Friday, September 28, 2012

Kergan Edwards-Stout - "Songs for the New Depression"

I want to introduce another guest artist who I attended high school with.  I have not seen Kergan since we graduated.  I don't want to say how long ago it has been as it will date us both.  We connected via Face Book and I look forward to seeing him at our next high school reunion.  I learned he has a beautiful family and has  written an inspiring novel Songs for the NewDepression.  I asked if he would write something for my blog to inspire other artists.  

Question:  What inspired you to become a professional writer?  When did you know and at what moment did you decide to take the plunge.

I’ve always been creative, even as a little kid. In 2nd grade, I was the one spraying pine-scented Glade into the audience, trying to establish the proper "forest" mood for my production of Snow White. Perhaps, to some, it would’ve been wiser to have spent less time on such "non-essentials" and more time rehearsing the actors. But in my view, it was far more important that our dwarves actually look the part, with dwarf-like shoes (i.e., slippers), than learn their dialogue. Who cares if little Billy knows his lines, if everyone looks on the stage and still sees little Billy?

For great art, you need the magic, the essence -- the scent -- more than anything else.

And while that passion for the arts never wavered, as I aged, I began to view my creative endeavors more as hobbies than vocations.  I was content directing other people’s scripts, reciting other people’s lines, and never quite believing that I had it in me to create a work from scratch.  Until my partner, Shane Sawick, died.  Suddenly, I was overflowing with thoughts and emotions which were entirely unique to me, and I began to put those thoughts onto paper.  The discovery that I had a unique voice was somewhat startling, as was the experience of allowing myself to feel each emotion as it occurred, but I continued to write, and ended up publishing my debut novel, Songs for the NewDepression, late last year. 

Inspired by my partner, the book follows a man facing death, attempting to make amends, and the biting humor within is a loving tribute to Shane.  Happily, the novel has been met with much acclaim and awards, including the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the LGBTQ category, and each positive review or note I receive from a reader tells me that I needed to take this step, and that my story resonates with others.  By finding that storyteller within, I discovered I had the strength and determination to take the plunge into writing as a profession, and it has been a rewarding ride.

I got an email one day from a reader who had loved my novel, but said, as much as he had a story of his own he wanted to tell, he felt that he’d never write it himself.  “Besides,” he said, “all the great stories have already been told.”  But I don’t believe that.  A wonderful epiphany occurs in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, when a disillusioned artist has the following exchange with his muse:

Dot: Are you working on something new?
George: No.
Dot: That is not like you, George.
George: I’ve nothing to say.
Dot: You have many things.
George: Well, nothing that’s not been said.
Dot: Said by you, though, George.

We all have stories to tell, and is our unique differences which bring new light and understanding to stories told before.  Find the “scent” within you, whatever makes you special, and share it with others. Only by sharing our stories and living authentically can we ever hope to change the world.

The debut novel of Kergan Edwards-Stout, Songs for the New Depression, was loosely inspired by his partner, Shane Sawick.  It recently won the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the LGBTQ category and was shortlisted in the same category for the Independent Literary Awards.   He writes regularly for Huffington Post, Bilerico Project, and LGBTQ Nation, as well as on his blog, KerganEdwards-Stout.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Actor Nathan Rahn

My guest actor/artist is Nathan Rahn.  I met him and fellow actors at the Hitachi commercial preview produced and directed by my friend James Marlowe.  The commercial was wonderful much like a short film with lots of cool special effects and comedy.  You go James!  The entire team did an incredible job and it was nice to meet the actors and staff who participated in the creation of this production!  I plan to post additional interviews from the rest of the cast and crew in the near future.
Thank you Nathan for being the first to participate!
Question:  What inspired you to become a professional actor? When did you know and at what moment did you decide to take the plunge. 

I've always been an actor, but it wasn't until I got out of the Navy and started college that it became apparent to me. It was during my first acting class in 2000 that I realized how much I enjoyed bringing emotion to others, performing in order to inspire. However, it wasn't until 2008 that I really took acting seriously.

After graduating with a Masters in Informatics, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was missing in my life.  I was not entirely fulfilled and yet I had a good job and great life in the Bay Area. Then it dawned on me the acting class I took years ago was one of my favorite experiences.  I had moved quickly towards a career path in psychology and computers and in this ambitious climb I had left behind that expressive part of me. I soon looked for acting classes in the Bay Area and finally found Billie Shepard. I telephoned and shared my story about the acting class I had taken years before.  She listened and told me I had always been an actor and invited me to an improvisation workshop with Alan Arkin. It was through Alan’s and also Billie’s other workshops that I made various connections that led me to the Bay Area Acting Studio and Sandy Meisner the founder of the Meisner Method who trained my acting coach Christy English. 

From there it was a whirlwind of activity.  I began auditioning for various parts, built my acting resume, and really started to understand myself and what I wanted to do with my new career. Before I knew it, I was in projects that got into film festivals and I was able to get an IMDb profile.  I was also able to do a project for which I became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. 

I am not content to wait and be "discovered" so I began working with other Bay Area actors and filmmakers to create films of our own and this permitted me to practice my craft as much as possible.

To learn more about Nathan Rahn visit his website and follow him on Twitter

Story submitted by Nathan Rahn

Posted by Kathy McCartney

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goodbye California Art Students....Maui is Calling

Click to enlarge photo. 
Kathy and student Ada age 4
Once upon a time and not too long ago, I taught drawing, acrylic and oil painting classes at "Art On the Lane" in Danville, CA.  June 24th was my last day at the gallery.  It was a tough call and sad day for me.  I had to make some life altering decisions.  Major changes and shifts happening suddenly in my life. 

In this blog I want to acknowledge my students and what I have observed being an art teacher.

Some of my students felt my art classes were good therapy for them.  I had one student say it was cheaper than seeing a therapist and it was fun to accomplish something creative at the same time.  I agree, creating art is healing. 

Click to enlarge photo
Alyssa age 16 self portrait
I have learned that some of my students had grown dependent on my art classes and did not feel comfortable starting with a new teacher.  I do hope the few students I am thinking of will one day give someone new a chance and consider the teachers I recommended.  Each art instructor has their own unique talent, gift, and personality. Each teacher has different knowledge to impart and expand the student’s awareness.

Click to enlarge photo.
Gianna  age 13 birthday
painting for her mother
It was a joy to teach art and for me the unexpected gift was to see my own art skills improve simply by creating with others!  One of my goals in class is to create a fun, easy going atmosphere to learn in.  I listen to the ideas my students have and what they want to create.  This pushed me beyond my own comfort zone and beyond my favorite subject matters.  My students and I copied images from other artist we admired.  And we painted subjects like animals, flowers, cityscapes, cartoon characters, and more.  It was my job to decipher, on the spot, the easiest way to paint and draw the chosen theme.

Click to enlarge photo.
Ada age 4 with her painting
of Mickey Mouse
When a student starts with me, we normally begin with a simple landscape.  I demonstrate and have the students follow my lead.  As each person gains independence and skill, I eventually have them paint their own subject or idea.  This is the stage where I offer guidance and direction and watch as they work more freely and independently.  Some students take longer to absorb the new concepts of painting while a rare few take off with only several classes.  It all depends on the learner’s innate artistic eye.  I do believe no matter the skill level of the individual if one has passion to discover something new, then they are half way to succeeding in that chosen endeavor.  
Click to enlarge photo.
Halie age 10 with
her two paintings
In painting, some of my new students have fear and self-imposed mental blocks that impede their learning.  My job is to help the student feel comfortable and get beyond their fears or ideas of perfection.  I give a pep talk, tell funny stories and cheer them on.  When they relax, the fun begins and the creative process is unleashed.  We overcome the mental obstacles together.  The student who learns quickly tends to have more confidence in themselves or simply approach the idea of painting fearlessly.  They do not hold high expectations of a perfect outcome knowing they are learning something new.  They are patient with themselves.  Most importantly to improve in art or any chosen discipline one must practice, practice, practice!  I encourage all my students to work with me in class but to also develop their skills at home.  You can practice sketching while waiting at a doctor’s office or sitting at your kid’s soccer game.  This will improve your artistic eye and develop your drawing skills.

Click to enlarge photo.
I have become good friends with a few of my students and parents.  I will miss seeing you on a regular basis.    I want to take the time to thank all my students for the opportunity to teach.  I appreciate your business, support, friendship, well wishes, and positive energy.  I enjoyed working with each and every one of you.  I will miss your enthusiasm and creative expression.

Because of my personal life change and circumstance I have decided this is a good opportunity to spend more time in Maui, HI.  I have my other business Maui Vision Rentals that I want to focus on.  I will better divide up my time between my two homes Hawaii and California.  I will return and teach in California part of the year and teach art workshops in Maui, HI.  I will be knocking on Maui gallery doors and you might see me painting on the beach creating new original ideas.

Click to enlarge photo.
I have attached a few pictures of my students in action and their lovely goodbye letters.  However, it is not really goodbye.  If you are ever in Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands be sure to contact me.  This new adventure is bitter sweet.  I leave with a heavy heart but look forward to the healing energy of the Hawaiian Islands and to new opportunities that will surely come.  Maui is calling me.

Click to enlarge photo.
I love this quote by unknown author:  "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."   This is a good place to be and live, beyond the ordinary.  Never give up on your dreams it is the spice in life.
Click to enlarge photo.
Kathy McCartney
MauiVision Rentals

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aloha! New Maui specials June through the end of August! Check the availability calendar for open dates only.  If you have further questions or would like to book one of the units below please call 925-876-4985 or fill out our contact form:
$85 per night unit C618 (1bed/1bath) ocean view

$75 per night unit C313 (1bed/1beth) partial ocean view

$99 per night unit D204 (1bed/1bath) ocean view

$85 per night nit C617 (1bed/1bath) ocean view

$110 per night unit C619 (2 bed/2 bath) ocean view

$110 per night unit D402 (2 bed/2 bath) ocean view

Thursday, May 31, 2012

MauiVision Summer Specials 2012


We are offering some great deals for the month of June and July 2012!  Airfares are competitive!  This is a good time for a Maui getaway!

Visit this LINK to view properties on sale, read the amenities, view pictures, and see availability calendar: 
You may click to enlarge the attached jpeg
To book any of the properties on special please contact us.

All my best,

Kathy McCartney

Friday, May 11, 2012

How do stage actors deal with stress?

Tony Grahn
I met Tony and his wife Manouk several years ago while in Europe.  We still remain long distant friends today.  I experienced several positive talks with Tony.  He is truly inspiring, calm, sensitive, and has a wonderful sense of humor.  He demonstrated some of his useful techniques on me and I found it very helpful! 

Introducing my friend Tony Grahn in his own words:

The pressures an actor experiences can be great.  An actor needs to remember many lines, sometimes up to 100 pages if you happen to be playing the main role. You need to remember when and how to react, where and when to move, and to be in character.  There is no time to take a break or stop and start again. You are “up in the air,” and you have to stay there.

As many other performers, I started my acting career as an amateur when I was around 20 years old. In the beginning, I was not really interested in theatre; I was more in it for the girls. However as time went on, I got more and more into the acting and my interest grew for the theatre, now I had both J.

After a few years, and a number of productions and workshops, one of my acting teachers told me that I should “go for it,” meaning, audition for the Swedish Acting Academy. I was inspired, and maybe for the first time felt I was good at something.  At the time, I was about age 25.  I had no real training behind me or any career that pointed to a clear future.  At this juncture of my life, I decided to become a professional actor! Now I experienced stress.  I applied to the National Acting Academy.  I was making a huge commitment. The intake or audition process was in four stages. Stage one, we were asked to give a 5 minute monolog in front of a jury of 7 prominent actors and directors. There were approximately 500 applicants applying for 12 places. In the first stage about half the candidates were dismissed.  Stage two, we were asked to do another monolog.  This test left about 50 young men and women who then went on to stage three, a weeklong workshop audition.   During this week we did many exercises working with text and scenes while always being watched by the jury who had their notebooks and pens evaluating our abilities. In the last and final phase, stage four, a group of 24 actors remained.  We took part in another two week long audition workshop. To be accepted by this academy was not easy.  It was very competitive.  I applied to this school three times over three years.  I always made it to the last stage but was only accepted on my fourth attempt.

A big part of my full-time acting training was given by Andris Blekte (1923-2007). Andris created a method for actors and performers to be able to stay relaxed and focused during performance. Participating in Andris’ studies was a life altering event for me.  I learned to become aware of unnecessary tensions in the muscles and release these tensions at discovery. Now, this may sound easy but his lessons were probably the most confronting lessons in the whole training. To really create awareness we worked three full days a week over a 6 week period, and the only thing we were taught to focus on was muscular tension/relaxation in different positions, from lying hours on a hard floor not moving, walking around in the room, and the most difficult lesson was to stand in front of a group, for maybe 30 minutes, being absolutely free from all tensions that were not needed and to keep standing with a relaxed face, chin dropped and mouth open. For the first time in my life I had the experience of being totally relaxed and at peace with myself.  I was in my power.  It was a presence I never felt before. I clearly remember saying to myself –“I will teach people this one day” it was calling me.

I completed my education at the Swedish Acting Academy and had the good fortune to have wonderful parts in a few Sweden productions.  One role was a one man show. Here I really could experience what Andris Blekte taught me. Performing a one man show is probably the most challenging an actor can take on. You are in direct contact with the audience and alone. The feeling I had sitting in the green room waiting for my start below the full restaurant can probably be compared with the feeling of sitting in an airplane waiting for the first solo parachute jump, I was very nervous and yet totally relaxed. I could feel the fear, but it was somewhere in the distance, not being able to take control over me. This was an effect of the intensive training with Andris. I had learned to respond to the situation.

Three years later, I left Sweden for London and took one year of director training at the Drama Studio London. The training included mostly practical work like directing scenes with the acting students.  Here I discovered that I loved working/coaching people to find what they could not see being able to do, to help people bring out the best in themselves.  

After school finished, I decided to stay in London as I had an offer to direct a comedy revue at the prestigious Canal Cafe Theatre.   After my success there, I continued to direct 5 more productions over a two year period and during this time, I knew that I wanted to teach actors what I learned from Andris but I never got around to doing it. Then one day I made a decision to “go for it” and I wrote a letter to the prestigious Actors Centre, a place where professional actors took classes in acting, singing, speech, movements...etc. They accepted my proposition to teach the class.  There were 10 actors enrolled for the one day workshop. This was another transforming day in my life. The class was a great success; although it was my first time, I tried to teach what I learned from my mentor. I recommitted to the decision I made 9 years before to teach Andris Blekte’s method.

I continued to give workshops to actors, and went on to help opera singers and classical musicians to perform with less tension and more presence and thereby guiding them to perform at their peak level.  Eventually I was led to take these coaching methods outside the “art” world and create workshops for business presentations, public speaking, communication...etc. The techniques worked with great success for anyone with social phobias.   

I once had a young woman as a client who had a history of mental illness.  She was in and out of hospitals and had taken many different medications.  She participated in one of my open workshops. On the first day I asked all participants to enter the room, go to their chair, and sit down while the rest of the class watched the 30 second exercise. Lena entered the room, stopped immediately and started to cry, she was absolutely terrified. To make a long story short, after three days she was standing in front of the group singing a song with a big smile.  To see this young woman get back to her power made me cry.

Another five years later, and having completed NLP training, I have developed a practical and powerful program for personal leadership, working with management teams and top executives to help them become more effective in communication, deal more powerfully with crisis and pressures, and most important, feeling happy in the midst of a turbulent business day.

I help competitive teams in golf to play more consistently and stay focused and relaxed in the stress of competition.

I specialize in helping people recover quickly from burnout and other stress related issues.

I work with teams as well as coach one-on-one.

The method is simple and very practical.  Participants learn from experience not an intellectual understanding. The amazing thing with this technique, once learned, it will continue to develop strong. It stays with the individual as a new positive habit for the rest of their lives.

The method I have developed today is an awareness tool used to coach yourself whenever you need it.

I really love the work I am doing and forever grateful to Andris Blekte and to myself for being so stubborn to get into the National Acting Academy.  The path that led to Andris, my mentor, has guided me to help so many other people cope with stress and pressure, and to feel more free and happy.

If you would like to learn more, please write:

Or Ph: +31(0)627 205 505

Website under construction

Tony Grahn, born in Sweden 1960, has been working as a coach and mental trainer for the last 15 years internationally. Tony is a specialist in helping people deal with stress and pressure of all kinds and different situations. Among his clients are corporate leaders, managers, judges, opera singers, actors, classical musicians, management teams, TV presenters, professional golfers...etc.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

East Oahu Lanikai and Kailua area
 the Mokulua Islands
Oahu is the island referred to as “the gathering place.” I suppose it received its nickname for having the biggest population of residents and visitors combined in comparison to the other Hawaiian Islands. Oahu is home to two big cities Waikiki and the state capitol Honolulu. My US Navy family was relocated from New Jersey to Oahu when I was very young and I am thankful that I got to experience this island as my home.

Each island has its unique character and today I will share my thoughts on Oahu and my short YouTube video I call “Oahu Five-0” turn up the music!

My recent visit to Oahu was February 2012. It was a 5 day mostly cloudy trip. We even experienced down pours of rain but the sun did manage to break through for a day or two. Even with gray skies the temperatures were comfortable and mild. Hawaii’s winter runs on the same clock as the rest of the USA. It can get very cold in the highest elevations and on the island of Maui Mount Haleakala and the Big Island Mount Mauna Kea it snows. At sea level, the temperatures average 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit year round. Mid to late summer and early fall the temperatures on occasion climb into the upper 90’s. Hawaii attracts the “snowbirds,” our visitors from cold snowy places. The winter season is peak for Hawaii tourism. It is about supply and demand. Everyone wants to escape the cold. Hotels and vacation rentals are more expensive. However, you can find great deals on rental accommodations during low season (summer and fall). The Hawaiian Islands are a great destination to visit year round.

We stayed in beautiful downtown Waikiki at the Moana Surfrider the oldest hotel in Oahu. Waikiki is a mixture of old historic structures and new modern architecture. It’s a beautiful clean city. I have visited many cities in the world and Waikiki is well taken care of and feels safe. People are friendly and nice. They even have volunteer citizens called the Waikiki Aloha Patrol who really care about tourism and their beautiful island. Volunteers wear Aloha Patrol t-shirts, interact with visitors, answer questions and carry donated cell phones which dial "911" to report incidents or suspicious activity.

East Oahu Lanikai and Kailua area
Waikiki is a fun city to be sure. There is so much to do and see. Great places to shop, beautiful art, great people watching, music and entertainment everywhere day and night. Since I am not a city girl at heart, I can only take “any” city in small doses. I personally like to be semi-away from it all. If you feel the same way and want more nature and less people then visit one of the other beautiful beaches on this island. One of my favorite places is where I grew up as a child near Kailua and Lanikai Beach Parks. In a word, G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! To be fair, there are beautiful beaches in Waikiki where you have plenty of room and space but not always in front of the hotels the beaches are not very wide and of course all the guests want to sunbathe out front because it is convenient to be near the amenities and bar, but these beaches can get jammed packed at certain hours of the day and you might find yourself sitting next to a complete stranger separated by only one foot of sand. Not my cup of tea. It is a great beach to people watch and have a drink at the many ocean front bars/restaurants. There are plenty of activities like boat trips and surf lessons. The scenery is a spectacular city scape with white sand beaches, nestled on the beautiful Pacific blue with Diamond Head as a backdrop.
Diamond Head Waikiki Oahu

Several years ago, while visiting Waikiki, Oahu, I walked to the end of the beach past the last hotel to find myself a quiet place by the ocean to sit and reflect. I am often mistaken for a local girl with my dark hair, tan skin and casual beach attire. A man and woman tourist, who was from another country, I think Japan, were taking pictures down the beach from where I was. They soon approached and with their broken English and many hand gestures asked if I would be in the picture with the man. At first I thought they wanted me to take a picture of the two of them together, but no I was to be in the picture with him.  I complied. Hang loose is my motto. They thanked me and were kind. They had a bag of fried pork rinds that they kept offering to me. They insisted I take a handful. So out of politeness I did. Yummy. Then off they went to seek more photo opportunities. I do not have Hawaiian blood, but I am a big Hawaiian at heart and Hawaiian love’ n freak. I think it ironic my little sister was born here and not me.

Did you know that the only Royal Palace on American soil is located here on the island of Oahu! The Iolani Palace was built in 1882 by the last King David Kalakaua. The Kingdom was the most modern structure using the most advanced technology of its time:  electricity and telephones. They were years ahead of the White House.

The island is rich with culture where Kings and Queens once ruled this small kingdom of Hawaii. I have read several good books about the history of Hawaii. I really love and recommend “Hawaii’s Story” written by Queen Liliuokalani. She tells you in her own words about the history of her nation and personal experiences leading up to the illegal overthrow of the monarchy January 17th 1893. Queen Liliuokalani was an elegant and smart woman as well as a great writer and talented musician. My heart goes out to her. She wrote one of my favorite Hawaiian songs "Aloha ʻOe" (Farewell to Thee). What most people do not realize was the Hawaiian Islands had the highest literacy rate of any country in the world between 1826 and until 1893. They were a highly educated nation. Queen Liliuokalani was later imprisoned in the Iolani Palace for eight months in 1895 by the unlawful Provisional Government. She was charged with treason for attempting to restore Hawai`i's sovereignty.

Another interesting book is “Broken Trust” by Samuel King and Randall Roth it chronicles a 100-year saga about Hawaii’s history, culture, native rights and recent political events leading up to early 2000. It is an expose about the abuse of a charitable trust and failure of a public institution. If you are interested in politics it is an educational book on governance, power, and greed.

Our entry into World War II began when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt was President and on December 8, 1941 he signed the Declaration of War against Japan and in his address to Congress declared “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which shall live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…” August 1945 the war ends and the documents of surrender were signed aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 by Foreign Minister Namoura Shigemitsu with General Douglas MacArthur. The USS Missouri now resides in Oahu and is part of the Pearl Harbor National Monument. It is open to the public. The USS Arizona Memorial was built over the sunken USS Arizona, the resting place of 1,177 crewmen who are permanently entombed; I was amazed that after all these years the sunken battleship is still leaking oil. You can see it and smell it. It was a quick tour on the memorial itself. I found the museum fascinating and tributes moving, it will bring you to tears. It is a reminder how sad war is and it was heart breaking to see old pictures and videos of the dead and injured. Some were so young, barely out of high school their lives cut short…. Visit the Pearl Harbor website.

Another cool fact is our 44th President Obama was born here August 4, 1961. The US territory of Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state on August 21, 1959

On each island, there are places where you can feel a strong energy or life force. I usually sense it in places where nature prevails and man is just a minuscule speck. In West Oahu it is by the desolate Waianae Mountain range that towers on one side and the vast turbulent ocean on the other. Several million years ago lava once flowed to form this mountain range (and all the islands) and today what stands is an immoveable, petrified monument to the glory and power of nature. In time, however erosion and age will slowly whittle away at its grandeur. In places like this, I feel so small and timid.

A couple years ago, during a visit to Oahu, the rental car company did not recommend that I visit the far West side of the island. Not much to do there and the young man we spoke to said there were many homeless people who lived on that side of the island. He wasn’t kidding. This is one side of the island many tourists never see, tent city. It feels so far away and removed from civilization.  We drove past big and then small towns and eventually experienced views of bare mountains and long stretch of beaches. The further we traveled the fewer cars we saw. It did feel a bit eerie. We passed what seemed like miles and miles of beaches filled with tents. It reminded me of a shanty town you might see in a third world country but with a beautiful ocean as the backdrop. At times I forgot I was in the USA. But the truth of the matter is we have a growing number of homeless people across the country that needs shelter and opportunity…. We are all connected how long can we look the other way? This article was written in 2006.  (I did speak to a local woman on the phone May 2012 who said tent city is no longer.)

I wanted to visit the small town of Makaha also located on the West side of the island. This little town is authentic and real local. Not touristy. I wanted to see where my hero Rell Sunn lived. She is known as the Queen of Makaha.  She was a successful pro-woman surfer and one of the first females to break into a male dominated sport. Women have always surfed but they did not have televised competitions or prizes like the men. But that changed in the early 70’s when Rell was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Professional Surfing Association and finding the women’s pro surfing tour. She was a single mom for part of her life and had to deal with health issues. She accomplished a lot in her short time on earth. She died at the age of 47 due to breast cancer and complications. She lived with the disease for 15 years. She was a lover of life, land, water, waves and surfing. She was a fighter, survivor, and mentor to many. She founded the Menehune Surf Contest for children. She was born with a heart of gold and personified the aloha spirit. I love this quote by Rell, “The aloha spirit is real simple. You give and you give…and you give from here (the heart), until you have nothing else to give.” To learn more about Rell Sunn visit this website.

Rell Sunn admired famous Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku from Oahu. Kahanamoku's name is used by Duke's Canoe Club & Barefoot Bar in Hawaii and there is a chain of restaurants named after him in California. A monument at Waikiki beach stands in honor of his memory and many people visit and place leis on his statue. His initial claim to fame began in 1912 when he won several gold medals in the Olympics for swimming. He represented the USA. He later became an actor, served as Sheriff of Honolulu and introduced the sport of surfing to the rest of the world.  Here is a cool YouTube documentary on the Waikiki Beach Boys and Duke!

There are many more Hawaiian legends and in the music world there is Don Ho and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole aka IZ. Remember the old TV shows made here the original Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. Even Elvis Presley filmed some movies in the Hawaiian islands. The list goes on and on!

Here is Mike Izone a talented muscian who we saw performing live at The Tabora Gallery.  Enjoy and support the arts.  I captured this with my camera.
two music video live Mike I and Mike II

Aloha and a hui ho!
Kathy McCartney
North Shore Haleiwa

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dutch actress Manouk van der Meulen ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´

I want to introduce to you my beautiful friend who lives in the Netherlands.  She is a wonderful actress who I first met in London.  My boyfriend and I traveled from London to France with Tony and Manouk.  They are great people, positive, warm and have a great sense of humor!  It was a great trip full of good memories and laughter.  When I first met Manouk several years ago I told her she looked just like Audrey Hepburn.  I'm not the only one who thinks so.  She is beautiful, youthful and full of life.  She is my guest artist and I have asked her to write a story for us.  Thank you Manouk for your contribution - Kathy McCartney   

Dutch actress Manouk van der Meulen ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´

Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Gerard de Haan
Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Gerard de Haan
My parents often recall how dramatic and intense I was as a child, like the famous French actress Sarah Bernardt from the 19th century. I would throw myself on the floor and cry my eyes out whenever my two brothers destroyed something that was precious to me.  And how quickly I could change moods; a moment later I was happily dancing around the room, blissful and eager to bring joy to everybody. I was like a big emotional painting with diversity of colours that needed to be expressed. O, sweet childhood memories! There was a wild willow in our back garden where I climbed to sit on a branch, here I could quietly dream of life mysteries; by watching the bees and the butterflies busy in the golden chain tree I was tempted and impatient to fly away, far away.

Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Gerard de Haan
Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Gerard de Haan
Our house was always full of music. The gift of musicality was running through our blood; my aunt was a talented classical singer and the brother of my grandfather a famous composer. As a result my brothers and I went into music and performing arts as a natural flowing river, nice and easy. To play, to fantasize, to sing silly and sad stories behind the piano, the excitement to do a ballet performances on my point shoes at Christmas Eve, it was my daily bread and butter. A born actress? Is that what I always wanted to do? No, not really. I wanted to save the world, help poor people in Africa and Bangladesh.  On my birthdays I asked for dolls in all sorts of sizes and colours, black, yellow, white, men and women and created a family of harmony in the corner of my bed. At least that might explain in retrospect my dedication today of practicing the Buddhist of Nichiren Daishonin, a wonderful philosophy of humanity.

The desire to be creative, self-expressed and be with people was consistent, even in my lonely years when I started to become an insecure and introvert adolescent.  I was asked to be in our school play which I forcefully rejected. I was more occupied with missing my boyfriend, who with his Jewish background, went away out of the blue for a year Kibbutz in Israel, and left me heartbroken. When high school was almost done I had to make a choice.  I had no clue what to do next with my life.  But acting was looming, whispering, seducing me slowly, step by step it picked me up, and in the end I was more than happy to take the ride.
I remember how I worked in the local cinema to earn some extra pocket money, and how I was able to see all those beautiful movies. A colleague at work asked me if I was interested in being ‘’an extra’’ in a Dutch movie, and I said yes. The cameraman took a long close up and delivered me as a virgin to the big screen. Soon after, I was approached to do a music video and my appetite for acting grew.  I decided to join the theatre school in Antwerp, Belgium. Still young at the age of eighteen I felt restless.  At the end of the year I left with permission of the school ´´to explore the world´´ before continuing the rest of my education. Back in Amsterdam, I immediately received an offer for a main part in a feature film. A second part came while the first one was still in the editing room. I was launched in the newspapers as ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´.

It was an exciting period, but frightening. Things went quick and I didn’t have a solid base or a good agent who could guide and protect me. Nevertheless I did the publicity with amazing maturity; covers on magazines, newspapers, talk shows, and radio interviews. In the years which followed I attended many workshops and had the opportunity to build a reputation as a well-rounded actress working in Film, TV, on stage, presenting programs, doing voice over work, and modelling.  My desire to work abroad and ‘’fly away’’ was growing, and when I fell in love with an Englishman I decided to move in 1996 to London. Unfortunately the relationship didn't last, but I got myself an agent and soon I was appearing in some BBC series like ‘’Touch of Frost’’ and ‘’Close Relations’’.

London, this dynamic world city was wonderful and terribly lonely at the same time. No, it was not glamorous. I had to take silly jobs to pay the rent for a lousy little flat. It was at times very painful, but I courageously polished the diamond to become more and more me. It was obvious that I had be on this journey and leave safe Holland to awaken to my full potential. Slowly things got better; I wrote my experiences down in the column ‘’London Calling’’ for one of the biggest Dutch newspapers ‘’Het Algemeen Dagblad’’, I then went off to live in LA for three months with a writing assignment in my pocket, I followed many communication and self-development workshops.  And most importantly, I fell in love again. During the shoot of a short film ‘The Dog of Thessaloni’ I met my Swedish husband Tony. We settled in Sweden for a while where I learned the language and built a modest acting career. I call Holland, the UK and Sweden my ‘golden triangle’ this is where I live, work, and come back to; again and again. 

Becoming fifty-one this Spring I celebrate life as never before; the love, friendship and appreciation for just being alive. Career wise, my first thirty years was a nice warm up, now I am going to really deliver! So watch me! J

Manouk van der Meulen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I asked a few talented visual artists and actors to be my guest here.  I thought it would be interesting and inspiring to pose the same question as I did to my fellow artists last month at Art on The Lane Fine Art Gallery:  What inspired you to become a professional artist?  When did you know and at what moment did you decide to take the plunge.

My guest artist is Steve Simon.  I met him through the owner of Haleakala Trading Company in Kihei, Maui where I had my art work for sale.  Harry gave me my first opportunity to sell in Hawaii.  I visited with Harry in Maui and he showed me Steve’s impressive art portfolio and book of Maui paintings.  Harry is a big supporter of the arts and he knows of my ambitions.  Harry said I should contact Steve.  And so I did.  I sent Steve an e-mail and he suggested I follow up with a phone call.  We had a nice conversation.  He is a warm, positive soul who is knowledgeable and also kind to offer guidance to a fellow artist.  His work is diverse, beautiful and has a spiritual quality.  He writes poetry to accompany his visual creations and has several You Tube videos, a couple of which are referenced below.

Steve Simon
As a child, I loved to draw and paint.  As a teenager, more “practical” aptitudes such as math and science overtook my career path.  I had originally wanted to study architecture to combine the artistic with the technical but a counselor advised me to make art my hobby and focus on engineering as my career.

I accepted this seemingly sage advice and studied mechanical engineering and would work as a robotics engineer in Germany and later as a management consultant in the US and Brazil.  Neither profession, however, truly stoked my true passion so I chose to return to school to redirect my career path.  This time I studied business, receiving an MBA from an international program during which I studied in Paris, New York, and Tokyo with seminars throughout Eastern Europe and Asia.

I had hoped the international business studies would help me uncover some unknown passion but upon graduation, I accepted another consulting position.  This one, however, was in Paris.  As part of my compensation, I was furnished with an apartment in Montmartre, the storied artist quarter of Paris.  In my free time I plunged into the art world that I had neglected since childhood.  I visited the local galleries and studios and, of course, took in the world-class museums.  I purchased art supplies and returned to painting like reacquainting with a long lost friend.

One fateful evening, I attended a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the church of St-Germain-des-Prés.  The tickets were expensive.  On my limited budget, all I could afford was the least expensive of seats.  The church is built in the shape of a cross.   The orchestra was situated on the altar with the choir positioned at the apse above the altar.  My seat was to the right of the altar, somewhat amusingly situated behind the kettledrums. Acoustically, the seat was dreadful but the vantage point incredible.  From where I sat, I literally felt I was one of the musicians.  As the performance proceeded, I realized I was witnessing something quite spectacular.

Most conductors seem to have a predisposition for dramatic flair and this conductor was no exception.  He appeared to completely embody the full emotional weight of the Requiem and pour it out through his animated baton, just as I would imagine Monet or Renoir would serve up their impressions with their brushes.  At one point the conductor appeared so drenched in sweat and physically exhausted, I thought he would be unable to continue.  He stood slouched between movements, wiping his brow.  Then, suddenly as if reinvigorated by the bold challenge of the next movement, he stood erect, gazed intensely with furrowed brow at the choir, and with steely determination whipped his baton into action.  With angelic exuberance, the choir exploded into beautiful song.

I had never seen anyone in such fervent and passionate creative bliss as the conductor at that moment.  Sure I had read about the importance of following your bliss, taking the road less traveled, and all that sort of thing.  Never before, however, had I seen and felt it so dramatically animated in person.  By comparison, I thought about my lack of passion for my livelihood at the time and realized I was desperately missing the boat.  So it was that a conductor forced me to listen to my unrequited love of painting.  I am forever grateful for his powerful impression.

The next day the spine-tingling charge from the previous evening was still stirring my creative juices.  Today, I thought, I have to allow my childlike artist to replace the businessman persona.  I took my easel and paints to the stairs leading up to the Basilique du Sacré Cœur.  All afternoon among the tourists and local Parisians, I strived to absorb the atmosphere surrounding the basilica and recorded my impressions on canvas.
Though the painting was by no means a masterpiece, the day certainly was!  In the early evening, I returned to my apartment.  I opened a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and had a candid conversation with my inner child.  It was then I made the decision to start a career as an artist.

Steve Simon
Painting the Spirit of Beautiful Places