Many different symbols have meaning to those who are celebrating good things in their lives. My favorite anecdote of the week came from Heather Hamel and a student’s description of the Bronco’s team being the “horse heads.” Maybe you are your helmet. American symbolism.
Aside from horse heads, there is abundant symbolism in Hinduism with animal heads for deities. I have a casual friend who is from India and is celebrating her first child, a girl. Through many conversations with her, I have learned about Shiva and Ganesha. I have learned about traditions and what some may call superstitions. I can relate because similar stories from different backgrounds were rampant in my childhood. Maybe that is why I love a good story, visual or written.
It is the art, the mystery, the heritage and imagery which is so rich with intention. My grandmother immigrated from Krakow Poland and she used to tell me not to walk under ladders and to make the sign of a cross when a black cat crossed my path. On occasion, after I told her something she questioned, she would insist I stick out my tongue for her to examine. Evidently in old world Poland, a liar wags a white tongue. I wasn’t much of a liar but always pondered if eating vanilla ice cream effected her opinion of me. The old world traditions are to be celebrated. Visits with grandma were innocent and lively. I played with chickens in her back yard, never making the connection with the ever-present-whole-boiled chicken on the stove. Her chicken and dumplings were the best and she kept the mystery intact about how a chicken got to the stove.
Anyway, I stray from topic. It is the essence of each personal story that I celebrate here. Grandma also called her big white Cadillac a “catalog.” It wasn’t so much the language, but the meaning expressed by her eager pointing of the finger which made her understood. Sunny day drives in her catalog were THE best.
In celebration of positive symbolism, I give you inspiration for my latest drawing. Bright colors to express positive energy. A quote from the Talmud, “Let the honor of others be as dear to you as your own honor.” Symbolism to convey strength, stability and patience. Consider the Hindu deity with an elephant’s head, Ganesha. The popular Hindu god of luck, fortune, protection, providing blessings to new projects. (There’s no better new project than a newborn). Ganesha is also the patron saint of Art, Science and letters. I’m not sure if that is related to letters in the alphabet, or letters of correspondence. It took me a month of consecutive short sessions to draw this. Sharpie, colored pencil. Inspired by a 1″ piece of faded-pseudo-gold- elephant jewelry I found at the thrift store. This was a gift to Joy and Vinnie, celebrating their new daughter Shreehita. Many blessings of success and protection.
Hot topics for the month of January, 2014. Let’s start with the inspirations of Spring.
Anyone else have confused plants in their yard? Budding blooms for the middle of January? My show-stopping Bougainvillea plant was frozen-wilt-brown-down to the branches, but my Bird of Paradise which is 12 feet away– has a new bloom. It’s as if winter came with a Freeze Ray Gun, Jack Frost hit some things and not others. Proof that life is not meant to be completely understood, or that simple Luck carries a strong card, even in the face of winter.
Fauna. In the News— it is THE Year of the Horse. Very exciting. Right in synch with the completed series of illustrations for the publication of Heather Hamel’s new book “Kobi, Memoirs of a Mustang.” Released this Sunday (today!), available for sale on Amazon.com. It is in hard copy (softback) or as an e-book (the “e” is for easy, since it is written at Middle School reading level and Advanced Reading, AR, for 4th-5th graders). Rally here and share with me that light-hearted-weight-off- the-shoulders-feeling which is associated with crossing one more thing off the personal bucket list. Oh, and meeting a freelance deadline for illustrating a book (whew). Search my “Drawing” section at this website to see the chapter pages as depicted for Heather’s book about an adopted Mustang. Kobi-the-horse won awards in the Dressage ring. Kobi-the-book won the Palm Literary Award for unpublished Middle School level reading. More awards are coming, now that it is in circulation. I’m pleased to report that Heather also chose my artwork for her cover (see the Kobi book cover at the “Artwork-Paintings” section of this website.) It’s all Kobi, cover to cover. Since Heather and I also work together at an Elementary School, we will be launching our author/illustrator book talk and book signing at our school in two weeks.
Next topic, Food. How to survive a flip-flop-eat-and-go-deadline-oriented schedule? It’s not fast food, but slow food. I have a few tips on how to survive a wicked schedule. Eat right. Exercise, at least a little. Your body will thank you, and your brain will thank you too. I cook one day a week and make it all from scratch. Package it in bundles for lunch at work, and freezer packs for evening quick-meals. Be a localvore and buy organic at the Farmer’s Market. Support your local restaurant which bakes its own bread and buys from local farms. Eat grass-fed beef, buy GreenWise chicken. Leave the boxed foods on the shelf at the grocery store, well…unless it’s Black Jewell popcorn. Why do I share this? Survival under stress. On January 7th, I enrolled at Flagler College for a Bachelor’s in Science Program with a Grant Writing component. Some people adopt kids or horses. Well, I’m adopting an education. It’s just as big a time eater. The schedule is not for the weak-kneed. I will graduate in the Spring of 2016. Most of my friends know that while college is in-session, the art projects will be sporadic and connections for play-dates a little bit loose.
The most exciting new art project is in connection with Whitney Lab. They are building a Sea Turtle Rehab Hospital. It’s annexed to Marineland. I have been invited to draw some things to help launch their education outreach program. I’m working with scientists who have kept in touch with me over the last couple years. I can honestly say that I would always prefer to work with these locally-minded-kind-outdoor-scholars than ever launch into the big time. A sense of community with art projects is paramount.
And go to the movies! Watch this… http://www.fandango.com/movie-trailer/themonumentsmen-trailer/161603/2400475717 Be reminded that art is worth fighting for and defines who we are. Yup, because George Clooney said so.
Until then. Flora, Fauna, and Food. Year of the Horse. And thank you for the Birthday Money from California. It will help with my student loan. Cheers!
PITT pen Black with Sharpie. Base sketch done with graphite. www.whitney.ufl.edu
PITT pen Black and Sharpie. Base sketch in graphite. www.whitney.ufl.edu
Indian ink PITT pen and Sharpie. Character development for Swampy by Heather M. Hamel, author.
Kobi and Sugar “at hay” Indian ink PITT pen and Sharpie.
Indian Ink PITT pen and Sharpie.
Indian ink PITT pen and Sharpie
Graphite B pencil and PITT artist pens on classic cream drawing paper.
On a drawing pad, Black PITT pen Faber Castell and Sharpie marker. Base sketch in graphite HB. This gentle subject matter is from a detail in a vintage photo identified as 1920 Ellis Island, NYC. I can count on vintage stuff to inspire me.