I started my latest painting a couple of weeks ago. Beginning with constructing the stretcher frame and then moving along with measuring, cutting and then cotton canvas. After stretching the canvas I spent 2 days coating this 5’ x 4’ with 4 layers of gesso.
This is a portrait of Jack. He’s been my companion since he was only 4 weeks old. He turns 10 yrs old this month. Jack is blind from cataracts but follows me everywhere and runs around in the back yard as if he could see.
The reference photo was snapped while Jack and I were swinging on the hammock. His smile filled my heart with such love and joy. He’s such a loving and loyal companion.
So I spent about a half an hour writing a blog post about this latest painting. Unfortunately when I pressed publish it disappeared. I have no idea where it went and I was like darn it that was a great blog post if I do say so myself.
Here I go again. A couple of years ago when my daughter Lily graduated from high school and at her graduation party we created a photo booth that included a handheld Polaroid style type frame made out of white eraser board. Guests could group together and write on the bottom with dry eraser markers on the bottom of the Polaroid goofy, cheesy, wise sayings or hashtags or the what not and then hold the frame up and then take a picture.
Well one of the pictures that was taken is represented in this painting. When it was taken I thought it was cute but it wasn’t until I saw the picture a few days later that it really spoke to me on so many levels.
First, this picture immediately reminded me of American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. It is said that Grant Wood in the 1930s went back to Iowa where he was from and saw an old farmhouse. He was inspired and wanted to do a satirical painting about the architecture of an old Iowa farm house. He titled the painting of the old farm house & its farmer & wife “American Gothic” as in reference to the lack of Gothic style architecture and it being the Midwest’s version. It’s further written that he utilized his sister and his dentist as models for this painting.
So now this is my version of a satirical painting of what I envision of a young Generation Z couple would look like on the World Wide Web posting on different social media sites, sharing their selfie’s.
This is a portrait of my daughter Lily (Oriana Designs) & a classmate at her graduation a couple of years ago. It reminded me of America Gothic by Grant Wood. However, in this modern rendition, the couple is holding a Polaroid style photo frame, in classic Generation Z (or Zed) style selfie posing. The bottom of the frame will have the Hash tag #American Zed.
My style of painting with acrylics is likened to water colors. However, the paint fluctuates in thickness. Through thin layers of color applied on top of each other, I get a hybrid color. Instead of a solid mixed tone or color and blob it on. It’s a bit more time consuming, but the effect is visually dynamic. This is stage 3 layers of thin colors… cadmium red, medium yellow hue, Payne’s grey, and white.
Hope to have time to paint in the studio this Sunday… my sanctuary time… I am very excited about this painting.
Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the majority of my photos from my U.K. Trip I’m settling in to exploring the images in greater depth. I’ve seen some artist grab a reference photo and as if in robot mode paint the image in expected color combination and with a boring palette. The end result may be “technically” in vogue and aesthetically pleasing but does it have passion? Life? Awiya?
As I explore this reference photo of the North Sea I am flooded with memories of how the cool and moist wind felt on my skin. The brilliance of color and how different the light bathed everything. The sea was a blue grey color I’ve never seen in real life. As I explored the North Sea from the beach, on a boat and walking along the peer at different times of day, the suns light changed the appearance of the sea from blue-grey to light pale blue, silver, and liquid gold floating on a silver surface.
Living in Nebraska, relatively in the middle of the country, I have grown accustomed to the orange, red and dark yellow sunsets. The coloring of Midwest light from the dust, pollution, and heat within the atmosphere of a heavy agricultural state.
I will enjoy every moment as I explore this reference photo, unedited, edited and diving deep into my memory and allow Awiya to flow through me as I prepare for a series of North Sea paintings.
Here in the last week we’ve seen exaggerated cases of abuse of power. The Penn State Coach and the bus aid getting bullied are both clear examples of power and influence being abused. Everyday I read through the news and day after day its more examples of abuse of power and violence against each other. Once in awhile I find a beautiful little gem of hope that we haven’t lost our humanity & compassion for each other, which of course I am all to happy to twitter it @awiya & blog it Finding the Hidden Gems: Dig it!. We need all the inspiration we can get.
However, inspiration alone isn’t enough. Being mindful and aware about what we see happening in our communities isn’t enough. We need to be doing! Doing something to stop the cycles of abuse of power, bullying, and violence in our communities. STAND UP! SPEAK UP ! GET DOING! Holding those responsible for their abuse of power is just one step. WE need to take a few more steps forward and become active in changing our community influences & experiences we offer. WE are the community after all.
What are you using your personal power & influence for?
I cannot answer for all of you out there in our human community, but I can answer for myself. I am utilizing my talent & ability of painting and donating the works to help others in crisis & donating paintings to community spaces to not only inspire hope, but to improve the image of the space, draw attention to community services such as libraries and community centers that offer a wide variety of community services & programs that instill & advocate community & personal responsibility, compassion, and unity. I am utilizing my personal power as a parent & continue to teach my children about volunteerism as they volunteer at the library reading to young children, summer reading programs & at a local pet shelter. It is our mindful living & doing NOW!
One of my biggest inspirations was having the pleasure to know & love a beautiful woman named Jenny. Great Grand Mother to my eldest son. She was a 1st generation born to scottish immigrants and lived a life of family, community & selfless giving. She knitted & donated hats, booties & blankets for premature babies at a local Nebraska hospital for over 30 yrs. She hand quilted blankets & donated them to local raffles & fundraisers. She volunteered within her community her entire adult life. She had a heart so loving & generous that anyone who met her could not help but be touched & inspired. Her smile was infectious & her presence of life strong. My son told me a story of the day he realized something he could do for his beloved Grandma Jenny when she reached into her 90’s, had suffered a stroke. He was about 4 years old and wanted his Grandma Jenny to read him a book. Whenever he would bring her a book she said no and distracted him with other activities. As time passed along and he grew older he held the belief that his Grandma Jenny didn’t want to read to him. It wasn’t until Grandma Jenny had her first stroke that he learned that Grandma Jenny didn’t know how to read. She spend a life time giving to others, but never once asked for help to learn to read. Inspired by Grandma Jenny’s love of giving & his love for his Great Grandma, my son spent many afternoons reading to his beloved Grandma Jenny. Grandma Jenny had several more strokes and passed within the year. This experience has profoundly shaped the person my son has grown to be.
What experiences can a community provide to our youngest of members?
Check out the programs offered in your towns, community libraries and community centers. Participate, volunteer, donate to local direct impact projects. WE are the community. If we don’t like what is happening in our communities, then its ALL OUR RESPONSIBILITY to change it!