain experience, depth, life experience, joy and sorrow to become stronger….we can still have fun in the meantime.

Learning to use the skills we have, wherever we are in life is the key to appreciating where we’ve come from and how far we’ve grown. It’s also about refinement and polishing skills we took for granted, taking them to a whole new level.

So the next time you feel ‘stuck’ while you’re building your life or feel as if there is something missing from your life’s jigsaw – just remember to ‘toy’ with what pieces you already have. You’ll not only end up learning something more about yourself, but you’ll realize that sometimes all you need is already there.
And THAT is something to really build upon.
© 2010 Queena Verbosity 100% Real Words
Media Monster Communications, Inc.
Stacey Kumagai