We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. – T.S. Eliot
Think of a Mobius strip as a metaphor for ourselves and our lives – with outer and inner sides intertwined, complex – inseparable – and as T.S. Eliot writes, like a journey around our life exploring and growing so that when we make it to the end we’ve come to a place we know but have never been.
If we can look at life this way perhaps we can make it easier on ourselves to expose our soft bellies – and show the world who we are and never cease to look for the wonder and the joy in a world that is a glorious mystery – just like the Mobius strip.
I’m amazed by the wonderful people I’m meeting and their support and encouragement keeps me going.
This piece was inspired by them – their love surrounds me everyday and this week it is especially needed. As most of you know, I get an I.V. infusion of a biologic medication called Remicade to help control my Ankylosing Spondylitis. My usual schedule is every 5 weeks but due to my insurance changing in October, I’ve needed to stretch my last two infusions out to 6 weeks last time and it will be 7 weeks next Monday by the time I get my next dose so I’m struggling a bit this week. It always amazes me that the pain just rears its ugly head when the Remicade starts wearing off.
At heart (no pun intended) I’m a romantic, an idealist, and a hopeless optimist. I’d like to think that with continued awareness of AS, folks will be more open and less judgmental of people dealing with disabilities and chronic pain. We just do the best we can everyday – it may just be a bit less then most – but our hearts are open to possibilities and – apparently – Apples!
Day 88 was created with watercolor. Click on the image for a larger view – 399 Hearts and…. an Apple!
Care packages to Maine and Maryland are in the mail!
We have a tradition in our family to write clues about the present on the gift tag – we may ask for one or two specific gifts but additional small presents are a surprise and the clues make for great fun when opening the big boxes that arrive a few days before Christmas. Growing up my brothers and I looked forward to the box from my Dad’s mother. We called her Gammy (no ‘r’) and she was queen of the clue. My parents have done a spectacular job carrying on the tradition and now generation number four is getting into the swing of it! My step-daughter Amanda, has the bug and the gift clue tradition continues – there is some of the Dye side of the family in her regardless of genes!
I’ve loved seeing all the new visitors today – welcome and please stop by as often as you can – one apple a day for AS!
Day 77 was created with scraps of wrapping paper and a few small pieces from Country Living Magazine 🙂
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’m furiously finishing up my Christmas shopping to get care packages in the mail by Wednesday. Every year I think I’ll get it all done ahead of time so that I don’t put the added stress and strain on myself during the holidays – and every year I end up making a mad dash to the stores for the one item to finish off the care packages. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.
Day 74 was created in ink and colored prismacolor pencils.
Wikipedia says that a pattern comes from the French word patron (I thought that was a tequila) and is a type or theme of recurring events or objects that repeat in a predictable manner. I’ve always been interested in creating patterns and have experimented with them in my art. I’ve been fascinated about the idea of creating patterns that are at once predictable (which is necessary) and spontaneous (which goes against the rules.) I’ve written before about my love of the hand drawn line and my need to create art that isn’t digital – I don’t think much in life repeats in a “predictable manner” which is why I love working on this concept.
I had the idea to create an apple pattern today and it took some time to work out – how big would the apples be, how would I create the repeat (there are so many ways!) and then I saw it – the way the stem and leaf could touch and make almost a pinwheel or cross in the negative space – I guess I might have seen it sooner if I had just been using photoshop but where is the life in that – the “predictable manner” to me anyway loses some of the spark of life. I’ll go with spontaneity or chaos – suits me better.
Day 60 was created with watercolor is a wet on wet technique that is of course very unpredictable 🙂
I am truly thankful for having such a wonderful husband! Doug has been cooking up our dishes we’re taking to his Dad’s house shortly while I make my Art Apple – that’s love!
My parents took us to the Macy’s Day Parade one year. There are three things I clearly remember. 1.) My Dad lifting us up to get on top of a door overhang on so that we could see better (not so sure that would happen these days.) 2.) It was bitter cold. 3.) CHiP’s was huge that year (now I’m really dating myself) and my Mom and I loved Ponch and he was in the parade. He was on the other side of the road when he came by and I remember my Mom yelling out “Ponch!” and he looked up with that amazing smile and looked right at her – well we think so anyway. I will never forget that day.
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. That is extremely difficult to say and proclaim to the world. I have spent the better part of the last ten years hiding this part of who I am. I don’t think I’m alone or unlike so many people dealing with any of these similar inflammatory autoimmune diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Juvenile RA, and AS to name a few.) Before my diagnosis especially, all of my energy went into either finding an answer for the pain or doing what I could to get by.
My life became fight or flight and I didn’t have the energy or ability to do either! So, I survived by wearing a suit of camouflage and took on the stance of hunker down and hope no one noticed that I had stopped going to parties or hiking or skiing. Shoot, I cringed at the idea of becoming vertical let alone going to sit on rock hard bleachers for a game or figure out how to stand at a cocktail party (heels – hah!) The idea of making small talk when the pain medication I needed to be there made me either fuzzy or overly bubbly. I thought I had found a somewhat plausible story to tell people as to why I stopped working and the fun, crazy Jenna was just someone I outgrew. Sounds legit – get married and become boring… I became sooooo boring.
I think that the stigma is a big part of why others may hide also. Chronic pain is viewed like a modern day leprosy (my sincere apologies to anyone suffering with leprosy or Hansen’s disease – talk about a misunderstood illness and social stigma!) And that’s just it – there is a social stigma that will only diminish as more people discuss and share their lives and experiences. People who have a spotlight to actually speak firsthand about these illnesses have built their whole lives around a Hollywood façade – who’d want to hire them to be glamorous and adventurous in the movies if they actually told the story of their daily lives? I’m taking off the Camo and maybe little by little in conjunction with all the bloggers out there, like Kelly at RA Warrior who asked people to blog today about this topic, we can slowly one step at a time make a difference.
Day 54 was created with pen & ink with watercolor.
Day Eighteen (October 18th) was my first Paisley, but I did it in black & white and since then I’ve really wanted to do a companion piece in really bright colors. The pattern is almost identical but there are slight differences since I don’t digitally color my work – I create it all the old fashioned way – I sketch it out, refine the design, and transfer the design to good paper before drawing it out in ink before laying in the color – usually watercolor or gouache and occasionally in Letraset Pantone Tria markers like today. The colors are extremely vivid and are a great way to get color consistency from one area of the design to another unlike watercolor where I’m looking for the inconsistency and blended movement of the color.
I sat in on a WEGO webinar this evening. It was about health activism in chronic pain communities and it was very informative. But I’m having trouble trying to figure out where I fit in with my Art Apples. What I’m trying to do is to find a way to capture people’s interest who know nothing about AS and because they are intrigued by my endeavor – they stop and have to pay attention to what Ankylosing Spondylitis is. I think I’m trying to bring awareness but I don’t think I fit into the activism area. As time goes by – I’m sure this path I’m on will lead me where I’m supposed to go.
Day 53 was created with pen & ink and Letraset Tria Pantone markers.