Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let Her Sleep

When I attended art college we did a "blindfold" exercise.  The class was standing, with over-sized pads of paper on easels before us.  Our fingers grasped chunks of charcoal (its like the artist's beginner weapon -- they feel if we waste/destroy charcoal not much will be wasted at all).  The instructor turned on a concerto piece, of which I can't remember now, but she told us to close our eyes and put medium to the paper.  She told us to draw what we heard.  To press down when the music was intense, but to lift up when the music was pianississimo.  I was enjoying the project, and my curiosity grew the further into the composition we went because there was both -- soft, slow parts, and then there was a staccato, allegro section, followed by a bold fortississimo.  My drawing -must- have been so dynamic and I felt my 8 years of playing clarinet, listening to the different sounds of each horn, gave me an advantage.  That was when the instructor casually meandered by my easel and said "Ooh... we have an Expressionist here".  My eyes widened, and I couldn't help but look at my lines.  They were all thick and dark.  I had felt my hand lighten its grasp on the charcoal in the soft moments of the music, and I had pulled back from the paper, but my bold streaks were indeed just that -- BOLD.  They over-powered my soft streaks.  But the drawing was still beautiful.  The dark, thick inky streaks followed a pattern on the page and as I looked around the room at the end of the assignment, I realized my paper was the darkest of all of them.  I was a bold expressionist.

But I knew then that I always had been.  When looking at past paintings I really painted in that expressionism tone: what I saw/painted was subjective to how I felt.  Distorted lines and shapes, exaggerated colors are used for an emotional impact.  I am proud to be an expressionist, sharing the category with Vincent Van Gogh, Kirchner, and Munch.

So now, when I complete a painting, I am not surprised when it takes me a different direction than that of which I originally anticipated.  I am currently in the middle of one that is throwing me for a loop.  Of course I can't show you that one until I'm finished, but here is my last piece:

Let Her Sleep
Dimensions: 4' x 4'
Main Theme: Childhood, and lavishing in childish imagination
Pop Culture: My daughter’s figure as seen on her nighttime monitor, and the Sandy Hook shooting
Quote: “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world”. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Song: Perpetuum Mobile by the Penguin Café Orchestra

Summary: This painting was influenced greatly by childhood and the idea of supporting a child’s imagination, growth, and innocence. My daughter’s sleeping figure established the basic lines and shapes of the painting, of which are not easily seen as it’s an abstract expressionistic piece. Her nightly dreams and her evolving imagination touched me and inspired the bright colors and the varying textures. The painting’s distinct contrasting colors, and some of the brighter shades, were added after the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. Having the news event in my mind as I painted gave it a sense of urgency. Every day with a child is a day to influence their imaginations, and to find a way to make their lives magical. As if the painting started out as my daughter’s dream, it ended up as the dreams of the 20 children who lost their lives on 12/14/2012. The painting was not meant to be a melancholy portrait, but more of a depiction of a child’s dream with the sense of urgency to let it be. The time when imagination is magical is short-lived.

If you would like to commission a painting, please send me a message or email.  Depending on the cost of paint and canvas the prices range from $75 - $250+.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

She lives.

I know, it's been a while and I'm almost ashamed to show my face here again. I mean, do real mom-bloggers ever slack like that?

I should hope so. 

Raising my kid comes first. Then being a good wife (yikes for sounding like I'm outta the 40s). Then being a good family member/friend. Then making the money.

So yeah, blogging falls pretty low on my list. Sorry folks.

BUT, I did realize the other day that I need to blog. If nothing else, to remember. People ask me questions about babies and I'm like "Dude, I dunno. I've slept since then" (which, bytheway, is a total insult to new moms). So going back to review my blogs has helped me remember.

Bria will be 1.5 this month! Look at how far we've come, people! We've kept her alive for one and a half years! With all the tantrums/demon-possessions, messes, health-scares (crazy non-itchy, non-hurting, all-body random rash = weekend trip to the doctor's office), food experiments, diaper discoveries, baby sitters, and more. I'm pretty stoked. I mean, not only do I like this whole "mom" thing... but I'm convinced I'm the best that's ever been.

When Bria grows up she will write a book about how fantastic her mom was (her dad too; he's pretty stellar). She'll praise our tactics (que flashback of us stifling a laugh while she throws a tantrum. Nothing quite as funny as a person throwing themselves down and rolling around, screaming), our tender care (flashback to me putting socks on her bc her feet are cold, even though I know she'll prolly slip on the hardwood floor), our entertainment value (flashback of my "dancing" and "singing" to Jason Mraz/Christmas music/90s music/Doc McStuffins songs), and our beautiful abode (current view: nothing is where it belongs).

...who am I kidding. Being a parent is a whole new level of 'hard'. I'm not trying to be perfect, nor do I claim to have all the answers. Even a year and a half in, I'm trying to figure it out.

"Bria won't eat today" Michael tells me. I shrug my shoulders and feed her something, anything, that she'll actually ingest.

"She just threw a tantrum because I didn't peel the banana fast enough", I say.
Then I eat the banana (trying to teach her that tantrums don't get her what she wants).

She hits/punches/kicks one of us or another adult. (sigh)
Oh the techniques we've implemented and tried to use to cure this. I'll write a blog post when she's 100% cured of her lashing-out. Until then we just read the signs: is she tired, is she rubbing her eyes, is she getting tantrum-y? We've got about 20 seconds before she pops us.
Quick! Put her down for a nap!

So, you see, if you want adventure, and if you are looking for a life that is different every single day... then you want kids, my friend. No day is the same. Every day you are faced with new challenges. No day is ever perfect, or easy. But through all of these challenges, the triumphs far outweigh the defeats. In fact, I try not to classify anything as a "defeat". It's all a learning experience. Those multiple restaurant trips, when one of us walked her around outside instead of eating, those were moments when we learned that Bria can't handle restaurants. Or rather, restaurants can't handle Bria. They were also moments when we realized if we gatta go out to eat, we're doing it at 3pm, and we're doing it at Chili's (or some other kid-friendly establishment, where the other customers aren't expecting a quiet/romantic/serene/clean dinner because they had kids of their own).

Basically, we've got it good. I thank the Lord every day that we have a healthy, happy toddler. I still cherish the simple things (watching her sleep, the tight hugs she dishes out, her smile, quiet time when a sitter keeps her over night, etc). And I still can't wait to expand our family even more (calm down. Its not happening yet). More than anything, Bria has taught me how to approach life.
We could have it SOOOOO much worse than we do.
We could be in a MUCH worse situation than we are.
We truly have been BLESSED.
Whether you're spiritual, religious, or nothing at all... you've gatta appreciate what you've got.


Colts fan? Daddy wishes.

My last bit of advice is to adopt an optimistic view on life. Motherhood, and life in general, are gonna be tough. You know this. I know this. We all know its not gonna be easy.
But be a deliberate optimist. Be a deliberate mother. Deliberately choose joy. Smile on purpose. Work hard at being happy. Work hard at raising your kids right. It's so important to teach your kids that it's possible to make it through the hard times. To teach them to smile even when things get bad, just because they know it will get better again one day. And, if you're the type, to teach them that He's got a plan.


Chocolate lover.

Singing like mommy?

Pillow Fort

And then when you're having a bad day, maybe you've believe it too.