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 There are links to my etsy shop and new design portfolio once you’re there.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day.



Last weekend, I took this recent painting that I finished to Portland Saturday Market. It was encouraging that it attracted a lot of people to my tent. One fellow painter stopped in to pay me a compliment and also said that I should paint more. There’s a couple more paintings in the works right now, but figuring out ways to make a living as an artist continues to be a riddle to be solved.

The veterans of the Market whom I befriended all seem to be looking forward to summer months when seemingly thousands of tourists will pour in and make all the physical labor of setting up weekly shop worth its while. All my fingers got pretty jacked up from last week’s panel building. One of the panels promptly fell apart while I was transporting it to the assigned spot on Sunday. Never a dull moment.

Anyone who paints seriously will tell you that selling your art should not be the main focus of your efforts. You should consider galleries, juried shows and seek out grants or residencies…. Yeah, I know… I’ve been avoiding the idea of a “day job” like a plague, because it can really deplete your energy from making art among other demands that come with the territory, but lately, I miss the regular paychecks and being able to buy things that I need without thinking about ways to stretch my budget. Sigh… Such is life, I suppose.

It’s interesting that this painting, along with a few others that I’m currently working on seems to reflect my internal struggles and longings. I don’t think I’ve ever asked myself as frequently as I do these days, “do you really believe in yourself?” Everything seems to hinge upon that one question, including finding that true place to which no known map can seem to guide me.

IMG_8421So what I used to love about Rose Bowl, as in Rose Bowl Pasadena, is that no matter how lazy I felt, as long as I showed up, I’d at least get a honest three-mile-run out of it. The combined circumference of the stadium and its adjacent golf course is approximately 3.1 miles. You show up and start putting one foot in front of the other and…you get the idea.

Portland Eastbank Esplanade which is a bike/pedestrian path along Willamette river has now become my Rose Bowl. From Hawthrone Bridge to Steel Bridge and back gives you a little over 3 miles along the breathtaking river front. Running it after sundown makes it even more memorable. It is a stark contrast to Rose Bowl for many obvious reasons, but I love it that it offers me the motivation to get out and get a little exercise in before the demands of life consumes my day.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about working parents. I only have myself to look after really, still, I often get overwhelmed by my daily deadlines and schedule. I have no clue how they manage their careers AND raise children. Super humans indeed. I certainly hope that they have their own versions of Rose Bowls and Esplanades in their town. I am so thankful for mine.

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Things definitely have picked up on etsy front due to Mother’s Day shopping. I’m offering 15% off coupon to my FB fans and Nomadicles readers. Finally spent a decent amount of time building my ecommerce site and designing Portland specific brand items for my shop. It is exciting that I will finally have my own online shop independent of etsy. Please stay tuned for that. Hope everyone’s well.


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I took these photos from Lan Su Chinese Garden. I had guests this past week, and my neighbor who became a good friend over these months, graciously gave me passes to the garden for me and my sister to enjoy. I was surprised to walk into such a tranquil space in the heart of the bustling city. Reminded me of Gyeongbok (don’t worry about proper pronunciation) Palace in Seoul, except that the palace is way bigger and actually used to house kings and queens in its heyday, and obviously, dates back to many hundred years.

Between my friend from Northern California and my sister – who were here to celebrate their respective birthdays with me – there was a lot of dining out. It made me realize that I haven’t done a whole lot of eating out since moving to Portland, and despite some innovative dishes by chefs here, I couldn’t help but missing some of Downtown LA restaurants and subsequently feeling like a snob. Talk about the first world problems.

I don’t know since when, but my weekends and weekdays have morphed into one and the same thing. I often go to jewelry studio on Friday nights to work. I set up shop at Portland Saturday Market on most weekends. I’ve been feeling detached from “Happy Fridays” and “TGIFs” from my friends for some time now, though I appreciate where they’re coming from. It’s actually nice to be free from the idea that the weekends have to be something special. In fact, I hadn’t even been acutely aware of this change in my life until this week. I guess this is what happens when you move to a city where you don’t know a single soul. Well, kinda. Now I know a few.

A lot of work ahead. I’m already thinking about the end of the year and the impending production needs for my etsy shop. I definitely will need help this year, but I don’t even know when would be the right time to plan for that. Between now and then, there are some key events that need to take place, and it’s odd to be standing at this juncture in time and looking many months out — equal amounts of known and unknown factors. Speaking of time, May is right around the corner. Who stole my first half of the year?

I have a friend who operates her own business in New York city. She said to me not too long ago, that even if I don’t want to, there will come a point that I will have no choice but to allocate some of my responsibilities to a hired help, in order to grow and expand. Well, I think about that a lot lately, and it is so laughably ironic, because I don’t make enough money even just to consider having employees. There will be that tipping point though. I could almost taste it. Until then, I’ll have to remain open and stay flexible. I can’t afford to be rigid. It’s hard to correct stubbornness. Anyone who knows me well can tell you a lot about that.


In you are the first causes of all things not eternal, the unchangeable origins of all things that suffer change, the everlasting reason of all things that are subject to the passage of time and have no reason in themselves. —Confessions, Saint Augustine

I’ve moved around a lot. I’ve mastered the art of traveling light. I’m not materialistic, so there are no costly things that I carry around. All these moves that I’ve made sifted out anything unnecessary from already a light load. I even gave away all my Shakespeare plays. I might regret that at some point.

The other day, I looked at a handful of things that I hold dear to my heart. Things that I always make sure to remember where I keep them. Do you sometimes forget where your valuables are because you’ve hidden them so well? I’ve done that too. Of those valuables, there are four items that I don’t mind disclosing here. Three of them are personal notes from two friends and one glamorous sage — yes, there is such a person — whom I semi-worshipped. The last but not least is this beat up book that I’ve read in an English class from college — Confessions. Have you read it? It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. I sometimes find it more beautiful than the Bible.

I started reading it again recently, now the faded yellow pages with that old book store smell. It’s underlined and highlighted from the beginning to the end from my first reading of it from way back when. Even this second time around, I had to force myself to put it down, because I had to get to work.

I’ve learned that true friends emerge through test of times. So do personal treasures. What remained after all these years, all these jobs, all these phases in life. I guess for me, it’s the life giving words that are spoken(written) to me by people that I respect, some who know me and one in particular who doesn’t. Or does he?

It’s the words. My first love. Imagine the frustration that I’ve experienced as a verbose Korean kid who had to learn a whole new language at a time when her parents were unavailable to help as many immigrant parents were because they themselves were in the throes of things. Anyway, that’s a whole other thing that should be addressed more respectfully and appropriately.

I like where I am these days. I feel more in my body. My mind works better. I can now objectively take stock of what is important in life, my life. I love my treasures and I love my few dear friends who emerged like refined gold. I feel rich.


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