Sunday, September 21, 2014

On Losing All Your Work

I just read this article that popped up on facebook called "Pixar, U2, and the Horrific Feeling of Losing all Your Work" . Not that much too it, just saying how it indeed, sucks to lose all your work. Just reminded me of my own experience losing an entire body of work. Here's the story.
This is what my house looked like while I was living in Madagascar. This is the "before" shot. Pretty gorgeous, huh? (Some days, it's painful how much I wanna go back to this exact spot and hang out.)
 Aaaaand this is the "after" shot: a bush fire rolled through the village and burnt my house entirely to the ground. I was out of town on business, but came home to this.
That's what the neighborhood looked like. :( My amazing friends and neighbors went into my BURNING HOUSE and rescued a lot of my belongings though, which I was so grateful for. They weren't however, able to rescue all the paintings I had been working on. I had them all hung up on my walls, and they were all done on paper, so I'm sure they were one of the first things to get swallowed up in the flames.

For me, the fire was kinda like spilling coffee on your laptop. And it was a horrible sinking feeling, knowing that all I had left were the fuzzy memories (no pictures) of what the paintings looked like, and some sketches in my journal (which thankfully, I had with me and was not in the house.) Anyway, I guess my point of this story is, things can get lost in an instant. A whole series of artwork can get lost in seconds. And it really sucks. But when I got home to the U.S., I re-painted them ALL. And you know what? Had I NOT lost those paintings, I never would have painted the following ones. And I really, truly, am much happier with the way the re-dos came out, rather than the originals (it helped that I had access to much better art supplies for the re-dos, too)

The series of paintings were all based on books I read during peace corps. I read a lot there, and just started painting the female protagonists of the stories, as I imagined them. I called the series, "Literary Heroines". Here's some of the work from the series. To see them all, clicky. 

So I guess my point in all this is: keep trying? Try again. Make it all the way over again. You might like things better that way anyway. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Latest painting and making plans!

I've had "Blog" on my to do list for awhile now, but haven't felt like I've had much to talk about. So I'll show you what I've been working on:

Madagascar painting, women in rice paddies, madagascar art

That's the latest in a series I've been working on since I guess technically, 2008. I've been drawing and painting about my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer living and working in Madagascar, since my first week in the country back in February of 2008....(holy crap I was 22!) Drawing in my journals, and painting murals on walls (the ones I could find that were sturdier than the ones made of my own house there, haha!) kept me sane and happy. After I got evacuated, the need to paint about it was even stronger, since I was absolutely not ready to leave yet, but had to (I got to go back and finish my service tho...yay!) And now, coming up on 4 years since I came home, I still feel the need to paint about it. But now, it's mostly to help me feel connected to a place that's full of things and people I love, but is incredibly far away. I'm not sure how many more paintings I'll make for the series... or if I'll ever stop painting about Madagascar.  It will always be a second home and therefore something that feels good to paint about, but also, a wealth of ridiculously beautiful and inspiring subject matter. An artist's paradise. But I would like to start a new body of work at some point, too. Anyway, for the sake of putting things in writing that you want to have happen someday, here are my plans for the series, whenever I do finally decide it's done:

I work as a marketing person/graphic designer at a community center that holds a lot of events. I've talked briefly to our events person about the possibility of displaying this series sometime. I want to make it a party: Malagasy music videos playing, some fried banana donut things or other delicious street food that I will probably fail miserably at replicating, a little slideshow presentation/talk, a display of some of the awesome art that was done by Malagasy kids and friends that I brought home, and all my original art and a bunch of prints for sale, with most of the $$$ going to an organization or two that I trust and support that works in Madagascar. That's what I forsee: a giant art party with all my friends and family and strangers who want to support Mada. Yep, that's the plan. And I just put it out there to all of you, and the universe, so it's gonna happen. Right? Right. Now.... to finish the paintings! :)