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“Benjamin Pratt is a fucking prick!!!”

I thought I was dreaming when I heard that and opened my eyes to see 1:25AM on the alarm clock. And then quickly gathered that a couple of very drunk men were having a major Benji-bashing session right outside my studio windows, all the while blowing pot smoke into my apartment. They went on in full pitch for another good 20 minutes or so, as I sat there in the dark corner typing and then deleting, typing and then deleting “911” on my iPhone, unsure whether this situation was cop-worthy or not. Why do people yell when they’re drunk? Eventually, they left but took my night’s rest with them. Sleep robbery, is there such a crime? That was this morning.

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It’s been quite an adjustment, these bright summer nights of Pacific Northwest. The record-breaking heat wave got me leaving the windows open when I go to bed, which in turn made me realize that a lot goes on at nights just outside my windows – from which these double-paned, energy-efficient, newly-installed Portland windows have obviously been sheltering me. Needless to say, the heat, the noises and the PNW night lights made a good night’s rest a very elusive thing for me lately.

After tossing and turning for a while, I gave up, got up, made coffee and then got the day rolling. It turned out to be a good thing, because I got to get a nice little 5-miler in before the rest of the neighborhood woke up.

I thanked the trees and summer flowers as I ran. Yeah, Portland has hot days too, but it also has these tall old trees and beautiful flowers, ever so soothing and refreshing. I’m already looking forward to fall.

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I have been consistently running 5 miles when I go out for a run as of late. It’s been fun to run in different direction each morning, discovering parts of my neighborhood that I haven’t seen before. It also helps me organize my thoughts and come up with a mental list of things to do for the day. As always, there is a lot going on. I have some out-of-town art festivals coming up in the near future. And the First Thursday in the Pearl is in full swing now, for which I have a seasonal spot. (Come out and say hello, if you’re in Portland.) It will be a busy summer of making, painting and selling. The big hustle.

I’ve been working on a commissioned project all week. It’s coming along beautifully. I feel like I owe it to running.

I’m seriously wishing for a quiet night tonight. Although, judging from how things had been, I doubt that my wish will come true. Hopefully, I’d be too tired to notice or care.

Freaking Benjamin Pratt… Why does he have to be such a prick?

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First there is summer solstice and then the heat wave. The latter is yet to happen, but I’ve heard 109 degrees forecasted for this coming Saturday. If I were still in LA, I would have cringed at the news and remained in perpetually dreaded state. I guess change is a good thing, because I am actually curious to experience my first heat wave in Portland. I hope the high temperature means more people getting out and filling the corners of Portland Saturday Market.

I’ve introduced my new painting – Sheltering Wings – last weekend at PSM. It was awesome to see reactions on people’s faces as they approached my booth and noticed this piece. Irony makes things memorable and naturally causes people to stop and talk instead of walking past with blank faces, deep in their own thoughts. I shook many hands and made some meaningful connections because of this painting. It was a satisfying weekend, and I am thankful.

“Mom, look! How can those butterflies carry that elephant? It’s impossible,” one super cute girl exclaimed. That made me think about my six months here in Portland. I came here fully convinced that I was supposed to do this – be here and make art – and yet met with some adversities and set backs that made things seem utterly impossible. I am still trying to overcome them. However, the progress that I’m making is real and the conviction that led me here is still unwavering. I know, I know, I know that things will work out. When you look for faith and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, they are found in clear, soft and gentle place in your heart. A place where you have to really quiet down to listen, because it is as silent as butterfly flying, but as sure as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar.

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So… I started running again. Well, I never really stopped running altogether, but acclimating to Portland kind of took me out of the discipline and made me a bit lackadaisical. Not sure if I will run a race any time in the near future, but would like to be more deliberate this time, and really focus on improving my pace.

I’ve been showing up to local group runs. They are all fast, or at least faster than me. It’s not like in L.A., where I’d usually find myself running comfortably in the middle of the pack. A lot of them that I got to talk to are also serious climbers or cyclists or REAL runners (oh, you know, those super humans who run sub-six-minute mile). I’m hoping just trying to be within 20 minutes behind them (if I could manage even that) would eventually turn me into a faster runner.

Portland summer so far has been gorgeous and just as sweltering at its peak temperature as L.A. is, but it cools off at nights so beautifully, it hasn’t brought the Ms. Grumpy out of me just yet. Here is a baffling situation though. The warmer weather got me go through my running gears, and I was able to find only one short sleeve shirt. I’ve been running in this one summer top and washing it after each run:

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I don’t know what happened. Did I give all my other short sleeves away when I took a bunch of things to Goodwill before I moved? How could I have managed with just this – training for several races on any given year in the recent past? Especially in Southern California? Doesn’t make sense. And to make the matter more ironic, look at the array of my long sleeves…

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Right? It’s enough to make you laugh. I could only theorize that I used to run mostly in the mornings in L.A., and so colder early temperature in dry climate must be more affecting than, say, places like Portland…? I don’t know.

In any case, hello my fellow running bloggers, I’m back at it again. Let’s see where it goes this time.

  
           Hi, I’m blogging from Boston from my iPhone. I got my sister to fly my nephew from LA to Portland. That same day I got him on a redeye flight with me to New York. I watched him go through ups and downs as I dragged him all over New Amsterdam as he’s new at traveling and still too young to endure through endless long walks that accompany visiting cities such as NY on a dime.

He just completed his junior year in high school, and it’s time to get serious about college. His first choice at this juncture is NYU, with curiosities about other schools in the said city, as well as Rhode Island School of Design.

If you are familiar with New England maps, I assume you’ve already drawn an imaginary line north from NYC to Boston based on what I just wrote.

Earlier today I was in Providence. I only had three hours of sleep last night in order to drive out from Manhattan at a decent time and get to RISD by 1PM today for prospective students info session. Even after close to a four-hour drive, I was as alert as I once was bout RISD, soaking up like a sponge everything that was shared about the school. But wait, my nephew is the prospective student, not I.

At the end of my own college application procedure way back when, I was left with two choices – UCLA and RISD. I chose UCLA. It was a win-win and lose-lose situation, because both schools were prestigious in their own rights, so I knew I’d miss out on something very unique and specific no matter what the choice.

So today, as I listened to the school’s inter-campus programs with Brown University, the rigorous studio disciplines, and the nation’s biggest art resource libraries that RISD boasts of, I  felt excited for my nephew and other students, regretful of some of my choices as a young artist and also felt extremely and genuinely motivated and inspired to get back to Portland and get immersed in my own studio work. 

Driving in Boston proved to be more nerve-wrecking than in Manhattan, so after this obviously long and exciting day, I’m tired as can be right now, but staying put to find out what finally goes down at the United Center, Chicago tonight. Come on, Blackhawks. 

The RISD visit was enlightening, because there was a lot of discussions about how the internet has changed both the traditional and commercial arts world. My nephew is reaching for a focus that is ahead of these schools but already in high demand in the real world – concept arts study for gaming as well as photography. Each school specifically talked bout “creating” your own major in light of rapid changes in the digital world that the students have to contend with. William just might have to create his own major. 

Oh, to be able to delve again into studies of arts with reckless abandon! When will I ever feel properly my age? Probably never.

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I’m happy to report that my original painting, True Places has gone home to an awesome collector in New York. He recently sent this picture that he took right after he framed it. So exciting to know that it’s been sold to a person who truly appreciates it.

Also, after having been asked numerous times at Portland Saturday Market for print version of this particular piece, I finally managed to make it available as prints.

It will fit 11×14 frames and printed on archival fine art paper with archival ink. For now it is available at PSM and on JoyChaStudio.com, but eventually, it will be posted on etsy as well, when I’m ready for a print shop.

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I forgot to reset white balance for my camera from my studio and ended up with some interesting colors on this photo. Cape Lookout was blazingly bright and in a full range of crystal blue, so you could imagine the shock when I loaded this up on my computer screen. However, this matches my mood these days more accurately making the camera setting seem less random of an incident.

Isolation and set backs — I’ve been here for some time now. Inner world and outer world seem to have no boundaries lately. Sometimes I feel like everyone around me could hear my private thoughts. And often I feel like my studio is filled with noises from my head. Does this worry anyone? Should I be concerned?

I now have a handful of good friends here. As I consider each person, they are so precious and fit me perfectly — each person, in very specific ways — it’s enough to make you believe in God. So despite the hardship that comes with choosing the path that I have chosen, I am grateful that I see confirmations on every corner including the endearing new peeps. I guess I am thick into it, this journey. I have no choice but to keep marching forward.

It kinda feels like you’re at about mile seventeen in a marathon. It’s that space where you feel a lot, mostly pain, but also have this certainty that you will make it. You have to. You came too far.

Here is a new whale painting that I just finished. It’s also posted on my website. My Joy Cha Studio website  which served as my online design portfolio all these years is now an ecommerce site. It was about time. It felt good to change things around. It felt right. You can now purchase my paintings and select jewelry on the newly restructured joychastudio.com. There are links to my etsy shop and new design portfolio once you’re there.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day.

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