Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

January's Theme: Personal History

My Grandma * My Mother * Myself
The recent declining health of my grandma has had me thinking a lot about her life. Born and raised on the islands of Hawaii, her world, as a Japanese immigrant, was completely turned upside down after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Folks who one day saw her as a young and vibrant young woman wanted nothing to do with her the next day in the wake of the attack by Japan. But she pushed through, putting herself through college by working in an orphanage and eventually becoming a nurse. After marrying my grandfather, a mainlander, she moved with him to the Midwest where the only job she could get in any hospital was that of a janitor. The discrimination she faced on the islands was miniscule when compared to that she faced on the mainland. Three daughters and a son later, she was eventually able to return to nursing when the family moved to California. Since my grandma worked night shifts, my mom and her sister were responsible for all the household duties of cooking and cleaning. Though my mom married my dad, her High School sweetheart, at a young 19-years old, I suspect she was a much older 19-years old than I was at that age. I am now 32-years old with a 2-year old son. When I was 2-years old, my mom was 23 - just a kid herself - and also caring for a 2-month old baby. I don't know how she did it.
It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be a mom while also pursuing my career path and seeking out creative alternatives as my life's work. I spend my days working on different projects, taking on any kind of creative adventure I can get my hands into. I know that each and every stroke of a paint brush or scratch of lead on paper is a gesture made possible by the lives of my grandma and my mom. Inevitably, as one life reaches its end another begins its great journey. I hope to always have, at the core of my soul, the essence of survival that I associate with the lives of the women before me.
And looking at these photographs, I see something similar in our smiles - the way they lift our cheeks and round out our faces. Even once she's gone, I'll turn to my smile for comfort, knowing that grandma is there saying to me, "Look at that sunset. Quick, Dawn, paint it!"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

a treat

First the sketch, then the painting. Painted it right on a piece of birch plywood. I like the natural look of it. Think I'll do more like this. It was nice to be painting today. There were so many "shouldas" (I shoulda been doing this, I shoulda been doing that) - but when I woke up before everyone else this morning, it was the first thing that occured to me to do. And then I made the time to finish this afternoon. It's actually a little drizzly here today. Nice day to be inside.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

how sweet it is

It's so fun to draw cupcakes and ice cream and all sweets in general. I wonder how that would work as a diet...instead of eating what I crave, I draw it. Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday

Over the holidays a friend gave me this photo of me taken back in 1991...fresh out of high school, summer before heading off to college and looking generally spaced out. Ha ha.

I don't remember ever looking like this. Looking at it makes me feel swollen.

My husband says he fell in love with the distant look in my eye that he'd catch from across the classroom, looking like I'd rather be anywhere but here...looking like my mind was already there, just waiting to be physically removed from the hell that was high school. I've never seen that look for myself. When I saw this photo, I suddenly understood what others see when I'm off in my land of daydreams. Hello...hello...earth to Dawn...

Monday, January 09, 2006

fallen off the new year's wagon

A graphic I put together for my "Buzzing Bog" site. Everyone asks...what is the Buzzing Bog? I hope to answer that question by FINALLY developing my story. But, that will require me to banish from existance non-productive weeks like the one I had last week. On that note...

Failed Attempts at my New Year's Resolutions:

1. One painting a week. [nope, not yet. this week i'll have to do 2 to catch up]

2. One creative thing a day. [no excuse - just didn't dedicate the time]

3. Diet and exercise. [lost 2 pounds...but before the weekend I was down 4 pounds. you guessed it - mexican food.]

4. Read the newspaper EVERYDAY. [does reading headlines count?]

5. Replace booz with tea. [same as resolution #3 - did pretty well until i hit the weekend]