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.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been in the studio. It feels good to be in sacred space and stretch my spirit and allow creativity to flow.
I like to read, like everyday. If it’s not news articles then it’s books about art, society, and culture. I’ll let you in on a secret, I was functionally illiterate until I was discovered by a 7th grade remedial reading teacher. My life long secret (13 yrs at that time) was up. I was found out. That woman, Ms Mobly stood before me and saw me. It was at that moment that she crafted her medicine, created safe space and held me. After school she tutored me for an entire school year and taught me not only to read but to comprehend what I was reading. She ignited my mind. It was on fire!
How the f&ck can that happen? How could you go so long, be passed from grade to grade and no one knew?
They knew I was a D & F student. They were more concerned that I attend speech therapy because my southern, Creole, Native American speech, vernacular and sound was not like the other children. They passed me along anyway.
I’m was a biracial child in a suburban schools system. You see, my father was a Creole Arcadian Frenchmen and my mother was Scottish & Norwegian. My ancestors roots run deep in Louisiana & Texas. The Creole term,originally, meant Arcadian French and Spanish mixed people. Now it’s evoked to mean French and mixed. Well, through the generations of my family tree let’s add genetic inheritance of Italian, Portuguese, African and Native American. Modern technology, ancestors DNA and a couple of decades of genealogy research has revealed a great deal.
However, in the 60’s when my parents married in Texas and left the south due to racial discrimination and tensions to Omaha, they faced discrimination their entire lives together and so too did us kids.
I do believe it was a combination of discrimination, school policy and practices that delayed my academics. I had an academic advisor once tell me I was only bred for manual labor and not to bother with college.
Now fast forward not only can I read and not only did I pass 7th grade with A’s and B’s but I went on in life and earned my Bachelors degree & Masters. What I find most intriguing, it was in Adult Education and Instructional Design. It’s the fascination in how we learn and how we develop strategies for learning that inspires me.
So back to today, back in the studio painting.
I am working on a portrait of my daughter Lily. As I’m painting, mixing colors, I am contemplating the messages of inclusion, equality, justice, education, hold space for each other, love humans that I gave her throughout her life… all the experiences of subtle and explicit hate, discrimination and being marginalized that I experienced and the hope she nor anyone else has to experience through sharing my stories, sharing the stories of her grandparents and ancestors.
Share your stories. Hold space for each other. Hold one another in love and acceptance. See each other.
Lily helped me paint her face. However, it’s not her we see. Is this an ancestor coming forward through paint? Who is she? Has she been hidden out of sight and unseen? Time will tell what spirit came forward.
Oh how I wish life was as exciting as the 1st time Lily experienced London and riding the Underground.
These days many of us are doing our part to flatten the curve and remain healthy. I started this painting last Sunday and hope to have it finished this weekend. I’m only able to be in the studio once a week since I’m working from home for my day job.
I ordered a few new colors and hope they arrive soon. I think this painting would benefit from some diversity in colors.
Any way, this is part of a series I’ve named “A girl…”. It’s part of a mother and daughter collaboration with my artist daughter Lily. She’s busy with college still but has completed a couple of paintings so far.
Being in my studio and allowing myself to experience Awiya, creativity to flow through my being is my souls center. It is where I am most connected with myself. It is where my connection to the world around me is clearest. It’s not an escape from reality, on the contrary, it is a space where I am open, clear, vulnerable and honest with myself. It’s where I allow thoughts to flow by and simply acknowledge their presence without holding any of them. In many ways it is similar to an active meditation.
It is my hope, that in these difficult times, that many of you experience Awiya for the 1st time and create into this world some beauty.
Stay safe my friends and be well. until next time, stay in the Awiya side of life.
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.
Jes is busy working on pieces for The Light of Nebraska series. The framed landscape is a warm up piece. When you switch gears from one style of painting to another you also change palettes (the colors you paint with) . So it’s nice to do a warm up piece to get your color theory organized for the style of painting and the subject. I like to take a creative break- Jes calls it yummy baked goods. 😉 Stay on the Awiya side of life my creatives!
The different ways one might express themselves or create a tangible object?
Creativity, in my experience, is all of the above and , well, none of the above. Scratching your head is optional at this point. (smiling giggle)
I could attempt to explain the creative process of another person, but, that would be mere guessing with tons of interjected projections of myself. Only you can define, express and let others into your creative experience. So, with that said, lets open the door into my creative world. ( double eye wink)
Let’s back track a few sentences and stop scratching the noggi’n. My creativity starts with the physical sensory input through the usual suspects, eyes & ears. Jes, my artist husband & creative life partner, and I will go into the city to peruse. Something may catch our eye & we stop to explore out of pure curiosity. Living life filtered through MS has altered my vision, hearing & tactile sensory. With that stated, exploring takes on an entirely new definition.
While perusing through an area I may see a color that attracts me visually. I will walk up to it, hold it up in different lighting, if I can, and touch it. If we are outside, the feel of the wind or sun on my face adds to the experience. This allows me more input on a sensory level and if a painting or other creative project is inspired, a richer experience creatively can be expressed.
Now that I have experienced inspiration through my altered senses, it comes time to think it through the artists mind. Art is more than slapping paint on a surface and calling it for sale. Important decisions need to be discovered and complicated choices need to unfold. How quickly this happens is relative to the artist. Just to give you a few areas of the artist mind contemplations: composition, subject, mood, palette (colors), lighting, style, canvas, panel, linen or other surface, size, brushes etc. I am like the sunflower, my face follows the sun… Some things may be right in front of me, but I am blinded from looking into the sun. Some days inspiration to finished piece can manifest within a few days…. Other days…. It unfolds over a couple of months.
Having a complete visual split, bilateral nystagmus with oscillopsia, no binocular vision, very little depth perception & tonal deficits…. MS is not a constant set of symptoms, it fluctuates in severity on any given day. I walk past a painting on my easel and if I “see” a solution to a perception conflict my MS has presented with what I want to create but couldn’t see the day before, I pick up the brush and paint until my “artist sight” fades. Then I move on to other creative expressions…. As Jes calls it…. Yummy baked goods filled with love!
The Awiya Project is honored to be donating this piece to a benefit.
Dave is from Nebraska. He had West Nile Virus two years ago. His immune system was compromised and earlier this year he contracted Transverse Myelitis. It has affected his spinal cord. His right side is paralyzed and his speech is also affected. He hasn’t been home since April and is currently hospitalized. He is undergoing several types of treatments and therapies. He is currently wheelchair bound, having minimal movement of his arm and leg. Dave works in heating and air conditioning industry. Dave is also known for his umpiring skills, having umpired for many years at baseball and softball games in the surrounding area. One of his goals is to return to umpiring.
Delivered the Horse carbon drawing to David’s benefit organizer today. Here’s a picture of the piece framed.
“Lou my family loves the Picture – My mom said its beautiful – thank you so much it means a lot to us – hope we see you at the Benefit on Saturday, November 10th.”
David Codr Benefit