Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Coffee Review: UCC Coffee Original Blend with Milk

After a bit of a dry spell of trying to find some new coffee, I was super excited when I stumbled across a 11.3 Floz (337ml) can of Original Blend UCC Coffee while at my local World Market store for bean paste filled mochi. It was an unexpected discovery but one I eagerly scooped up off of the shelf, tucked it into my arms with the other items I was carrying and scurried rather quickly from the back of the store to the cash register to pay for everything. After taking it home and sticking it into the fridge to chill, I waited patiently before I finally plucked the can from the depths.

Cracking the beverage open and taking a sip, my taste buds were greeted by the creamy smooth blend of coffee and milk. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no bitter initial taste or even bitter after taste. It was also a delight to discover that there was no added sweetness, which in many coffee drinks makes the beverage feel as if there was a sugary sludge going down the back of your tongue. Instead, there is actually no sugar at all in the drink which allows you to enjoy just the natural sweetness of the blend itself.

For those of you out there unfamiliar with UCC Coffee, the company itself was formed in 1933 in Kobe, Japan. Their website statesIn keeping with this founding spirit, we have constantly pursued ever higher levels of coffee quality, and so have become involved in all parts of the coffee production and supply chain, from cultivation and import of green beans to roasting and sales. Our products are not only sold within Japan but also exported to more than ten other countries. In markets across the globe, they continue to delight those who know and love coffee.” While I roamed to do some price checking, I discovered that you can order a can of the UCC Coffee with milk for $4.95 from Amazon.com . A bit steep for a single can of coffee especially when I paid in the $1.50 - $2.50 range which is about the same price for a small bottle of Starbucks coffee. I did discover that there is a site called foodservicedirect.com where you can order 24 cans for $45.65 and will ship in 3 days.  That would make each can $1.90 which is completely reasonable for the size and quality of the drink. Of course due to the fact that the shipment would be about 22.06 lbs ( 9.98kg) and shipping cost (an additional $26.19 depending on your location), your total would end up being $71.84. In retrospect, not exactly the best way to go if you're on a tight budget. My suggestion is that if you're interested in trying this, go to your local World Market. If you don't have one in your area, it might be best to do a little research to see if there is a specialty food store that carries it. Of course, if you're in Japan, then you can easily locate a can to sample. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Collaboration with Rebecca Tripp - part 10

It has been a while since I've heard from my friend Rebecca until recently when I sent her a message asking if everything was alright. To my surprise, the musical young woman responds and apologized to me for not getting to me sooner due to recovering from an emergency in concerns with her back. I was completely shocked and worried about her health but was happy that she was healing up. We both knew that she still had several more art music videos left to go on her list but I told her to take her time so as not to cause herself more harm then what she was already dealing with. I wasn't expecting her to get back to work on her project any time soon so was pleasantly surprised when she sent me a message earlier today with her newest video.

While listening to Lily of the Valley, the gentle waltz gave me a sense of fantasy. Actually the first thing that came to mind was the English opening for the anime Record of Lodoss War titled Now and Fortune ~Flame and Eternity~ and the Japanese opening to it's continuing story line Record of Lodoss War – Heroic Knight titled Kiseki No Umi . Oddly enough, Rebecca's newest work also made me think of some of the themes that were used in the movie Legend (1985). The delicate tune continued to bring to mind fanciful beings in strange foreign landscapes, the entire daydream I had being shattered over my annoyance that YouTube was not allowing me to share the video as I have done several times before. So in my stubbornness,  I made the title of the video have the link so it would be just like how I share other bits of source information (to my readers, I apologize but I was starting to snarl at both of my computers by this point). 
"Season Card - Spring"

Looking through the video at the various works of the collective artists she was featuring this time around, I couldn't help but be slightly amused over the fact that I realized that my dear friend had decided to use one of my older pieces Season Card - Spring which I had done back in 2008. Originally done as part of a brainstorming attempt to come up with designs for greeting cards that would show the seasons through nature, I look at it now and compare it to my newest works only to realize how much my style and technique has evolved within only a 5 year period. 

If you would like to see more from Rebecca and give her a message, here's where you can find her work:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Collaboration with Quixotic Magazine

Towards the end of January, my dear friend  Kchrysalis had announced on her Facebook account that she had been able to have some of her art accepted into a magazine which had a Call for Artists that they could show in their very first issue. Wondering what she was talking about, I went to the magazine's page and read the information they had up. I'm not sure what inside of me came up with the thought of “Eh why not? Don't have anything to loose”. This especially was a surprise to when at the time I was working on at least 4 projects and when I read the due date there was only 5 days left before they were going to stop accepting entries. Sending an email with my entry and examples of my work, I was surprised to see a response in my inbox that evening from the Creative Director. Thus the small adventure of getting into a magazine had begun.
"Chinese New Year"

From what I can understand, Quixotic Magazine was created in hopes to spotlight a handful of artists in each issue with a mini interview in of each person. So with each issue they plan on doing, they hope to have a theme. Chatting with the Creative Director via email conversations, I was completely understanding that since the magazine was brand new that I would have to purchase my own copy. The price itself ($16.99) totally reasonable and though shipping suggested 1 to 2 weeks to be delivered, I received mine in about 5 days. Flipping through my shiny new issue, I was amused over the fact that instead of being put into the painting category I was placed into the drawing category instead. With how I paint, it's something that I'm used to so I wasn't upset at all. Another little thing that made me laugh was whoever was in charge of typing the things up had my middle name with a double R instead of a single one. This is yet another little quirk I've become used to for the simple fact that I had a grandmother who would write my name in such a way along with some other people. Even with the few minor things, it was a pleasure to be a part of this issue. It also wasn't until I noticed that another artist I know, Tom McKeith, was able to make it into the issue as well which was a delightful surprise. 
"Moving Waters"

The pieces that they decided to use were Chinese New Year (2011), Moving Waters (2009), and Sultan's Prize (2012). It made sense to me that among the small grouping of pieces I sent in for consideration that they chose were some of my most intricate pieces that I have done to date. The other piece I had sent in with the grouping was Tail Lights (2010) which is a series of 3 small black and white paintings of the tail lights of classic cars. 

If you're interested in purchasing a copy of the first issue or what to keep up on other new announcements, here's the information:

magcloud.com: Issue 1 (Prints - $16.99, Digital - $4.99) 

"Sultan's Prize"

The other artists also featured in this issue are:
Photography - Chris Epperson, Kayleigh Shawn, Tay Voye 
Paint - Kchrysalis, Tim Dreamweaver, Emerald Barkley
Photography/Stencil - Emilio Benitez
Make-Up - House of Winter
Hair - Shicole Brittain
Poetry - Caylor Alcouffe, Chris Lewis
Illustration -  Raina Dayne, Tom McKeith
Drawing/Model - Kristie California

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Patience with Paper

papercut by Sarah Trumbauer

Since I have been so busy as of late, I decided to look back through some previous posts that were shared by My Modern Met, a website which features the art of various artists around the world. One small article that caught my attention was titled Enchantingly Intricate Papercuts Inspired by Fairy Tales, featuring the work of paper artist Sarah Trumbauer. Jianzhi, or commonly known as Chinese paper cutting, has been around since the Eastern Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The practice of carefully cutting intricate designs into paper was adopted by surrounding countries by way of trade routes and each location used their own imagery. The art itself takes time, patience and a steady hand in order not to inadvertently cut something incorrectly and have to start from the beginning. While looking through the article at Sarah's beautiful pieces of carefully cut work, I remembered that recently I have come across other paper artists on deviantART.

"Stencil' by Kristappeniers
A traditional artists from Belgium, Kris does have some paintings and drawings within his gallery but perhaps the most eye catching of his works are his papercut pieces such as Papercut25 which is based off of Hepburn and Papercut21 that is based off of a client's portrait. Many of his pieces are large scale, perhaps at least 26 x 32 inches in size, which he often paints black with acrylic paint. 

'papercutout' by ikarusmedia

Mostly a digital artist, Rafael SaldaƱa does have a few traditional pieces on display which include papercrafts such as his piece rilakkuma black metal-rocks. With a balance if intricate angles and simplistic designs, it seems only appropriate that he does have at least one papercut piece in his collection of pieces.

'light stencil' by OftenSaid

An anonymous artist who seems to specialize in papercut pieces, their works range in subject matter from organic curves such as those found in their Large Scale Papercut to abstract angled designs like those in Weathering the Storm.

'Night Before Christmas pop up' by Himmapaan
Himmapaan.deviantart.com (United Kingdom)
Illustrator and traditional artist from the UK, Niroot P takes papercut to a whole new level by creating pop up story books and cards which are just as breath taking as their illustrated works.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March shows & venues

I have been getting asked lately as to where people can come and see my work so I thought that I would give some updates as to where I have pieces hanging this month. Of course this is completely as to what I know at the moment so there's no telling if any last minute things may come up.

Blue Moon Gallery
We proudly present the Post-urbanentropy show with our featured artists Brandy Alexander, Brock Alexander and Javier Torres. We invite you to come and see their works which blend urban street art imagery with emotionally charged concepts resulting powerful pieces. The Second Saturday Artist Reception is March 9th from 6-9pm with the show continuing until April 6th.

Blue Moon Gallery
2353 Albatross Way
Sacramento, CA 95815
Facebook: BlueMoonGallery

My work that is at the gallery this month is Royal Elegance, Whispering Sweet Nothings, and Trumpet Tuner.

Elk Grove Fine Arts Center
This month the Laguna Creek High School International Baccaluaurete class, taught by Freddie Santana, is this month's featured artists along with numerous community artists displaying their work at the center for the next 2 months.

Elk Grove Fine Arts Center
9080 Elk Grove Blvd. in Old Town Elk Grove
Elk Grove, CA 95624
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11am-4pm

The pieces that I have in the art center (only for the month of March) are Red Passion and Memories.