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As Holi – day season begins Remember He is Good

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My little sister shared this with me. The words are simple. The message is simple. It reminds me that every day is better than before because my God reveals Himself to me. And He is so good to me.

As your holidays and life get more complicated remember this.

Fascinating Places

2019 will be a fascinating journey for me. It has started with a bang.  I have spent the first part of January reading books that take me deep into the jungles of the African continent. I read the story of one of the last people brought to the United States on a slave ship. He spoke of what his life was like before being captured. He spoke of his family and their customs, the rituals to become a man and get married.

More important, he spoke of the process of being captured to be a slave and what it was like watching everyone he loved being murdered. Like the author of the book, for many years I thought that the Europeans had seized the Africans from their native homes. But in Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, the old African man told a different story.

He spoke of other African tribes who ruthlessly killed entire villages just to capture the young and strong people to sell to the Europeans.  These killers left their regular way of life, which was farming, to become slavers. Motivated by greed, they created soldiers that could terrorize and take out a whole village. These soldiers were paid by the number of heads they brought back. The skulls were collected as a prize by their king.

It made me think. As these greedy people sold off all of their strength for material wealth, they were not prepared to fight the colonization that would overtake and suppress them. It reminds me that the greedy people today won’t get away with their evil deeds. They are just getting prepared to be undone by something more evil than themselves.

Another book took me into a different part of the continent. I loved reading how Nelson Mandela’s father was the family historian. He could recount the family’s history for hundreds of years, yet he could read or write.  Our history was repeated by word of mouth through the generations.

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It reminded me of my own family who would sit and tell stories of the way it used to be.  Even today I question older relatives to the point of annoyance because I want to know more. I want to know what it was like and what they did. But I am finding that some of the secrets older people tried to keep, are coming to light.

But this part of the journey makes me appreciate a history told orally and through art, like masks and other sculpture. It tells us what is beautiful. What is powerful. What is important. The thing I appreciate about African Art is that it finds beauty in the work. It is not an exact replica of someone or something. It just is.

We need to do the same. We need to tell our children the stories orally of our family. We need to create art that represents what legacy we leave behind. Many of the previous generations of my family were poor and undereducated. They did not think they were leaving much behind, but the truth is they left a lot.

I love the story Nelson tells of the first pair of pants he wore. They were not a brand new pair fresh from the tailor. They were an old pair of his father’s pants. His father cut them off so they would fit, and used a rope around the waist to hold them up. Nelson said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Think about what legacy you are leaving your family. What kind of objects are you making to represent it? Do your children know your family’s story? Do you? Remember when you carve out your part of your family history, it does not have to look like someone else’s. Like the African mask, it only represents what you want it to.

They Inspire Me

I have spent the last couple of weeks drawing. I have done over 30 images of women who inspire me by the way they live their lives. They have supported me in all sorts of ways. Drawing all of them has been hard. I have literally worked until I couldn’t look at a computer screen. My eyes grew cloudy and burned continuously late into the night.  I have learned how to handle new details of how to make each drawing better. As I learned new things, I had to resist the urge to go back and do it to the drawings I had already completed.

I have written stories about how these women’s lives have pushed me on. It is such a blessing to live in a community where there is good life. You are surrounded by good life, just step outside yourself and see.

This woman here is good at everything she does. She dances. She draws. She helps others. She loves her family. I love watching her life because when it is all said and done, life will be broke and she will be rich. She is using it all.

Keisha

 

Happy New Year

Old years pass, new ones come. Sometimes it just seems like another day. Sometimes the day lands on a milestone. 2015 is going to be a milestone for me and I am excited. Amazing things will happen in 2015.

One of the best things I saw on Facebook was “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” Life should be filled with ups and downs, with people you love and hate, and places, lots and lots of places.

It is easy to get into a routine and become comfortable with the pattern. It is not our nature to venture out of our safe zones. We tend to like things we can control. I guess I can only speak for me.

I can truthfully say 2014 was not like any other year I had. I was out of my comfort zone often. I experienced things I had not experienced before.  God led me through this year, and it was an adventure. Toward the end of the year I prayed “Lord, show me what you want me to know and keep from me things that you do not.” He was faithful.

I have tried to give up understanding everything that happens and have chosen to trust God’s plan. As I raise my daughter, she doesn’t get explanations for everything I teach her. Sometimes she just has to trust me.  Sometimes I just have to trust Him.

I have chosen to cherish the memories He has given me and be a blessing when I can.  I am a child of the Most High God, (John 1:12) and that is something to rejoice over. Happy New Year Everyone.

Peace and Hair Grease.