Monthly Archives: October 2012

When life hands you lemons… ROCK ON!

And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turned into beautiful results.

Walt Whitman

The Two Fridas, painted in 1939
This painting is a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo. Represented is split between her two selves. From her period of turmoil and self-doubt. Frida on the right is her Mexican self in traditional tehuana dress. The Frida on the left is her European self dressed in a colonial white dress.

Whatever lemons life hands you, you have to keep going, you have to rock on and pursue the beauty that can come from it. No one’s life is easy. We all have difficult situations, even celebrities like Surrealist artist Frida Kahlo. Somewhere down the line, someone made the analogy, that obstacles are equivalent to lemons, this person said… When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. No matter what the situation is, beautiful results will occur if you keep going. Sometimes things happen that may seem like the end of the world, but just keep trying. Frida is a great example of someone who managed to turn bitter lemons into beauty.

Everyone has problems. I do, Frida Kahlo did, so do plenty of other people in the world, I bet. Sometimes it feels like whatever problem we are going through, it is the worst problem in the world. Just a few weeks ago I was in an unpleasant situation. It wasn’t life or death. I’m still here. I didn’t lose my home, I wasn’t physically hurt, neither was anyone else. I’m still pretty much me, just with another experience. In my mind, it was rough patch to go through. I wanted to drop everything and create a new life. I wanted to move to Hawaii. I wanted to abandon everything I had going on here and start fresh in a tropical world. I felt like I was the only one who had such a situation. If I moved to beautiful Hawaii everything would be fixed. Let me remind you I have never been there. I’ve only experienced it second – hand through stories and photos. This is a place where no one has problems ever…  I could start fresh and adapt to their completely problem free environment where I am guaranteed to never encounter a problem again, right? Right.

Leaving everything to move to Hawaii was the most logical way to solve the issue. Now I am laughing at how silly this idea was. Moving to Hawaii would be wonderful, but it wouldn’t have been the solution. Problems probably occur there too. Shortly after my situation was done and solved, a friend  of mine, who knew nothing about my issue and wanting to move, told me something very similar! She said she was upset and just wanted to move to Tennessee and start over. So, I know im not alone with this thought process. My point is that sometimes we — maybe not all of you, but some of us… have situations where we feel like life would be better if we just ran away from everything, and moved far, far away to start over. Lets not forget about Frida, I wonder if she ever felt like running away.

What happens when we don’t run away? We rock on and conquer our problem! How wonderful is that? When we win!? We get to keep our life and continue with the process that we’ve been working on so hard to put together.  It’s so easy to forget about the big picture during these inconvenient situations. Frida Kahlo was a Surrealist painter. To me — it appears that she lived a rough life but managed to pull out the goodness that she could. She made lemonade.  Ms. Kahlo was born on July 6th 1907. I will tell you, her life was one hardship after another. First — when she was 6, she acquired Polio. This left her with a leg significantly thinner than the other. But she didn’t feel sorry for herself and run away, she made the most of it. It didn’t kill her. She said… hey, i’m still mobile, I can fix this, let me just wear long skirts to disguise my leg and I’ll be on my way…

Continuing on, Frida excelled in her education and attempted to pursue a medical degree. She studied hard and was accepted into one of Mexico’s top notch schools, the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria. But what happened?? Shes not famous for her medical discoveries, shes world renowned for her paintings.

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter. She lived a life with many hardships. When she was 15 she was in a bus accident and A sharp pole went through her vagina. These are the words of my Spanish professor. She introduced Frida’s story to our class in 2006. I can hear the biography through her voice so clearly.

On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus that collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries because of the accident, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, compromising her reproductive capacity.

From that day on, she spent the rest of her life painting while she was trying to recover. She kept going. Frida was even a social butterfly. She was married to a painter she admired, Diego Rivera, and she didn’t stop there, Frida pushed the envelope and had several affairs. Her work is so unique. Her paintings were real — but not real, they were surreal. They had elements that seemed real but exaggerated. Illogical images were incorporated into the scene. Frida turned this tragedy into a beautiful result. She represented her thoughts through her paintings. Frida Kahlo said I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality. If you look at her work you will see how truthful it all is. There is no censorship to her thoughts. She’s blunt. Some stuff may offend the faint at heart, but it was her life.

When life hands you lemons, its important to make the most with them. Frida turned a series of unpleasant events into beauty. She painted over and over again and brought us into her world. Life is hard sometimes and its easy to feel like you’re the only one who has it rough. But sometimes when I am brought back to reality and reminded that no ones life is easy, it makes me feel better. Not because I am reminded that other people are having a rough time, but to know that I’m not the only one that is, to know that the world isn’t ganging up on me. When times get tough, its important to remember that things will get better if you rock on.


The Beauty of Success

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.

R. Collier

This painting was painted by Georges Seurat. The style is considered pointillism. Every portion of color on the caves was applied by a dot. Together the dots create shadows, values and contrasts to develop a scene. What does this picture make you feel?

Life is a collection of thousands of small efforts. Some moments are the outcome to our choices and others—well, they just happen. French Post Impressionist painter, Georges Seurat completed his painting A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte in 1886. This painting kind of makes me think of a blank canvas representing an individual’s life. We each have the priveledge to design our own life. Every decision that we make, each moment we encounter is a dot on our canvas.

What is pointilism? Gardner’s Art Through The Ages, Volume II by Fred S. Kleiner describes pointilism as a system of painting devised by the 19th-century French Painter Georges Seurat. The artist separates color into its component parts and then applies the component colors to the canvas in tiny dots (points). The image becomes comprehesible only from a distance, when the viewers eye optically blends the pigment dots.

Life is full of sooooo many moments. Its unbelievable. To me, so many of my experiences seem like lifetimes-agos. There have been so many times that I’ve tried and failed. So many books that I’ve read or movies I’ve seem that seem pointless, or a waste of time. And there have been times that Ive worked really hard and a achieved a successful outcome. Where do these things lead? Sometimes it feels like they are leading nowhere. These moments may seem so small but we have to remember, The small things add up. Reaching for success feels like a far away land for many of us, like me. This makes some people not want to try it at all. The work you put in may not seem like as much, but remember the big picture. The small things contribute to the whole of your work.

Right now, at this moment, it is tough to see your full masterpiece. We have an idea of our future, but do we know exactly what will happen? Nope, it’s a little bit of a blur. We have a past, but we can’t take a time machine back to re-live our younger days, so our memories are sort of unclear too. Each moment in our life seems like its our whole world at the time. After it passes we realize how small that moment really was.

Have you seen this painting that George made? If you are not familiar with A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte, please take a moment to look it over. Here it is Click Here. This painting is incredible. Who could have possibly created an entire world on a 6’9″ x 10′ canvas, made entirely of dots!? From 1884-1886, in only 2 years!? Mr. Seurat, thats who.

Look at the dots on this canvas. There are so many! Look at all of the variations of yellows, reds and blues. Seurat had to decide which color to put where. What if each choice we made was a dot represented on our canvas! What if each significant collection of dots, like the people on La Grande Jatte, represented a phase in our life? This canvas is someone’s life. Whose life is it? This person’s life as a whole was beautiful they experienced hardships and joy enough of a balance to leave a silent masterpiece.

Do you see the little girl in the center. She is so innocent, she is protected by the collection of warm and loving colors of her mother. Dressed in pure white, she is the center of the cavas, as we are the center of our own world. She hasn’t been tainted by the dark atrocities of society yet. You can see a little blue on her, on the under shading of her hat. These dots are from her tears, they aren’t very vibrant or extreme because she is young and protected. Maybe those moments are times when she was a little hungry, or she bumped her head on the corner of the table. Nothing too crazy. The mother next to her is full of warmth. She is dressed in warm, lovey, oranges and pinks. Here they are stroling in sunlight. The bond between the mother and daughter… There is a little dark shadow casting off the right side of them because sometimes-lets face it, mother’s and daughters fight.

Seurat’s painting has energetic splashes of red values. Each and every warm dot is a smile, a dance party, a laugh, our favorite past time and every other enjoyable occasion. The mass of them—the actual collected form are all of our happy moments put together. The warm people are scattered through out the painting because we love those moments and we like to keep them in our thoughts, no matter where we are. Except for that man to the left of the little innocent girl. He has an umbrella over his head. His cluster of colors are orange and blue. That man is the guy representing the night that I drank too much coffee liquer. I have mixed emotions about that night. I didn’t realize the strength of the drink. I will spare the details, you can imagine how it evolved. I absolutely loved that night, I love to laugh about it with the friends that were there with me. Thinking of those moments give me a warm happy feeling. Except at the time it was kinda and messy. So the orange and blue guy is both warm and cool, hes happy and a wreck. He has mixed emotions.

As we get older we experience life. For some reason the dark moments just pile up into a corner. Do you know what I’m talking about? Like the time Grandmama died. She was energetic strong, confident, funny, classy, she wore the same hair style everyday since I can remember and had a closet full of Keds and Coach purses.. and… she was a little wrinkly. When she died I didn’t know what to think. I was 23. I had no control over that moment, it just happened. She was so old—but so lively, who would have thought she would actually die. These memories are represented through the concoction that create the black shirt of the woman to the right. The ladies blue dress is foreshadowing Grandmama’s death, it represents the times that occurred thoughout those blue and dreary months beforehand, when I instinctively felt something was wrong with Grandmama’s health, but she refused to admit it. I like to set those thoughts aside.

R. Collier said “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” The juxtaposition of the dark and dreary colors on the painting emphasize the beauty of the light colors. These dark moments allow us to apprecaite the wonderful moments of life so much more. In spring of 2010, I took a class on oil painting. On the contrary to this weeks topic, we did not practice pointillism over the semester. However my professor was full of great philosphies. He described the process of painting to me as a process that gets worse before it gets better. He said that when you start a painting it looks great, you’re roughly sketching and working out the planes and shapes of where everything belongs. As you go further into the work, it starts to look kind of funny. Maybe there is a line in the wrong place and we have to go back into it and adjust it, or maybe we can’t quite get the color right and we have to keep trying. This form of trial and error, along with pointilism—this is life. Sometimes things are going great. We are on top of the world and nothing could be better, we are full of flying colors. Other times, they aren’t so hot, the colors turn sour. When our canvas starts to look funny we just have to get back in there and work out the dots in until we can successfully bring out the beauty again.

Seurat painted a quiet scene full of people on a Sunday afternoon. What design will be on your canvas when you are done?

Quality Over Quantity

Hello everyone, I am sending my apologies this week. I was a bit crammed with additional work and my blog post is not quite up to par as I’d like it to be just yet. I am one for quality over quantity Rather than throwing the topic that I have in my mind together really quick, I am going to make the difficult choice of not posting a blog for you on my scheduled Sunday nights. I will continue to work on my writings so that it is something of more substance when I do post the next one, in a week or so.

Thank you for visiting! You’re the best!