Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days: September 4 & 5

Days 4 and 5 of the challenge are similar but different. Day Four is a tiny 3" x3" canvas I created simply by making marks and looking for something to appear. In this case it was a quartet of tiny houses. If you want to look for deeper meaning, I imagine it comes two fold in this one. First, the changing face of housing in Portland. So many old homes and buildings being demolished to create giant multi-apartment behemoths. It's happening all around me and my feelings of over crowding and loss of architectural history find their way into my artwork- subconsciously or not.

The second, comes from the political changes and treatment of the poor, immigrants and minorities under this new administration. Are we not all entitled to "the American Dream"? The cozy home in the suburbs with the white picket fence, and 2.5 kids. Prosperity. Neighborly support. Maybe these tiny houses are my way of crying out for the loss of the American dream. There's plenty more where these came from too. I imagine these themes playing out in my artwork for the foreseeable future.

Tiny Houses.jpeg

My Day Five painting is a little less heady. It's the nighttime version of the view I posted for Day Three. The view from a balcony in Long Island City, where I was lucky enough to paint plein air in August. More on that soon, but here's the  sketch of the night time view. Soon these NYC sketches will help me complete three larger canvases I started there. Perhaps that's an October project though. ;)

Views From Long Island City

Be Nice

 

Something that's been on my mind a lot lately is the notion of kindness and acceptance. I will skip the political purview and keep it high level here, but the commentary I've seen and heard from people I love and respect (and those I don't know), regarding what's happening in the world... it's been pretty discouraging. When I stop and think about it, I know that most folks are just supporting what they think is best for them, their family, or the country- who doesn't want good things?-- but it feels like, to me, that the bigger picture sometimes gets lost. I know the issues are big, and I am probably oversimplifying here, but my thoughts always bring me back to the same place: Why can't we all just be nice to each other? If only it were that easy, right?

With this notion of kindness in mind, I began 2016 with a goal to send art and/or handwritten notes to people randomly in the mail. I have always enjoyed sending cards and gifts to friends and family for occasions, but I thought it would be more fun to send stuff randomly. I expect nothing in return, but it does feel really wonderful to get a thank you note, text or email. Hearing I made someone smile, it really makes my day. So far I have sent tiny paintings, mugs, and building blocks to people in Brazil, Norway, Italy, and to New York, Connecticut, Kansas City, Portland and a few I have already forgotten. I aim to send at least 1-2 packages a month. Here's a few things I've sent so far:

I sent this little guy to Rio De janeiro. A small gift for a newly married couple with a bit of the wanderlust. I thought it could be a home away from home where ever they roamed.

This here is Dex the Dog, the longtime companion of a friend of mine. Dex left us last year, for that big dog park in the sky. I had seen this photo of him on Facebook and made a fast painting while I was in Mexico.

 

 

Sometimes, like now, I daydream of turning this into a bigger movement of kindness: making rules and guidelines, trying to engage others via Instagram or Facebook, but at the end of the day, it's just my fun personal project, I'll try to keep up with from here. If you need a pick-me-up, feel free to send me your mailing address. I'll do my best to send you something when you least expect it. If you choose to do the same for someone else, even better!

 

How do you cut through the steady stream of opinions and anger in your day to day?