Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art Saves Again

"What a caterpillar calls the end of life, wise men call a butterfly," says a Chinese Proverb. This belief along with Jenny Doh's Crescendoh mantra "Art Saves" have helped me through this sad summer.

On My Way

I was able to use art to help me come to terms with my younger sister's death.

Tammie, Michele, Tonya, Christina and Lana in the middle
photo taken 4th of July 2010

Below is a photo of she and I on July 5 of this year. On August 18, she passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family. She had just been diagnoses with Pancreatic Cancer the week before our photo.

Going Home

What to do? I had just started a new large journal at a Suzi Blu class. Plus, I had photos I had taken during the night when I was helping one of my nieces care for their mom. When she was first hospitalized around August 1, I had been staying across the street from the church/school where I had attended while growing up. Since I was right there, I began to attend daily Mass and offer up my prayers that my sister go "gently into the night."

Incarnation Church Altar

After her Memorial Service, I returned home and got to work. this is the art I created while trying to come to grips with my sister's untimely death.

I printed on plain computer paper the photos of the altar at Incarnation Catholic Church and a picture I took of my sister in her hospital bed at home. After adhering them to my sketch book pages, I just began to put down color and blend the images as best I could. Then add items and words that came to me at that very moment.

The Girls

The sketches of Lana's four daughters are not likenesses. Their hair is about as close as I got to anything resembling them, but it made me think of them. Again, I used Golden's gel medium to place my sketches and then began to add color, both colored pencil and paint.

The two pages with my girls up in the sky flying, I actually started in Suzi's class. This must have been my subconscious working since I had just gotten word of my sister's illness advancing quickly. Theses girls then became about Lana and the events that were unfolding before our very eyes.

Lana Sleeping Peacefully at Home

Theses pages are not done. As I post the photos I can see so many things I still need to do. As a side note, I have found scanning any of my art and then looking at it on the computer screen, things jump out at me that need correcting that I might not notice otherwise. I seem to be able to view my art more critically this way. I'm not so connected to the screen as the tangible paper in front of me.

Jackie's Call to Art

After Lana's Memorial Service I got word from a dear friend who had started a once a month The Art in You gatherings at her home. "Come one, come all" is Jackie's mantra. Such a generous lady truly loved by everyone who knows her. (I know I have posts on my blog of photos taken at theses gatherings).

Since I had met Jackie, her husband Frank, had always been ill. This summer he got a lot worse and sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago. Even though I really didn't know Frank other than to wave hello to him when I came to play at their home, his death touched me deeply. You see, Jackie is the first friend I have whose husband has die.

Time to pause and reflect. I am quickly reminded that I will be 66 years old in November and that the one thing I have to be so very thankful this Thanksgiving is my health!

Jackie puts out the call

In coming to some sort of terms with her husband's death, Jackie put out a call to her friends to please stop by and gather materials and photos for her to assist her in putting up a photo display for Frank's Memorial Service in October when all their friends and family will come together.

That day, I was not able to stay and create with our friends, but gathered up photos and decided on a theme of Christmas with Frank.

Since I was taking it home I decided to take advantage of Photo Shop and play and manipulate her photos. With the original's scanned I could now do anything I wanted including enlarging all the photos and leave her originals untouched.

I took my time and gave this project a lot of thought. This was very therapeutic for me. I was doing something positive in the face of adversity and doing it slowly (an adjective very foreign to me),

Below are my two 12 x 12 pages for Jackie to use. You probably can't see any of the dimensional stuff I did. Some of the magic included putting Jackie's face where Mrs. Claus' face had been with Frank in Mrs. Claus (now Jackie) lap..

First page of two page spread

On the second page if you open the door where the "Do Not Disturb" is hanging you will find Frank having Breakfast in Bed.

2nd page of two page spread

Frank behind the "Do NOT Disturb" sign

By the way, about the 3rd week in October I will be the featured "Guest Curator" for Jenny Doh's Crescendoh. This blog is NOT my article for my detailing how "Art Saves" in regards to my life. It just came up that here is one more way that Art stepped up to the plate and gave me a helping hand to get through one eventful summer's end. Next month my article will be about Art affecting my entire life and all the good things that have happened to me and can happen to you when you let Art in the door to your life!


Leanne said...

Oh Sally, I'm so sorry for your loss..... *hugs*

Kat said...

Sally, what a great blog. One more step in closing a chapter and moving on...or letting go. Your artwork is beautiful and inspiring. Your practice and dedication to your art is certainly paying off. Sooo pretty and soulful. xo