The Torn Edges of Life Are Beautiful
Mixing the bits and pieces of art and life
Seven of these prints are headed to New York. They will hang in seven different bedrooms in a women's shelter for victims of domestic abuse. I am so touched that my words ~ my art will have such a powerful spot in a woman's life. A life that has been hurt. A room that will have so much emotion swirling around it. A hideaway for some. A new beginning for others. A place to heal, to dream and to plan. This is the best part of having the creative business I have. The ability to touch someone's heart. To create beauty around them when sometimes the beauty in their lives is hard to see.
I feel so honoured to have my art; a piece of me be a part of such an important space for the women who spend time in these rooms. I hope they all know what courage they have and can see and believe in their strength.
When my daughter was in Grade 6 she went through a lot of personal growth. She learned the value of good friends and she learned that sometimes being "popular" isn't all that important. My message to her at that time was to embrace who she was as a person. Shortly after that conversation I created the first "Just Be YOU". This piece is important to me as the words symbolize a really difficult time for not only my daughter but for so many others that struggle with self acceptance.
It doesn't matter if you are 12 years old or 44 or 54, figuring out that YOU are unique and fabulous is a difficult thing. When you are a young girl you have so much going on inside your head that sometimes you don't have a clue what to think or what to do with yourself. If someone was to look inside the head of a teenage girl I would imagine, at times, it looks like a tornado bordering on a hurricane. I can say that because I remember being a teenager and all the thoughts and feelings that went a long with it oh so well. Sometimes words are hard to come by and you are left with simply your thoughts. And those thoughts swirl and swirl around and make you crazy and then, in the next moment you feel totally normal and life is good.
Now 14 and in high school my daughter and her friends have matured so much. Still, that message of just be you comes out of my mouth often And, it comes out to my son too. Boys need the same message. It a world where magazines, television, youtube and social media bombards our youth every second it must be so hard to listen to your inner voice. You want to be who you are but the world tells you that you must be something different. I believe strongly in people simply being themselves; not hiding behind the masks of what you should be, but living a life true to who you are.
So.... another piece sharing the same message of just be you has been born. The one and only original piece is 6"x6" and has been created on wood. It would look great sitting on a mantle or on a wall in your daughter's room right beside the mirror. This original can be purchased HERE. Prints of this image are 8"x8" and can be purchased HERE.
As you go about your day find joy in all you are, the good stuff and the not so good. All of it creates the awesomeness you bring to this world!
Not to long ago I was asked by Maryanne Lechleiter of Stimuli Magazine if I wanted to participate in this years Chairs and more! for Charity. Last year it was just chairs that were re-purposed but this year they decided to expand on the idea and add the MORE to make it more than just chairs. It could be a buffet, table, chairs, hutch whatever you could re-purpose. I didn't have too much time from when I said "Yes" to the deadline for delivery so I aimed for an end table rather than something bigger.
I managed to find this awesome little table and scooped it right out from under some man who couldn't make up his mind. I could make up my mind so I was the winner. It was kinda funny because he was watching me size it up from behind a vase of fake flowers.
Below I have outlined using photos the process from start to finish. I started with a boring brown table.
I added some big bold flowers, more texture and a few hearts. As with all my paintings I painted the edge of the table black. The legs were painted with a mixture of two types of yellow paint and white. I stencilled in a dahlia designs across the front and added fingerprint dots across the front and around the legs.
Below is a view of the back of the table. I left it fairly simple.
Many hours later a finished table emerged. I am loving how it ended up and I think it looks even better "in person". If you love this arty table and want to bid on it check out details HERE. As with all my art, this too is signed and dated on the back.
It's been two years since Amanda Todd took her life and changed the lives of so many around the world. Carol, Amanda's mom has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for mental health by telling Amanda's story. She has travelled from coast to coast throughout Canada and in the United States for various speaking engagements, television shows and radio. I am sure, in light of the tremendous loss she must still feel she has saved many lives.
It's amazing how one young girl created such massive change and growth. What power she left in the hands of her mom and the courage it has taken for her to carry it all out.
There has been lots of changes in the last two years. People are speaking out more about mental health; trying to erase the stigma that surrounds it. This is a good thing. People shouldn't have to suffer alone and people shouldn't feel they need to hide it. It's hard enough in this life when you are healthy mentally; add a dose of depression in there or anxiety and life can be debilitating. There has been more awareness on how we treat each other as human beings. You see the line "everyone has a story" posted often. Everyone does have a story. Some are far more difficult to read than others. Some people are forthcoming with their stories and others find such shame and sadness with their stories it makes it hard to express so it remains bottled.
Nowadays, keeping an open line of communication with kids is essential but what is more essential is actually listening to what they are saying. Listening without judgment and actually hearing their words. It's true when they say everyone wants to be heard. What is never said is that some people actually find it too hard to talk about the things that are hurting their souls. It doesn't mean they aren't screaming on the inside that they want to share; they are just to afraid or ashamed or just can't.
For me, through the process of creating art I find the words. They may not be seen on the finished piece and they may never be 'heard' by another person but they are there. Under each layer is a thought, a story a moment. We need to recognize that not only do people all people have a story but they tell it in different ways; we just need to pay attention and see the clues for how they are trying to show us.
Below is a post I wrote last year, a few days before the first anniversary of Amanda's death. It shares a bit of the back story on the creation of the piece, Snowflakes for a Cause. FULL proceeds of this print will go to the Amanda Todd Legacy Society.
Snowflakes and a Cause….
There is a lot of uncertainty in this world but the one thing I know for sure is how truly lucky I am to still have my Grandma in my life. Today ~ October 8, 2014 is my Grandma's birthday. She is 95 years old.
In her 95 years my Grandma has seen so much change. Recently I had a friend of mine Louanne Midgley of Tell Your Story record my Grandma's life story. I felt it was a really important story to preserve.
Born in 1919 she was the eldest of three. Uncle Howard and Auntie Phyllis and my Grandma grew up in the Kootenays where they had what sounded to be a pretty happy childhood. It was fun hearing Grandma tell stories in her own words of what she did as a young child and then as a teenager, young adult, married woman, mom and then widow. She was widowed very early into her marriage and was left to care for her two children on her own. Thankfully there was family to help out.
My Mom and my Uncle are 13 months apart and by the sounds of it kept Grandma on her toes. Raising two kids as a single mother back in the days where it was rare to be a single mother didn't seem to ruffle her feathers. She even ended up in the sanitarium with TB and her young kids were separated and apart from her. My Uncle went to live with family here in BC and my mom ended up at a convent with the nuns. When Louanne acknowledged what a difficult time it must have been for her Grandma paused to remember and simply said, "We had no choice but to move forward." I think that has always been her attitude and I am fortunate because I feel it is how I was raised to think. There is no point in dwelling on stuff just move forward.
At 95 years old we know there isn't many years left. I have been so lucky to have had such a close relationship with my Grandma and for so long. My brother and I are the only grandchildren my Grandma has. When others comment that they have five, six or 10 grandchildren she always strongly said "I have two." Never having cousins to share her with my brother and I got all her love and attention. Being a girl I think I shared a bit more time with Grandma than my brother did. I always had to share the bed with her or bunk with her when we went away. I remember her snoring. She remembers how much I kicked. Perhaps I was kicking to stop the storing. There was door knocking with her during election season as she rallied support for her local NDP candidate, there were peace marches downtown with lots of people and signs. She is an advocate for equal rights and woman's rights. She was and still is fierce.
I can really never remember a time where she wasn't around rooting for me. Even now, she is always asking how my cards are selling and wonders, like I do, where this talent of mine comes from. "Not me", she says. "It must have come from your Nana."
On my Grandma's 80th birthday she told me she didn't want anything. No gifts. I gave her one anyway, the gift of great-grandchildren. Tessa was born and I even laboured at her apartment because they sent me home from the hospital. She was so thrilled to tell her friends she was now a Great-Grandma. In my Grandma's perfect world she would be called "Grandmother". We call her GrandMA just to listen to her say "Don't call me MA!" Oh the giggles we have.
When I got my first tattoo I was late for dinner with Grandma. There was no cell phones so I didn't call to say I was going to be late. Once I got there I told her why I was late. She didn't give me the Oh what did you do that for? She simply asked to see it and was happy I made it there. I was in my early 20s. There was no judgment just a sharing of information and excitement and the story of how may day went and why I ended up getting a tattoo.
At 95 you have experienced a lot of loss. There aren't many of your friends left. You have out lived so many. Lately I have been taking my Grandma to eye specialist appointments. It's our thing. She hates going as she finds the appointments overwhelming and exhausting. I try to make these appointments as stress-less as possible for her. We laugh a lot. We take photos and share a meal after and go through all the happenings of the old folks home. Each time I arrive I ask Grandma how she is and she replies "Well I am still alive, so I guess all is good." Yes, it truly is a good thing.
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