Saturday, January 31, 2015

Liberation of Auschwitz...70 years later

For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.
- Elie Wiesel
70 years ago this month, on January 27th,
the liberation of Auschwitz.
 I sketched this about 10 years ago...
It's more of a writing than a sketch,
during a time when I was still trying
to make sense of the nonsense.

One of my favorite books...
because it encompasses three of my favorite things:
books, photographs & jewish history.
So much was lost during the holocaust,
and yet, 
these 2400 photographs survived.

Breaks my heart to see the innocence
in these beautiful photographs.
Families, friends, children,
going about their daily lives,
much the same way we go about ours.
I'd like to think we've learned from these moments in history,
and that humans will never do this to humans again.

But I believe I'd be wrong.
There are injustices all over the world,
still today.
The one thing I do know with certainty,
is that I am changed
because of this moment in history...
I am more curious about the world,
about different cultures,
and how they got to where they are today.
I am more compassionate
towards people who are different than me.
I am more skeptical.
I TRY to be less judgmental,
although the Nazis make this really difficult.
There are so many reasons to hate,
still today...
but I try not to go there,
because hating hurts me more than anyone else.
I read a few books
about good Germans who risked their lives
to help the Jews during WW2.
It helped me not hate them all.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

somewhere over the rainbow

hello world!
I've had less time for art these days
and even lesser time for blogging,
now that I am working 9 to 5.
I am making the best of it while I'm there,
but I won't lie.
I'm already counting down the weeks.
(4 months to go)
I need to have a few things in my day
to make my life feel like it's mine.






Notice how office work is not on the list?
But I've made the choice to go back,
so let's just talk about something more interesting,
shall we?
By the way, thank you for all your words
of encouragement in my last post.
You all made it a little easier for me...
I sketched this while watching TV.
A show about some guy
who stalked and raped women.
Probably Dateline...
He scared me as I sketched him
in ball point pen,
so I planted flowers in his hair.
The freedom of being an artist.
Then I did this one below
and felt a little better afterwards.
This book was recommended to me
by several artists,
so i finally got it for myself.
I LOVE books like this.
So creative and fun.
So many fun exercises and
interesting points of view.
I mean, who wouldn't love
this kind of homework?
Can you imagine how inspiring she must be
as a teacher?
I'm sure she helped a lot of kids
find the courage to be themselves.
High marks in school (or college, or university)
aren't everything.
Actually, to me, they mean very little.
I always found it so difficult to grade the students
when I taught part time at the college.

There were some who never struggled
with the deadlines or the assignments
and they always pulled it off smoothly,
with what seemed like
very little effort.

But then there were others,
who struggled all the time...
the quiet ones in the back of the class
trying not to attract attention to themselves.
Working hard,
but unsure of themselves.
Unsure of their ideas.
Afraid to tackle the next project
for fear that they wouldn't be
as good as the others.
Those were usually the ones
I focused on,
without losing touch
with the rest of the group.
Those were the ones
with the magic inside.
They just didn't know it yet.
And it was my job to help them
find it.
And oh, what a feeling when they did.
I'll bet there are many of you out there
with the same magic inside...
and you just don't know it yet.
Don't give up.
Keep doing what you're doing.
Don't lose heart.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Onward and upward

Is this not a fun bottle of wine?
Got it as a Christmas gift.
Haven't opened it yet,
so it may taste like crap, who knows.
But I don't care,
cause it's got ART ON IT!
 I'll be saving this one for sure.
A bit of doodling last night
while I watched TV.
Watched something called Sole Survivors.
About sole survivors of plane crashes.
There was one man in particular
who was having such a hard time
with survivor's guilt.
He felt like he was just wasting his life
doing nothing
while all these other people on the plane with him
had died.
Their lives had ended
and his had continued
and he couldn't get over the feeling
that he was wasting his time.
Don't we all feel like that sometimes?
I do and i'm not a sole survivor of anything!
But we don't need to be incredibly accomplished
to have value in our lives, do we?
There is profound value
in being a good mother.
A good father.
In being a good friend.
In not being prejudice.
In spreading love as much as we can,
or at least, not spreading hate.
In being grateful for the simple things.
I believe there is HUGE value
in a simple life.
We don't all need to be presidents and astronauts.
Some of us need to be garbage collectors,
or secretaries,
or waiters or stay at home moms.
And others (like me)
need to be part time office workers.
Tomorrow, I begin a new job
and for the next 5 months or so,
i'll be sitting in a gray cubicle again,
shuffling papers & answering phones.
About 2 years ago,
right after mom died
I decided I needed to get myself a job
outside of the house.
I had been self employed as a graphic designer
for about 10 years (at home)
and I needed a change.
I needed something totally different.
Out of my element.
I felt like I was stuck in the mud.
I no longer loved what I was doing at home
and as much as I still needed a paycheque,
I also needed a drastic shift
in what I was doing for work.
Well - I got what I wanted.
Not sure it's a good change, but I got it.
I got an office job where I was well paid,
8 hrs a day, 5 days a week,
about 5 months a year.
So now I get called back every few months
for this gray cubicle job,
where I mostly feel like a fish out of water.
But I get a steady paycheque.
I sell them 8 hours of my day
and they give me money in return.
Some would say it's a great thing,
because it's a JOB.
And maybe I should feel the same,
but I don't.
Just thinking about going in to work tomorrow
makes me want to poke my eye out with a pen.
I am already thinking about plan B
but for now,
I will make the best of Plan A.
is because so many of us think that
everyone else "has it together".
Everyone else seems to have figured out
how to make that 6 figure salary,
or how to find their dream job
and wake up every morning to the sound
of twinkling harp and sparkling waterfalls.
That's not reality for most of us.
Many of us are doing work
that is not fulfilling.
That is not connected to who we really are.
Some of us are doing work that we hate.
But we do it anyway
because we need to pay the bills.
Because that's what grownups do.
Because society says
THIS is a normal job - not that.
And sometimes,
some of us do all the right things
to get to where we want to be in life,
but for some reason,
we are not there yet.
So we carry on 
despite the boredom
despite the disappointments
and we continue on our path
even if it makes no sense to anyone else
but ourselves.
The important thing is to carry on.
To persevere.
To practice patience.

The handwriting (photo) above is something
I wrote about 3 or 4 years ago,
when I was trying to figure out
why I was having such a hard time
carving myself a life as an artist.
A life that would sustain me financially.
When I look at the list now,
I feel sad and proud at the same time.

Here it is, in case you couldn't read my writing:

What did I do right?
1.             Practiced my ART every day. (writing and painting)

2.             Sent my writings to magazines – got rejected.

3.             Sent to more magazines + got rejected again.

4.             Surrounded myself with inspirational people.

5.             Read ALL the right books about courage + perseverance.

6.             Avoided the naysayers + negative people in my life.

7.             Spent a lot of time in nature.

8.             Shared my art with the world (blogging)

9.             Put my ART for sale on Etsy.

10.         Put my ART in galleries.

11.         illustrated children’s books – a success – until the publishing house decided to call it quits.

12.         Kept painting – even when I sold nothing.

13.         Kept a journal – several journals!

14.         Took on-line classes to further my skills.

15.         Took on-line classes to connect with others.

16.         Gave paintings away as gifts.

17.         Learned from others who are doing what I want to do. (making a living
with ART).

18.         Teach part-time classes (in Art) at the college.

19.         Offer ART classes to women in my community.

20.         Read books about inspiring women.
What I did WRONG?     
1.             Not believe in myself.