Tuesday, January 28, 2014

a rough day gives way to a good night...

I think the reward for conformity
is that everyone likes you except yourself.
- Rita Mae Brown

 I had a rough day at work today...
so rather than complain about it
and let the crappy day invade my quiet evening -
i thought i'd do something that centers me instead.
Something that grounds me
and calms my soul
and makes me feel like the world is ok again.
i had done this image a while back,
in pastel. (below)
I started this journal a while ago,
to give to my son on his 18th birthday,
in a couple of weeks
and i wrote in here tonight.
I kept lots of journals in my younger days
and somehow,
with all the moving around we did,
with deep regret
I lost them all.
i thought it would be cool
to give my son a glimpse into his childhood
from my perspective as a mom.
Had i known at the time
it would become filled with more than just writing -
i would have chosen a more appropriate journal. 
I started it when he was about 4 or 5
sort of record of his days,
what he loved doing
his favorite foods,
who his friends were,
and i quickly began adding things
and adding
and adding...
like this precious illustration
from one of his friends
when they were just little boys.
...or this invitation to a birthday party...
...or this card he made for us, for Christmas...
 ...or this one, that my mom gave him.
A grandmother reminding her grandson
how much she loved him
and believed in him.
(sniff, sniff...)
And so now,
the journal looks like this (below)
and i regret not having planned ahead. 
Still, i know he's going to cherish it
because he (like me) loves writing
and keeping little bits of paper around him. 
how fucking cool was this little guy?
A face only a mother could love?
I think not...
And then this precious writing
that i treasure more than anything...
My grandmother's writing (mom's mother).
I moved out to Western Canada when i was younger
and she often wrote me.
I kept her letters
and scanned this one line that reads:

Goodbye, from your grandmother
who will never forget you.

I'll be putting a copy of this
in my son's journal as well.
He never knew his great grandmother
but he would have loved her, no doubt.
Everyone did. :-)
Thanks for being here, munchkins.
love & lollipops, and a feel good song
to bring you warmth on this 
freezing winter night (for us!)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

dallas buyers club + art

hello folks!
Here we are, another Sunday.
I don't know about you, but my weeks seem to fly by...

I got a bit of art done this week,
although very little.
Not sure whether it's the cold outside
or the busier days,
or the lack of focus in one place,
but i seem stuck in a dry spell lately.
So I've been spending some time clearing space.
Sorting out papers,
throwing things out,
We gather so much crap through the years,
don't we?
But this quick little painting
found its way into my studio one night...

I don't know anything about Marguerite Duras,
except that i liked her face -
that strong, "not a care in the world" look...
And i liked the way she sat here,
the way she held that cigarette,
the wine glass on the table...
i wanted a rough look,
no detail,
no normal colors,
because she somehow strikes me like someone
who doesn't do normal. 
Oh, and on another
completely different note...
we saw the movie THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB last night,
based on the life of Ron Woodroof, 
who died of AIDS in 1992.
The movie was a little slow at times,
but i loved it and thought the acting was superb.
Not only were the actors dangerously thin,
as most AIDS victims were...
but the look in their eyes - that sickly, hopeless look.
I loved how Ron Woodroof was given 3 months to live,
and ended up living 7 years.

I don't understand people who are homophobic.
I never did.
I remember when the AIDS epidemic was as its peak,
and there was rarely a day
where we didn't read about someone else dying of AIDS...

and what i remember most about those days,
is this quilt.
This memorial quilt, in 1987, in Washington...
Every patch represented a person 
who had died of AIDS.
Someone's son.
Someone's friend.
Someone's father.
A person.
A human being.
We are too quick to pass judgement
on someone who chooses to live their life
different than ours -
we are quick to pass judgement
on someone who's values aren't pure, in our eyes.
And yet - if they are not hurting anyone,
what business of ours is it to judge?
It may not seem like a big deal today,
but 30 years ago,
when the whole world seemed against the gay community,
it took a lot of courage to be openly gay.
Sadly for some, it still does today.
I have nothing but admiration
for anyone with such love & courage in their hearts.

Trailer for the movie...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Arrowroot, growing sons and Amr Diab

hello everyone!
Happy Sunday...
A bit of doodling and art
from the past few days.
The quote above says it all...
i sometimes feel like i've lost my bliss or my groove
when i go days or weeks without feeling creative.
But lo & behold - it always shows up, eventually.
Maybe that's what it's all about.
Not expecting it to be there all the time.
Not pressuring it to be there all the time.
i doodled this while watching tv...
can't remember what i was watching.
That's how important it was. ;-)
 i was obviously listening more than watching. ;-)
 i did this a few nights ago...
acrylic on paper.
in the beginning, i never know too much where it's going...
and then things start taking shape,
and i begin to see this or that...
here (above), i see a woman & a man
touching one another.
They are separate
yet woven together...
then i flipped the page upside down,
and i now see a mask...
then i flip it on its side,
and i clearly see a fisherman with a hat, on the shore,
fixing his net with fish jumping around...
(you may see something totally different -
that's what's so great about art!)
then a quick little marker drawing in my journal...
mom's cookies...
these always make me sad.
i don't know why i kept her last box of cookies,
but i did.
it sits on my bookshelf in my blue room.

and then this handsome little guy... :-)
my son, when he was maybe 5 or 6
with his dad's hardhat & vest,
reading a magazine & eating dill pickle chips!
 a simple black & white acrylic painting in my journal...
 a few more details here & there,
using grey tones for the face.
 added a bit of blue in the background only...
and a few chosen words... :-(
It makes me sad that he's grown up so fast,
but so proud of the wonderful young man
he has become.
As parents, we raise our children
in hopes that someday,
they will go out into the world with confidence,
and when they do -
we want them back with us. :-)
Such is life i guess.

Here's a song i stumbled upon and loved immediately.
i had no idea what he was singing.
You can find the english translation here.
Beautiful voice. Beautiful song.
Oh, and not so hard on the eyes, is he? ;-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

one, tiny, subtle, insect step at a time...

Dripping water hollows out stone,
not through force but through persistence.
- Ovid

hello everyone!
First things first: i hope to be making art (and blogging!)
a little more often than i have been in the past weeks.
And i can't wait to use these Sharpies... ;-)

Lots of adjusting after the holidays, don't you find?
I'm always happy to get back to routine
but it takes me a little while to get there.

I've started work again (outside the home)
for another 3 months.
Breathe in... breathe out... :-)
I always feel a bit like a fish out of water
in such a stiff and systemized environment
but it's temporary, and it allows me the freedom
to be creative for the rest of the time,
and at night, and on weekends. ;-)
How can that NOT be good?
I've come to the conclusion
that if doing other work for a few months in the year
allows me room to breathe and frees my heart from financial worry -
then dammit - i'm in.
And nope, i don't feel like i'm selling out.

I work my ass off to make a living as an artist
but maybe i don't need to
when there are so many other options out there.

For the longest time,
i was holding on to the notion
that i needed to be an artist 100% of the time.
Otherwise, i was not a real artist.
I needed to be in a job where i made art 100% of the time.
I needed to sell my art. All the time. Successfully.
I needed to make a good living as an artist.
And this job also had to fulfill me in every way.
And that i had to be passionate about it.
Fucking recipe for disaster or what...

Note to self: fear and worry about finances kills creativity.
Another note to self: comparing myself to others kills ME.
So even if i wanted all these things,
they weren't happening.
This wasn't my reality.
Actually, my expectations were hurting my art.
Hindering my creativity.
So now, my expectations have changed.
Doesn't mean i've lowered my bar,
just means i've found a way to make it work for me
without sacrificing so much of myself.

And then i read this and it made me smile:
Sometimes, we just need to adjust things
to make our lives feel more like a reflection of who we are.
Happiness happens daily.
Little by little.
Like the dripping water that hollows out stone,
we do little things every day, 
every month,
every year,
to remove the yuckiness in our lives
and bring in the yummy-ness. :-)

Quit a job.
Leave a husband.
Move into a smaller home (or bigger home).
Wear different clothing.
Make new friends.
Learn a new language.
Read different books.
Be open to change
and be ready to embrace
what comes your way.
Let go of fear.
Forgive someone...

So here i am,
slowly surrounding myself again
with things that help me breathe.
TED talks.
Quiet morning coffee.

Do YOU know what helps you breathe easier?
That's my wish for you this week.
To find one thing that makes your life better
even if only in a small, subtle way -
and to do that one thing.

Happy Sunday!

ps: the book pages are from this book: