My Dad is one of the most remarkable people I know.
You may think it’s strange of me to name a post about my Dad – “Sparkle and Shine” – but that is what he does.
His goodness shines out of him, his smile sparkles and his laugh is contagious. My Dad makes friends of strangers and is interested in who people are – what their life story is about. I look forward to our phone calls and hearing of his travels because I never know if I’ll hear about a man & his family bakery, a woman traveling to Africa for safari, or the missionary working with an adoption center in Ethiopia. He is earnest in his interest and concern for others and his ability to connect with people in such a genuine way is truly unique.
I could tell you so much more about him like how he tackles a problem, big or small, with determination and a stamina that is unmatched. He and my Mom bought a big old Mansard roof victorian home on an island off the coast of Maine that was in dismal shape and he has worked on it and worked on it ignoring the people who said it was too big a job, too much of a task. Dad has taken it one day and one step at a time and now he has a jewel and although he’s had some help – it was his vision and tenacity that have made it what it is.
This image shows some of the ancient wall paper that covered room after room of the walls. He’s scraped, sanded, painted, polished and now tirelessly creates the gardens. He has turned a dilapidated neglected structure into a place like him – it sparkles and shines and glows. It matches the happiness in his heart – a truly special place.
I love you Daddy.
Day 262 was created in 40 year old wallpaper sent to me by my Dad for a day I might be inspired by it. Oh, and some sparkly metallic paints.
*** My Mom has made our island house a home – and she’s worked her tail off too!
I’ve often pondered the question “what is art?” – as I’m sure most artists and critics do at some time. And although everyone seems to have an opinion – I see no consensus. Some days my art has meaning, some days it is strictly to feel the hand touch the paper, but everyday – it is a way.
Day 259 was created with a piece of my latest test blotter paper (a place where I check colors before adding them to my pieces as well as testing and flowing pens) as well as a cut out shape of an apple shaded with my index finger prints (for my Dad) and a leaf shaped just so and “colored” with green pastels.
The last time I was so active with my art was the couple of years before I got sick. We were living in the bay area south of San Francisco and I was helping to run a small non-profit community art school. After years in sales it was refreshing and rewarding and I was surrounded by artists. I became so inspired that I needed canvas fast so instead of making frames, stretching the canvas, and needing to gesso and prep for painting I rushed out to the art supply store to buy some ready made. The problem was that I bought two huge canvases and they wouldn’t fit in the back of my car so I had no choice but to strap them to the roof! Since it was a beautiful day, I was not going home empty handed.
The whole time I had a huge smile on my face because I was aware that I looked very silly and apparently I was right because I looked up from my square knot to see a sweet looking old man standing on the sidewalk just watching me. I said hello and we started chatting. And then, this glorious stranger said something so lovely and wonderful that when I got home I took down his words.
He said, “Paint what is inside of you and it will be glorious. You make my heart sing.” WOW! I’ve never forgotten him and his heartfelt words. They are a part of me. Kind words, of the heart and from a stranger are extremely powerful. Let love rule – find a way to speak kindly to strangers because who knows, you may end up living in their hearts forever.
Day 131 was created with acrylic paints, glaze, torn brown paper bag, watercolor paper, graphite, and a splash of red.
Random Thought One: Before I had any idea that I would study art at UMass, my parents bought a signed print of the full color spectrum of hearts by Jim Dine. I guess I was as intrigued by it as they were because I couldn’t stop looking at it. I can see it in my mind’s eye to this day and although I don’t consider the piece pop art apparently Wikipedia believes much of his work was. Here is a link to the piece, I may need to get one!
Random Thought Two: One of my favorite web posts of 2010 was about the full color logos of the web from ColourLovers.com. It seems the most popular colors are blue (facebook, twitter) and red (YouTube, Adobe) but the top two ranked for branding are full spectrum color logos (google, windows/msn). We are all drawn to images that contain all the colors in their pure light form.
Random Thought Three: My Dad picked me up from college one spring. On the drive back to Maine a rainbow appeared. It was like we were magically in the perfect center of the arch and we could see an entire half circle all the way across the sky and then… the rainbow came across the trees and over the road and INTO the car – on both sides. I kid you not! Now, you have to understand my Dad – a more enthusiastic lover of life and people could not be found. So it was only natural for us to start hooting and hollering and rolling down the windows to marvel at the revelation that there is treasure at the end of the rainbow. You just have to accept that you won’t find gold but something much, much more valuable.
Day 118 was created in watercolor and a touch of pearl metallic.
***Update*** My Dad added this in the comments but I’d like to add it here too:
Bill Dye’s comments “You have brought back such a wonderful memory; the two of us experiencing the startling revelation that the prize at the end of the rainbow was the joy of self and the thrill that we could see and feel it together. It came through the windows and right into our laps. As in the description of the family’s experience in San Francisco as told at the bottom of this link: http://quezi.com/985 it might not be as easy to explain scientifically as your older brother, Michael, told us later that day with his dispersing prisms, optics and refraction, we lived a moment in time that we’ll never forget that spot on I-495 just north of the Merrimack River in Lawrence, MA right across from the Lawrence airport. Your lucky Mom gets reminded of the event every time we pass that spot. As we lived that incredible experience, I feel that you’ve been touched by a rare sense of color and it’s powerful potential; thanks for sharing it with us daily. I really dread day 366; hope it won’t end. Couldn’t love you more.”
I am so excited to tell you about Henri & the Bee!
A story by a 5th grader by the name of Katherine and her dad Jeff, about a a dog named Henri who dreams of travels across the country and through the seasons in search of a sweet treat. Helped by a friendly bee, Henri savors life’s moments. This charming story is illustrated with lovely, vivid designs and is available as a book or calendar and the proceeds will be donated to various non-profit organizations. One of the featured charities is the Spondylitis Association of America! Please take a look – it’s a great way to support the SAA. I’m thrilled to have been able to introduce Jeff Lea, the CEO of Rev Pay Solutions, to the folks at the SAA and he was kind enough to include Art Apple A Day on their blogroll as well!
I have to admit that I wouldn’t have made it this far without the encouragement and support of so many people. As time goes on, I will be talking about how my support team and some new friends have kept me going. I will fulfill my pledge and create my 365 days of apples and we will have all done it together. Since I live with AS, there have been some difficult times but I refuse to give up or give in and AS has taught me that this is the only way to live our lives no matter what challenges we face.
I’d like to thank the Spondylitis Association of America who helped me a few years back when I really needed a connection and a community and then again this year with their support of Art Apple A Day. Their dedication to fighting AS and related diseases and those of us living with AS is truly amazing – I feel hopeful and confident with them at the helm.
For any new visitors who found your way here from the SAA Holiday Card – I’d like to thank you as well. Your support of the SAA means more research for a cure as well as continued programs, seminars, and outreach. Please follow my progress as I work to raise awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis with my Art Apple A Day. You can sign up to get the daily Apple emailed to you each morning – there is a sign up box in the upper right hand corner of my blog page. Also – apple ideas are welcome and truly appreciated! I’d love to hear from you – your comments and feedback keep me on my path 🙂
I read a few of the books in the series as a kid and imagined myself climbing into the wardrobe and appearing in another land. C.S. Lewis has an amazing ability to put you right there under that lamp post and I can’t wait to see the latest Narnia movie that comes out today to escape into another world – at least for a few hours. For me the book is always better but with fantasy and science fiction stories and the amazing computer generated graphics and effects, a trip into the film makers view is worth a visit to the theater – almost always and I don’t think that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will disappoint.
Day 71 was created with metallic liquid acrylics – oh and a toothbrush to splatter the snow 🙂
Christmas lights! Love ’em – hate ’em – can’t live without them!
We always put up a live tree. Maybe someday I’ll give in to the convenience of an artificial one but it won’t be because of the sap that gets all over the house as you drag in the tree, or the needles that shed continually for a month and eventually clog your vacuum or even the fact that you’ve got to somehow manage to keep it watered. Oh no…. it will be so that Doug and I don’t argue about the lights!
We’ve settled into many patterns in our lives – it happens once you’ve been with someone long enough. I do most of the food shopping and cooking, he cleans the cat boxes. He makes the coffee in the morning and I feed the animals. Fair trades mostly although Doug does things for me without any complaint because he’s lived with me and the beast of my chronic pain and if he doesn’t understand, he certainly knows how AS has affected me. It doesn’t necessarily always make it easy and the Christmas lights are a great example of just that. I want them put on the tree in a certain way – I’m very opinionated about these things and he knows that it is a job that really stresses my body. So, bless his heart, he puts up with my direction of “no, closer together” or “you missed that branch.” Yup, he puts up with it but he does it for me and it usually consists of a bit of bickering back and forth because no matter how particular you are in putting those lights away the year before, they always snake and twist and tangle. Pretty much like anything that is worthwhile – it takes some working through to enjoy and appreciate!
Since tomorrow starts off the Holiday season and I’ll be creating lots of Christmas and Holiday images, I decided to go with something that wasn’t red & green!
One of the first years that Doug and I were together I strung together popcorn and cranberries for our tree and made paper chains. We didn’t have many ornaments and I was looking for projects to do with my then new 12 year old step-daughter. It took some time but Amanda was a trooper and we strung up enough for the tree. It was beautiful – I loved the simple scaled down Christmas tree. I may need to revisit that look this year!
Day 61 was greated with Letraset Tria Pantone marker.
I love picking out paint colors. There is something glorious about walking up to a wall of colors that exhilarates me – I get the same rush when I go to the art supply, fabric store, yarn shop or even Pottery Barn or Nordstom’s for that matter. The possibilities abound and whether or not I’m choosing colors with a purpose or wild abandon – I love a well combined pallet!
For a few years at the beginning of dealing with my AS, I was on a lot of medications for the pain and I just couldn’t see the colors or maybe I didn’t care – dealing with chronic pain takes simple joys out of life in so many ways. I’m not sure how to explain that but I didn’t get the thrill from my art that I get now that I’m on the Remicade and feeling relatively well. The disease had me in it’s grip and the initial medications didn’t allow me to be me – that big piece of who I am. I am so grateful for Remicade and how much of my life I have back since starting on it. There are many people dealing with AS who are either afraid to start a biologic medication for fear of the possible consequences or they aren’t able to access them due to insurance reasons. This is a big problem and people need to know that life is better for so many on these types of medications and we need to help figure out a way to give people more access to this care.