Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mojo Mantra

We can probably all agree that there are times in our lives when the world is just too overwhelming. We may feel like there is absolutely nothing we can do to change the circumstances, but what we can do is change our mind. We must remember that WE are the creators of our destiny and our outcome in life is up to us.

Here is the Mojo Mantra that Jason and I practice when we feel like the burdens of the world are too heavy a cross to bear. Maybe it can lighten your load, as it has for us so many times.

(Deep slow breaths in through the nose out through the mouth)

First, visualize being in the place or environment that you feel most comfortable.

Then, repeat in your mind the following words in whatever order, but repeat them over and over again until you feel solid:














Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's Growing!

I am still practicing my knitting and now the project is GROWING! It's so cool to see something start to appear after only a few rows. I've decided to practice with one whole skein of yarn and then tackle a real project. I have been teaching myself decreases, because I think I inadvertently added some increases?! All of a sudden I realized that my project was getting wider than the needles it was on. If I kept up at the pace I was going, I would have been off the needles after a couple of more passes. This may not make sense and it may not even be the case (inadvertently adding stitches) but since I don't have anyone to look at it and tell me, I will stick to my hypothesis :-)

Here's what I've done so far...

What's the easiest first project? Scarf, hot pad?

I'd like to do something super cool, but I'd also like it to look nice and be something that I could give to a friend or wear myself. Suggestions are welcome! (And any additional ideas about how I accidentally added stitches would be appreciated.)

Now, off to the "beach" -- it's kinda weird to be heading to the beach when it's SNOWING outside. I guess that's why Oregonians refer to it as the "ocean" here and not the "beach."

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Addicted to Knitting

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was Smitten with Knittin'. Well, I decided to sit down today and teach myself to knit. I started around 1pm and then around 8pm, Jason had to convince me to just put the knitting down. I never knew how addictive this stuff could be! My right hand is killing me.

Here's how I got started.

I just watched a few videos online at and used some step by step instructions from here.

I have to admit, it is pretty difficult to watch a video on the computer and follow along knitting. Mainly, trying to pause and rewind while you have the needles halfway in position. I think learning from a person would be the way to go, if you have the option.

This is what I have so far.

I did the knit stitch over and over then decided to try the purl stitch for several rows. Then, I alternated rows -- knit, purl, knit, purl. You can see how the pattern changes.

Well, my hand is all crampy. I'll keep you posted on how this thing turns out. So far it's wiggly and curly, just like I predicted!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Experiment in Letting Go

Tonight we did an experiment in letting go. We both simultaneously created new works from past works. I did it with words while Sarah did it with paint. Here's the end product.

Constant Edit

Pull focus

Focus & Interest

Bring the background into the foreground changing the image.
Imagine one having to gaze past what had been the background.

A necessary lesson, embracing change.
Take the preciousness out of the work.
It’s absolutely essential and not at all at the same time.

It’s about the journey/process not the end product/destination.
Be willing to let it become something else all together.

Building upon what is already there.
Everything is material.
Everything is layers.

Everything is connected.

Everything is nothing.


It’s perfect because it’s not.

Life convulsing, morphing, shaping, evolving becoming a wonderful lesson applied to all.

Art as a compass.

Train yourself to see the layers, to pull your focus and rearrange what’s there to view the multitudes of expression.


Something can always be anything except/accept nothing.

Change the structure without moving the foundation.

See beyond the foreground — landing on the “minute particulars” of the background — interchanging the two 2. If you apply this to your work (of any kind) at least once 1 (dare to take the leap), you’ll never be this again, you’ll never see anything the same again. You will champion curiosity, imagination and heart.

Lessons in the letting go.


At minimum all this is a necessary step in the evolution of artists and scientists alike.

People, humans, being.

An ineffable truth you must witness for yourself. Searching for a missing camera to take a picture of the crash. Be brave enough to abandon tradition.

Clay ovens to distant pyramids.

Pure & unassuming, following a narrow channel beyond which colorful strokes were piling up with multiple density.

We have only to capture them.

The infinite reserves of new combinations and space. Invisible triangles of geometry.

Her’s is a luminous vortex bounded in a nutshell, actual and undiminished. Occasionally visited by Oblivion.

The door opens to no one there. Stuff piled in the middle of the room. Boxes, clothes, suitcases and letters everywhere. Cluttered, ornate and weird, but it makes sense too. Disappearing into the main highway. The blood climbing back into our veins. Getting back together in silence, she gives me colors. All I can give her is words.

A pulsating apparatus, but warmer than that.

Now we introduce Constance and Edi.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ode to Clancy

Since this blog is all about chronicling our creative processes and inspirations, I'd like to mention my greatest muse -- Clancy.

I think we can all agree that our furry friends can sometimes be our greatest inspirations. Not only with art, but with our every day living. They are unconditionally supportive and forever entertaining. This is definitely the case with our little white pooh dog, Clancy. He sleeps and sleeps...and sleeps some more, but if ever he senses sadness or distress, he's right there to lick your tears or give you a loving nudge with that gigantic truffle-black nose.

This dog is more worldly than most people I know. He's lived in 6 states, crossed the country 3 times and played in all the oceans that touch the U.S.

He's been through so much with me over the last 8 years (and with Jason for the last 4) that sometimes I feel like he is a little white angel watching over us.

I love this guy so much that I wanted to immortalize him, so one of the first paintings I did was a portrait of Clancy.

As you may have noticed, portraits aren't really my thing. But if ever a subject to paint a portrait of, he's it. (I don't think I was too far off the mark.)

And as much as we love Clancy, he loves his hippos. He's had the same 5 stuffed hippos since he was just a puppy and goes around counting them all the time to make sure he has all his "babies."

So dearest Clancy -- our friend, protector, and confidante -- we love you and thank you for always loving us (even when we aren't so lovable). You truly demonstrate the meaning of unconditional love and are an inspiration to us all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Petaling Art

For several years, I have been drying bouquets of flowers and then saving the dried petals in shoe boxes. Now I have tons of boxes of dried flower petals and I don't know what to do with them. They don't smell like potpourri, like you would think, so that's not an option.

Jason and I tried an experiment that we called "Petaling Art." We used the dried petals affixed to a canvas with matte medium, hot glue, and melted candle wax, which we called Allergy Attack (because we were covered with pollen and sneezing up a storm by the time we finished). I think we may be on to something here but it didn't quite turn out as I had hoped.


First, I start with a beautiful bouquet of grocery store flowers. We enjoy the flowers in a vase until they begin to droop. Then, I pull off the excess leaves, tie the bunch together with string or a rubber band, and hang them from the cord on our mini blinds while they dry. (This has proven to be a good, out-of-the-way place to keep them.)

After a couple of weeks the flowers will be completely dry.

Once they're dry, I cut the flowers off and discard the stems. Then I save the flowers in shoe boxes because they aren't airtight so molding won't occur. Even the silica packs are helpful to eliminate the last bits of moisture.

Now, the question is, what the heck do I do with all these dried flowers? Any suggestions would be appreciated (you can even leave an anonymous comment). I really enjoy this process and having tons of organic material on hand. They're so pretty and it gives me a great excuse to always have a bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen table. But it's very frustrating to not know what I can DO with them. There must be something...come on all you creative minds out me out!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Smitten with Knittin'

Recently, I have been obsessed with all things hand-knitted and especially the process of felting. I'm not a knitter, yet, but I have decided that it is the next creative outlet I would like to explore.

My grandmother taught me how to knit once when I was very young, about 7 or 8. I made a 4 inch by 6 inch wiggly, curled-up little scarf/hotpad thing. It was multiple pastel colors from a yarn I found in the depths of her basement. After a few weeks of working on a baby blanket for my cousin, I grew bored of it and started to think blow darts and WWF were really cool.

So that's my history with knitting. I have decided to revisit it, anew. If you have ever just walked into a crafts store and thought, "Maybe I'll try knitting..." you'll understand my initial dilemma. There are so many types of yarns and needles and patterns. All the example projects look so nice and easy, like this felted flower I saw. But when I read the pattern, it was more like a code...1st row: (RS). (K1.K1tbl) twice. K1. 5 sts. Work 3 rows in reverse stocking st. Wha?

Luckily, my SIL (mom, grams -- that stands for sister-in-law) Diana is a master knittress and gave me much needed and appreciated guidance on how to get started without breaking the bank.

Jason and I went to the Craft Warehouse near our house and I acquired a pair of 13" bamboo needles, size 9. (I don't know how I chose 9, except that a lot of the cute samples, like booties and hats, used anywhere from 8 to 10 so I split the difference.) I also got some on-sale multicolor wool yarn which is good for felting, if I advance to that level.

Now that I have the gear, I'm not sure what I'm going to make first, but I imagine it will turn into another wiggly, curled-up scarf until I get the feel for it.

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Pacific Northwest Collection

Well, this is the first installation of my new Pacific Northwest Collection -- "Northwest Juicy."

I like to think of all the paintings I did in California as the California Collection because they were all inspired by things that I saw or did while we lived in L.A. Therefore, now that we live in the Pacific Northwest, I am finding myself inspired by a whole new realm of things, hence the need for a Pacific Northwest Collection.

Here are some pictures of my creative process.

First, the background...

then a new color pallet for each element...

add some basic building blocks...

and branches for the leaves to live on...

(If you notice, there are some elements that just don't make the final cut. Like the yellow house and the insane bush I was painting in the picture above is now a dirt stairway to a secret place in the picture below.)

put some leaves on those trees...

and VOILA ... Northwest Juicy is complete!

Did you know it takes about 50 years for an oil painting to be considered completely dry!?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Rose

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I think often about the changes a person goes through in this journey we call life. I wonder, if because we change along the way, does that make us a different person?

We get married and change our names -- are we still the rose we were before the legality of name change? If we keep our names, does that ensure that we will stay that person forever?

When we grow and learn and gain experience, can we even recognize ourselves after the transformation? Can others understand or accept who we have become? If we met our future selves, would we like them? Do we like who we are now?

So many questions with so few answers. It feels like I reassess who I am on a daily basis and only create more questions for which there are no answers. I have dreams of former friends and they don't like who I am now. Is that me not liking me, or is that just a heightened awareness that change has taken place?

Or are we just products of centrifugal distortion?

The effect of centrifugal distortion is to destroy the constant separation of the spectral lines. Separations increase line spacing in one half of the spectrum and decrease it in the other.

I think this is the case with me. Part of me thinks I am the same person I've always been, but reflections and refractions prove that there is another part of me that varies from the original product -- be it an illusion or actuallity.

So many amazing people have floated in and out of my life. It makes me wonder if I tried to reunite with them, would they be the same or a distortion of the person I knew before. Everyone changes, and I won't deny that fact, but as we change, does the name stay the same? Once we are distorted, are we disconnected forever. Has the constant separation of the spectral lines destroyed the rose, or just what we see when we look at the rose?

Monday, January 05, 2009


Yet another artistic endeavor that is pursued under the JaSar umbrella is writing. Jason IS a writer. I write, sometimes.

Today, it is with great pride that I announce another accomplishment by JaSar -- another step towards living the dream.

Drum roll please...

Jason sumbitted his novella, Prose and Cons (a confession) and his short story, The Christmas Pickle to The Paris Review for publication consideration today.

This is a monumental step for Jason, as he has been writing all his life to lead up to this moment. It takes a lot of courage to write something -- putting your heart and soul into it --and then send it out to be looked at, read and judged by strangers -- the best of the best. To wait and wait for a response -- good or bad -- you wait. And Jason has done it.

The Paris Review is the first place we are submitting to because it has published so many phenomenal authors in it's history. It would be a humbling honour to be published in the same journal as Burroughs, Faulkner, Borges, Miller, Heller and T.S. Eliot (to name a few).

The submissions will be frequent and plentiful now. There was just a barrier that had to be broken, a child that had to be released, and a soul that had to heal before this treasure would submit. After all, Prose and Cons isn't just a novella, it's a confession. His voice finally caught up with him.

You can all look forward to more literature by Jason Berthume real soon. He is currently working on another project. I can't say much about it, because we wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, but we can tell you that it is quite untowardly.

Jason -- I am so proud of you. You are my hero and I love you.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What is JaSar?

Many people have asked us, "What is JaSar?"  I will attempt to paint the picture here the best I can.


These days JaSar is best described as the union between Jason and Sarah. It's love, art, writing, hobbies, oddities, crafts, photography, and our other plethora of interests. This blog has evolved since it's beginning into mainly an online journal for Sarah to walk on the edge of what is comfortable and safe. To say things that may not be right, but yet don't deserve to be written off as wrong.

Previously, when we lived in L.A., we thought JaSar would actualize itself into an entertainment venue space. We had concrete dreams for all of it (outlined below). However, now that we live in Oregon and realize that there is land and wide open spaces to build and dream and frolic and romp, we see JaSar as an art farm. A simple, yet complex endeavor.

First step - acquire around 50 acres of land (yes that's a lot but we don't want a Home Depot next door as soon as we put in the first crop).

Start with some kind of house, doesn't have to be permanent but must provide strong shelter, warmth, and plumbing/running water but not much else.

Next start a CSA - In basic terms, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

The CSA will provide food for ourselves as well as a form of revenue.

While we are setting up the CSA, we will also be putting up an art barn. This will be a huge building of some sort that can be part art studios used for teaching and practicing different media along with an area for healing classes such as yoga, T'ai Chi, and mindful meditation.

Eventually we hope to add a bed and breakfast, bungalows, and tent area for people who want to stay on the premises. Our vision includes characteristics of a retreat from the stresses of life with the opportunity to learn, heal, and work the land as a community.

We also have high expectations of our ability to provide sustainable energy to our art farm. We have dreams of hydro-electric power, wind power, and solar power.

There are so many other aspects that we add to the dream it would be impossible to capture them all here. Plus they change all the time (as you can see with the old declaration of intent below) but that is okay, because the only thing in life that is constant - is change.

First and foremost, JaSar is a dream. A dream that Jason and I started having as soon as we met. Our dream starts with a venue (the "Playhouse") which will be comprised of a performance space, an art gallery, a retail crafts store, an online music, film, and literature database resource, as well as a back-end office where the administrative magic will happen.

Let's break it down a little further...


It's a combination of our names, Jason and Sarah. Pronounced Jah-Sahr. JaSar is short for JaSar Productions which is the official business name. It has been registered and DBA'd through the United States government. As soon as JaSar starts making money, we will get an official Employer Identification Number. So, JaSar is a legitimate business.


Since we have so many different interests and talents that fall into the artistic realm, JaSar is the catch-all for these.

The Playhouse
One thing we have noticed about the art scene in America these days is that there is a great need for venues. And I don't mean coliseums or stadiums, but small cheap open-minded venues. A place where artists of all kinds can do their thing. We want to provide a location for musicians, classical artists, playwrights, puppet shows...basically anything creative that people are doing.

The idea is that the other endeavours we embark on will cover the overhead for the Playhouse. This way the artists can do their thing without having to worry about paying or bringing in enough money to cover the costs of the production.

In our dream, this venue will be an old theater downtown with extra space for offices, a gallery, and a retail storefront.

The Art Gallery
I have been doing a lot of oil painting over the last couple of years and would love to have a place to show my work. I'm not as interested in selling my art as I am in sharing my art. I believe there are many other artists with the same feeling and we would love to be able to give their treasures a nice home away from home.

The Retail Crafts Store
Jason and I share a love for arts and crafts and working with our hands to create things. We have a zillion ideas for crafts that we can make and sell (clothes, jewelry, pet accessories, furniture, and the list goes on). We also have a large collection of vintage literature that could go in the store. We would also love to be able to provide a place for other artists to sell their work on commission.

The Online Music, Film, and Literature Database
We have such an extensive music, film, and literature collection (not really a collection because we use these items on a regular basis and don't just leave them in plastic bags, not to be touched) that we want to be able to share these things with others, but for a small fee. We will even provide consultation. For example, if the music supervisor for a production needs a certain piece of music for a segment, but they don't know exactly what, Jason can advise them. We know this is a half-baked idea because copyright laws and permissions are tricky, but that's why it's a dream, right?

The Control Center
Every business needs a "Control Center" for the administrative side of things, so that would be a part of the Playhouse as well. Just a few offices upstairs and a studio for creating.

Living the Dream
Little by little and piece by piece we are making the JaSar dream a reality. We have the JaSar Podomatic website, a shop on Etsy, and now this blog. As we build a virtual business, we are working on acquiring a physical space for our dream. We are looking for an old, small, hundred-seater theater with space for all the previously mentioned components. The icing on the cake would be a space that we could live in as well...a nice little apartment on the back of the theater, or maybe an old house next door.

Whew! That was tough. It's much easier to think about these things, than actually addressing them and putting it on cyberpaper. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what we are trying to do under the broad umbrella that we call JaSar.

Friday, January 02, 2009

To blog or not to blog...

...that is the question.

Jason and I have been debating amongst ourselves, for awhile, whether or not we are ready to blog it all out for the whole world to see. But the new year brings new disciplines to our life so we've decided, "Hey, why not just pull down our pants and expose it all?"

So here we are and here is the inspiration for the very first JaSar posting.

We woke up yesterday to another wet, Portland winter day and looked out the window at our backyard/lake and saw what we thought was the saddest dandelion family, ever...

Then it snowed on the poor little guys during the night...

...and froze them into an icy watery tomb.

Now they really are the saddest dandelion family, ever.

Tragic :-(