Roque’s Weekly Review for 02/08/2019

February 9, 2019

Creativity / Roque's Weekly Review

Hello to you and to a brand new February in winter. There have been some cold days over the last week. Staying warm and preventing illness has been a big priority. I have some fun stuff to share. So let’s get to it.

College Update and Short Film Feature.

I completed and turned in my first film project for the spring semester. This one was tricky to film, but I am happy with how this turned out. This week, instead of my usual photography feature, I thought I’d share this little film with you.

For starters, the assignment was a 5X5. This means that the complete film had to have only five shots, and each shot needed to be only five seconds long. The film had to convey some sort of feeling like anger, sadness, joy, or anything else. You can argue that several feelings could apply to the film I made, but there was one particular feeling I was going for.

This was filmed over two chilly afternoons at an outdoor location last month. MaxZine gladly agreed to act in it. I do not want to give anything away by saying more.

Without further ado, here you go . . .

My blog Tropical Shade of Green

The current post that is up on my blog is the second installment of my observations of light. You can read it by going here:

Life In General

On a personal note, I’ve been keeping a tight routine outside of my school responsibilities. Every day, I practice on the piano, cello, and ukulele. I’ve also been writing in my journal a lot as well as getting regular exercise. I do not want school to take over my whole life like it has in previous semesters. I try to make a monument out of every day and build something for myself that I love. Art and self-care keep me at ease.

So, that’s my update for this week. There is a lot coming down the pipeline from me.

Stay tuned.


Roque’s Weekly Review for 1/31/2019

January 30, 2019

Roque's Weekly Review

It has been another full week in my life. Between classes, projects, and playing music every day, there is a lot of joy in my world. I hope all is well with you. Now, on with my update . . .

  1. College Check-in

One of my classes this semester involves analog black and white photography. I have borrowed a vintage Minolta SLR camera from a friend, and this last week, I developed photos in a dark room for the first time in my life. There’s something very zen about the whole developing process as you slowly see a photo you have taken magically come to life on a piece of photo paper. The slow and graceful reveal of an image inside of a tube of some sort of clear mystery liquid is a thing of beauty. I’ll be doing a lot of this over the next couple of months.

In another class, we got to poke around with the new, state-of-the-art (and very expensive) C100 Canon cameras that my department has acquired for student use. These things look like spaceships with all kinds of buttons and lights that take really good footage. These machines are very sophisticated, and I will have access to them for my projects. I won’t know what to do with myself.

2. Photography Feature: Amy Potter

One of the artists I got to photograph last November was Amy Potter. She is a local architectural ceramics artist, yoga instructor, and martial artist. This was my first time visiting her home studio, and she was incredibly down-to-earth and friendly. It was mesmerizing watching her transform what looked like a glob of mud and clay into the body of a gorgeous ceramic vessel. It was almost as if she was conjuring a shapeless form and spirit into life. She made it look very easy, but I could tell that there was a great deal of skill and a developed instinct involved in this process.

She had all kinds of beautiful mugs, fermentation vessels, and sinks for my eyes to behold. I got to have a glimpse of someone who is deeply engaged in her art and local community while lovingly raising her son and building a life on her own terms.

She has recently launched her new website where you can see more photos of her unique and often custom pieces. You can see more of her work by clicking here:

Special thanks to Amy Potter for having me. It was marvelous getting to see her conjure more beauty into the world. Here are the photos I took:

3. My Blog Tropical Shade of Green

I have just published the second installment in my Observations of Light series. This is one of a few creative writing posts I am publishing on my blog this year. Take a gander at the link below:

That’s all the news for this week!! Thank you again for following along on my strange and circuitous journey. There is SO MUCH MORE in store!


Roque’s Weekly Review for 1/23/2019

January 24, 2019

Roque's Weekly Review

Hello! It’s that time of week again! Time to check in about what is new with me.

  1. College Check-in

I am in the second week of school right now. I have met all of my professors, and I have a good sense of what lies ahead. This spring semester, I am taking two production classes that will have several film projects, a black and white photography class, and a lab for astronomy. In addition to this, I am completing a big creative project that has been in the works for a very long time. (More on that later.) There will be a mountain of work to be done in the next twelve weeks. I just hope the weather will cooperate.

2. Photography Feature: William Kooienga

One of the most memorable places I got to photograph last year was the home and studio space of artist William Kooienga. He is a self-taught artist who carves various structures out of wood. The kind of work he does combines an organic aesthetic with uniquely geometric and stylized forms. Some of his work took my breath away. The meticulous attention to detail and the sense of scale and scope of his work is astonishing. The pictures I took when I visited him last month convey more than my words ever will. Without further ado, feast your eyes on this . . .

3. My Blog Tropical Shade of Green

As mentioned in a previous update, I will be blogging less during the school semester due to my busier schedule. This month, I am featuring my creative writing with a piece exploring the qualities of light on a cloudy and rainy day. I will post the next observation of light next week. Until then, feel free to read the first installment if you have not done so already:

Well, that’s it for this update. I hope you are all staying healthy and doing something you love and enjoy.

Until next week, be kind and be generous.


Roque’s Weekly Review for 1/16/2019

January 16, 2019

Roque's Weekly Review

As I write this update, I am in the thick of my first week back at school. This semester will be a logistical balancing act between all of my class work, an independent film project due at the end of March, music-making, and all of the other important parts of my life (time with loved ones, friends, family, my cat, and for myself to regroup and rest along the way).

Starting next week, I’ll be including a weekly school check-in to update all of you folks on what I am working on and how I am doing.

Now, on with this week’s new stuff from me.

  1. Photography Feature: Sandor Katz and Food Fermentation

One of the places I visited last month was the kitchen of Sandor Katz. He is one of the world’s leading experts in food fermentation. He has written numerous books on the topic and travels all over the world to give talks and workshops.

I would highly recommend that everyone visit Sandor in his kitchen. My time with him was truly delightful. He talked with a great deal of warmth and candor. I saw firsthand some of the food that he works with. Unfortunately, I was too focused on taking photos to ask if I could taste what he made.

A highlight was the unveiling of what looked like some sort of gooey animal brain from a large jar. As it turned out, it was a head of fermented cabbage, but nonetheless, it was pretty fun to geek out on.

Special thanks to Sandor for having me. I can understand why people travel great distances to hear him speak. He has a way of engaging a listener with his disarming and sweet demeanor, and he has such a wealth of knowledge. The love he has for his work is undeniable.

Here are some of the photos I shot:

2. My Blog Tropical Shade of Green

My latest post is the first in a series about light. This particular one is a meditation on the presence of light on a rainy and overcast day. I am sharing more of my creative writing this year. You can read this post here:

3. Thank you to all Unpaid Government Employees

As of this update, the stand-off in Washington DC between our president and the Democrats in Congress has lasted well over three weeks. I just wanted to thank and commend the men and women all over the country who are still doing their important jobs despite not getting paid for their work. This includes folks who run our national parks and museums, air traffic controllers, TSA agents at airports, and a whole slew of other federal workers.

I hope some resolution happens soon so that you can feed your families and maintain a good living.

That’s all for my weekly update. I will feature more photos next week, and I will be getting a lot of work done at school in the meantime.

Be kind and be generous,


Roque’s Weekly Review for 1/9/2019

January 10, 2019

Creativity / Intention / Roque's Weekly Review

Well, another week has passed, and there are roughly 51 more to go for the year. Considering all that may or may not happen in my life over the next 12 months, I am going to take it all one day at a time. That is all I can do because all we have is the day ahead of us. There are no real guarantees beyond that despite our best well-laid plans.

School starts back up for me next week, and I am preparing for the changes in my life that will bring. I will spend some time every day this year doing some kind of creative work both school-related and otherwise. Creativity brings me great joy.

Now let’s proceed with the update.

1. Photography Feature: Leopard and his house building.

This week, I wanted to feature photographs I took while visiting my friend Leopard while he built a cottage behind his house near Short Mountain. In addition to building houses, he is also a talented musician, a Qigong instructor, a knitter, an actor, and vinyl DJ (among various other skills). It was fun seeing him work hard on this project. Building a house is incredibly labor intensive and can take a very long time. I have a lot of respect for people who can do this kind of work. It takes a great deal of skill, experience, patience, and problem-solving to do it well.

Check out the photos here:

2. My Blog Tropical Shade of Green

This year, in addition to my musing on my blog about creativity, simplicity, art, music, and the environment, I have decided to feature some of my own creative writing.

This month, I will be posting my writings about light. Yup, light. You can check out the first installment by clicking HERE.

3. Thank you for the love.

Lastly, I wanted to say thank you for all of the love, kind wishes, and condolences that poured in last week when we had to put our dog PJ to rest. Burying her after so many years was not easy, but within our community of friends, it felt very comforting to feel supported.That’s this week’s update. We have had some warm weather here in Middle Tennessee during the last week, but winter will finally flex her muscles in the next few days. I will stay warm, drink soothing beverages, and cuddle with my cat.

Thank you for joining me on my journey.

See you next week.


Roque’s Weekly Review for 1/3/2019

January 3, 2019


This is my first weekly update for 2019. Happy New Year to you! I hope it will be filled with meaningful new beginnings and mind-boggling adventures!

I have a lot to share this week . . .

  1. A New Year’s Farewell

The first two days of this new year have been a struggle. The oldest dog in our household who was almost 17 years old had not been eating or breathing very well over the last few days. We made her as comfortable as possible and fed here delicious food. Progressively, it became clear that it was time to let her go. Yesterday, we went to our family vet clinic, and she was put down. Afterwards, we buried her in an out-of-the-way and peaceful location. Tears were shed, and memories were shared. She was a sweet dog. We will miss her so. Thank you PJ for everything.

2. The new issue of PIANISSIMO my e-newsletter.

On New Year’s Day, I sent out the newest issue of my e-newsletter PIANISSIMO.

In this issue, I list the books I’ve read, the places I’ve visited, and the shows I’ve seen in 2019. I also discuss the success I achieved in school. Feel free to HERE to read my 2018 Year In Review.

3. Photography of Goatboy and Short Mountain Music Works

Continuing with my series of local artists and artisans, I am featuring a local artisan this week who fixes piano players and manufactures the musical scrolls that these players read. Goatboy, as he is called by just about everyone, has worked in his repair shop in Woodbury, TN for over two decades. He generously opened up his studio for me to take numerous photos, and he told me lots of stories about many of the instruments he keeps. His place felt more life a magical menagerie of musical wonders than the nondescript workshop that it is. Being a pianist myself, taking the photos and talking to Goatboy was very special. Here are some of the photos from my visit:

4. Changes to my blog Tropical Shade of Green

For 2019, I have decided to only have one post per month. With only two semesters of school left, my schedule will already be quite full with schoolwork and other demands. I will be publishing my first and only January post this coming Sunday.

Well, that’s all folks. My new year can only get better than the last couple of days. I am looking forward to 2019.

Let’s all make it the best year ever!!


Roque’s Weekly Review for 12/26/2018

December 27, 2018

Creativity / Intention / Roque's Weekly Review

Here we are! It’s time for another weekly update on what’s new with me! I have a few things to share as we head into 2019. Let’s go . . .

  1. Website Update

Some new imagery is going up here at I am pretty pleased with the layout of the site at this point, and much of that will not change. Expect to see more new photography in the coming months such as the new banner image at the top of the page.

2. Photography Showcase: Phil Woodward

Continuing on with sharing photos from a big project I did for a class last semester, I wanted to showcase the art of local artisan Phil Woodward. Currently, he combines different materials to create oil lamps, vessels, and various artforms that he sells at art shows and at his website. His work is one-of-a-kind and has a clean and contemporary sensibility to it. Last month, I got to spend an afternoon at his studio taking photos of him at work. Here are the glorious results:

Special thanks to Phil Woodward for letting me photograph him at work on his art. It was so fun to see a strong level of discernment and skill go into his process.

3. My blog Tropical Shade of Green

This past week, my newest post is about a topic that’s been on my mind for a while. How do we learn how to trust ourselves and our instincts? Is it simply a matter of trial and error? Or is it something far deeper. You can read the full post by clicking here:

4. 2018 Year In Review

Also coming soon is my year-in-review! I detail the books I’ve read, the big projects I’ve completed, and the places I’ve been during 2018! It’s been a wild ride.

Well, that’s all for this week. The new year is just around the corner! I plan to make it a good one.


Roque’s Weekly Review for 12/19/18

December 19, 2018

Roque's Weekly Review

Yes, it has been a minute since I published one of my weekly reviews. Nonetheless, here I am, and I have some fun tidbits to share.

1. Fall Semester 2018 in College

As of yesterday morning, my university released my grades for this past semester. I worked very hard, and my grades were awesome! I had numerous projects and papers that each took a lot of thought, time, and sweat equity. I learned a lot this semester, but I sure am glad it is over. I now have a month off from school, and though I do have quite a bit of work to do on an ongoing project, it will not be nearly as busy for me.

2. Photography Showcase

Over the next few weeks, I will be showcasing some of my new photography that I shot as projects for school. I am really proud of some of the work that I did, and I will be adding many of the shots to my portfolio. I will be sharing some of the images in a few of the upcoming weekly updates. Here are the first I’d like to share.

My final project involved taking pictures of artists and artisans in their work spaces. One of the artists I did this for was a man by the name of Jai Sheronda. He makes colorful lamps out of gourds that are grown in his green house. The gourds are hollowed out, and the shells are embedded with pieces of stained glass. They are charming and whimsical works of art that are functional and unique. Here are some of the photos I took:

It was a wonderful experience getting to document Jai’s work and to be in his beautiful creative space!

3. Posts on my blog Tropical Shade of Green

Every Sunday, I publish a new post on my blog Tropical Shade of Green. Here are some of the newest posts:

Trust Yourself

Learning How to Relax

Give Compassion to Difficult People

My Misgivings About the Thanksgiving Holiday

Next week’s blog post on TSOG will offer a look back at 2018 including highlights with school, the books I’ve read, and the places I’ve seen.

That’s my update for now. Thank you for following along in this journey of my life with me. I will share more new photography next week, and I’ll have more news to share.

Happy Holidays!

Be kind and be generous to yourself and others.


Roque’s Weekly Review for 11/14/18

November 14, 2018

Roque's Weekly Review

Hello Beautiful People,

It is time for another weekly update. This last week of school has been one of the most hectic I have ever had. Being on the crew for the musical 9 to 5 all last week took up so much of my time, but I am back in the swing of things.

Onward  .  .  .

  1. Photography
    Since I have been taking lots of photos lately, I was thinking it would be great to share some more of the newest ones that I have taken.

An old barn in my neighborhood.

An old wagon with lots of character.

Wood for warming.

Wood on wood and shadows on shadows.

My light painting


2.  This week’s Blog post: Living a Life of Curiosity

My blog post this week is a musing about what it means to be lead by your own curiosity. If you have a question or really anything that you are wondering about, what if you pursued that train of thought to the fullest extent? Where would it take you? What would you learn? How would it change you?

You can read the blog post by clicking HERE.

3.  Currently Reading: Behaving As If the God in All Life Mattered

This book was a gift from a dear friend, and I am about halfway through it. It is an autobiographical story written by Machaelle Small Wright, and it reveals a troubling account about her life as a child who was abandoned by both of her parents and how she had to survive out on her own. This is a compelling read so far, and I am eager to see what has happened to her.

4. Being published in MTSU’s Collage

My university has a creative arts magazine that publishes works from its students and alumni. It is extremely selective and competitive to have your work chosen, but I just received word that not one but TWO of my submissions were accepted. I will have more details on this as well as links some time in the next few weeks.

That’s all the news for now!!! There are other things brewing, and I will be sharing those tidbits in due time.

Be kind and be generous.


Roque’s Weekly Review on 11/7/18

November 8, 2018

Roque's Weekly Review

Hello Beautiful People,

It’s time for another quick update. I hope everyone’s week is going well.

  • Midterm Election Results

I live in an incredibly conservative state, and the two most highly contested offices (for Senate and Governor) were won by candidates from the Republican party that I did not support. I am disappointed, but I am glad that the democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives. Even a little progress can go a long way.

  • Light Painting

Last week, I completed a fun assignment for one of my classes. I have never done light painting before, and I did not think I would manage to pull it off.  I was wrong. If you do not know what light painting is, it is the process of painting different shapes with light through photography. Here are a couple of my submissions:

I had a ton of fun doing this assignment, and I hope to experiment more with this process in the future.

  • 9 to 5 The Musical

As I mentioned last week, I am part of the crew for my university’s production of the musical 9 to 5. As one of the deck electricians, I am helping out with some of the stage special effects. For those of you who live in the Murfreesboro and surrounding areas, I strongly encourage you to come see this show. There is an ambitious lighting and stage design, lots of choreography, and some powerhouse singing. Tickets are just $5.00, and it is free for MTSU students. The show runs this weekend only starting at 7:30 PM from Nov. 8-10 and at 2:00 PM on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Here’s a little promotional video:


  • Newest Blog Post

Since the big midterm elections were being held this week, I published a post outlining my perspective on our current political climate. My thoughts have more gravity now that we know the results. To read the post, click HERE.

That’s all the news for this week. More to come soon.