There is no "normal" for a kid living in a refuge camp. Most people don't realize that it gets quite cold in the Middle East during the winter, and heat is unlikely in the camps, and often in homes. ANERA has distributed over 100,000 pairs of shoes and boots to keep the children safe and warm in Lebanon's refugee camps and in Gaza. Tom's has been very generous in donating the shoes and boots for the children, who otherwise might be barefoot. According to ANERA's recent newsletter, they have also distributed millions of dollars worth of vital medicines and supplies to clinics and hospitals in Lebanon and Palestine during the past year, 20,000 relief kits (school supplies, blankets, quilts, hygiene supplies, and clothing) in Lebanon, and as mentioned previously, 12,200 parasite treatment kits to prevent lice in the overcrowded camps in Lebanon.
Aside from all of the physical abnormalities of living in a refugee camp, imagine the psychological affects of living in a refugee camp where children see death from illness, violence or electricution all too often. There may not be places for them to play, or clean water to drink.
Please consider a donation to ANERA www.anera.org and please mention "The Innocents Project."
acrylic - 12x12 in
This beautiful little girl lives at the Ein El Helweh Camp and attends kindergarten with the young girl in my previously posted painting, "793 Not Forgotten." ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) recently renovated the preschool at the camp and is focusing on providing a safe and intellectually stimulating place for these young children so they can find some sense of normalcy in an unstable and sometimes violent area.
To read more about ANERA and their commitment to refugees in Lebanon and Palestine, please visit their web site" http://anera.org/ and please consider making a donation to "The Innocents Project." Not only do they help with the physical rebuilding/remodeling of schools, but they provide medical supplies, education, distribution of warm clothes and blankets, etc to those in need.
acrylic - 12x12 in
acrylic - 30x40 in
I felt like doing something a little different so I employed my favorite palette knives for this scene from Hollywood Beach, Florida on a cool Sunday afternoon. The photo reference is very tranquil, much better than the painting. Not every painting is a winner, I humbly admit.
BUT speaking of winners, and to make up for the crappy painting, I am SO proud to share that my garden club won the People's Choice Award for their floral interpretation of Gerhard Richter's painting "Breath" at the Milwaukee Art Museum's Art in Bloom. It is mostly florists and grocery store floral departments who participate in this spectacular event. We may be the only club, and most definitely have the most limited budget. Here is our entry. I will share some of my other favorites below it.
This next piece is one of my favorite paintings at the museum, "Betalo Nude" by Robert Henri, with such a soft and luscious color palette. The Milwaukee Flower Company's Sally Vander Wyst and Courtney Stenberg created the floral masterpiece, which includes a handmade custom container for this gorgeous arrangement. I was very disappointed that this creation did not win an award. I think it should have.
This next piece won First Place in the judging and it was indeed spectacular. The floral designer pieced three pieces of driftwood together for the base. She had never seen Clara Driscoll's Tiffany lamp "Laburnum" in person, rather composing this arrangement from a photo. Amazing.
This next painting is also a favorite of mine, "St Francis of Assisi in the Tomb" by Francisco de Zurbaran. The floral artist assembled the piece at the museum using all dried materials except for the only living part, a few flowers. The first photo is of the back of the arrangement, which was very interesting, I thought. He won Third Place in the judging.
Second Place judges' award went to The Flower Source for their interpretation of Thomas Moran's "Three Mile Harbor, Long Island." Our garden club often partners with The Flower Source, so it was nice to see them win this award for their interesting and beautiful interpretation.
Although there are so very many art pieces at the museum that I love, my consistent all time favorite piece at the Milwaukee Art Museum is "The Wood Gatherer" by Jules Bastien -Lepage. I love everything about it!
If you have never visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, I hope you will someday. It is a world class museum with a very rich collection and is located on the bank of the powerful and beautiful Lake Michigan as its backdrop.
If you would like to see more, you can visit the Museum's Art in Bloom page: http://mam.org/bloom/
"791 Nap Time"
oil on canvas - 11x14 in
Speaking of risks, yesterday's painting "788 But Tell Me, Where Will the Children Play" received so many wonderful and compassionate comments via Facebook and private email. I am very happy. My intent is to raise awareness of the plight of the refugees in Lebanon and Palestine. Art is supposed to start a dialogue, and I am happy that this painting gave me an opportunity to do just that.
And big thanks to those who commented.
"789 Pretty As a Picture"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Here is the second painting, same pose, of Beautiful Baby Paul. I enjoyed painting him so much yesterday that I painted him a second time, attempting to be a little looser. What a joy.
"782 Pink Cheeks"
acrylic - 6x6 in
"775 Three Graces"
oil - 18x24 in
772 Winter's Web"
oil - 12x24 in
As I was reading about the Acacia, I learned that gum arabic is derived from this tree, and I have used it as an adhesive and an additive to ink for calligraphy purposes. It is also a common ingredient in some beverages (Fresca, RC Cola, Root Beer) and in Altoid mints, gum and M&M pretzels, as well as in perfume. The wood is used for hardwood floors and furniture.
As you can probably see, I enjoy learning from painting different subjects. I learn something new from each new painting, in this case, not only about the Acacia tree, but another lesson in painting with oil paints.
oil - 18x24 in
I've been feeling a little restless with the start of the new year. I have been tirelessly working on portraits with determination to master them, but I really needed a little break because I've also pretty much run out of interesting photo references after scouring thousands of photos in my iPhoto folders. The conversations go like this: "Would you please send me photos of people in interesting poses with high contrast and no teeth showing? " .......somewhat limiting.
In the months ahead, I have scheduled two weekend workshops from two of my favorite artists, both of whom teach and paint in oil. Although I love the many benefits of acrylics, I would like to experiment with oil paints. I have dabbled in the past, painting seascapes, but nothing like this subject matter. For this painting, I used water soluble oil paints, which behave like oil paints (I think) but there are no smelly chemicals involved, and best of all, they clean up with soap and water. I really enjoyed the experience and plan to continue pursuing this medium.
"770 A Bird's Eye View"
oil - 16x20 in
"To all children, in all places, may you live in peace and with fullness of heart." (and tummy)
"766 More, Please"
acrylic - 9x7 in
Learning to paint portraits is an ongoing challenge. Undoubtedly, the eyes are the favorite part of the painting for me, but often the placement is difficult. It is so easy to mess things up by not having one eye positioned the same as the other. The direction of the "look" is so easily changed by the position and the level of the lids, as well as the little glint.
The nose. That's another story. Noses are all so different and I find them the most challenging. This little girl has a perfect nose with a perfect little triangle at the tip. My version of her nose is not perfect.
Since I have been painting portraits, when I meet someone, I find myself studying the face and the placement of the features. I never paid much attention to those details before. But now they are important. Nevertheless, I keep plugging away. I am running out of photos of people showing no teeth, which look like chicklets in a painting.
"761 All About the Eyes"
acrylic - 4x4 in
It occurred to me, too, that portrait painting is a powerful position to be in. I could have given myself lips like Angelina Jolie's and a beautiful nose like Adele's. HA!
Tomorrow a new adventure: I will tackle painting TEETH!