Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ {day 298} ~ Trees and Tents with Neil

Neil passed on a beautiful day, just before midnight.  Born on August 1st, 1982.  The school year was just ending and the boys were playing in the creek with a friend that afternoon.  Screams filled the air.  Neil was under the water and not visible, the fire company sent divers into the creek.  It took them 20 minutes to find him.  20 minutes under the water.  He was life flighted to the hospital where his family was told after being in the water so long he would probably have brain damage.  The elephant in the room now was the decision to set him free, liberate his soul or keep him here.  Neil made his own decision and passed just before midnight of his own accord.  June 12, 1990. 

Left: Neil - Right: Ben

Neil and Bens mother, Hank (Henriette), is like my second mother.  We've shared recipes, gardening, child rearing, arts and crafts, I could go on and on.   I was instantly accepted as family from the moment we met.  My husband introduced us, they were well acquainted long before I came along.  I was shown around, given the tour and proclaimed to be "the one" for my husband after visiting a few times.  Nestled in the beauty of the mountains, among campgrounds and forests is Camp.  I could live there all summer.  Surrounded by fields of queen annes lace, soft, squishy moss covered ground, roaring bonfires at night and laughter throughout the night as fireflies light in the fields.  A large pond on the property to swim, fish and ice skate upon in the winter.  Full of love, acceptance, kindness, giving, trust, is the owners - Hank and Dave.  We are like family.  I knew when Hank mentioned Neil to me - that I would draw him.  I had heard whispers and hushed stories of Bens brother - hearing it finally from Hank in the midst of my 365 days of drawing which led to day seven of starting a portrait for an acquaintance - I had decided then and there I would draw Neil.

This is what I do now when I can spare an hour. Dearly Departed Drawings.  I will never stop till I can no longer hold a pencil.  I love to draw and portraits are my favorite.  What better way to remember our loved ones, often only a photograph remains alongside our memories with an occasional memento.  There will always be death, it's part of life.  The year is almost over but I am just getting started.

Accidental death may be the epitome of evil. 
It is senseless. There is no one to blame. 
There is no way to think it through.

You can read about the beginning of my journey with Neil here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 287}

Feeling much happier about the moulding behind Neil.  Still lots of work on the door and moulding behind Ben.  More tones to adjust and then this masterpiece will be complete. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 285}

I see a few corrections I'd like to make, not happy with the moulding behind Neil and I have more darkening to do on Ben's shirt, arms and pants.  Still have work to do on the door and moulding behind Ben.

Today I happened across a conversation about candy.  Squeezing Twizzlers, smashing kit kats and only buying Brachs candy corn.  Twizzlers immediately brought me back to the candy drawer my Grandpa Engroff had in his bedroom.  A chest of drawers by his beside held all kinds of treasures but the second drawer from the bottom held Twizzlers and candy bars and tootsie roll pops, oh my!  Twizzlers are Grandpas favorite - black Twizzlers to be exact but the drawer held both flavors!  The memories flooded my head and heart as I recalled spending time with my grandparents and cousins.  My grandparents are on the portrait list.  I miss my Grandma and Grandpa.

For the record, I am also a Twizzlers squeezer (black is my favorite), kit kat smashing is sacrilege in the candy world and candy corn is disgusting (I try a piece every year just to remind myself I don't like it).  One day I will take so many photos of my grandchildren that they fill my whole closet, I will have every battery you would ever need in my dresser drawer (just in case), an entire drawer devoted to Twizzlers, candy bars and tootsie roll pops, fill my freezer with cookies and cream ice cream, go to all the grandchildrens sporting events, art shows and recitals and love on them just like my grandparents did on me.  True story.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 283}

Here, there, additions, subtractions.  Adding layers, darkening and lightening.

Yesterday I was reminded of where I started my artist journey.  As a 7 or 8 year old I attended a summer camp every year.  Camp Innabah.  I have oodles and oodles of memories, canoeing, hiking, playing, discovering nature and making art.  Camp Innabah offered many different camping programs, lasting a week and nearly all involved some type of crafting.  I distinctly remember making my very first tie dye shirt there in Eggleston Hall.

Eggleston Hall was the building at Camp Innabah that held all the crafting and art projects.  It also held the end of the week camp celebration - singing, laughing, merry making and fun.  I spent and enjoyed many hours of crafting here.  After I turned 16 I returned to Camp Innabah as the Art Directors assistant, the best summer of my life.  The Art Director happened to be a Dead Head, wore lots of tie dyes and had a lady bug tattoo on her big toe.  Having wonderful taste in clothing, music and hobbies - you can say she was my first inspiration.

Recently I have been told that Camp Innabah had deemed the building no longer structurally sound.  Very saddened upon hearing this news I was contacted by an old friend whom managed to obtain me some wood from my beloved building that contributed to my talent and beginning of my love for art.  I cannot wait to receive this precious gift and give it a prominent place in my home.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 282}

Background and slight changes where ever I see them.  This is the first portrait I started, stopped halfway and started over again.  It felt right, I trust that the timing is as intended.  I've started the studying stage where the portrait sits in my living room, full view.  I can't look away.  When I have time I put the actual photo next to it and just gaze, trying to see where I need to make corrections.  This process usually takes about a week. 

Recently Tye Dye Bills was awarded the Artist of the Month for the Deadhead Art Alliance!  Truly an honor every time we are recognized.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 281}

Working on background, then small details left to clean up over the whole portrait.  Almost finished.

Today is Poppas 65th birthday.  I am not able to start his portrait on his birthday but I hope to start soon.  I've been thinking a lot about him lately.  Not just because he is next on my list, but because he is the oldest head I know.  Tie dye wearing, comedic relief, set list keeper, camping fool, drumming circle, party loving, drama-free zone, one liner genius, beautiful soul.  And I miss him. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 277}

Working on tones and getting into the background.  Last night was my substitute art teacher, Mr. Kromer, celebration of his life and artwork at Mulberry Studios.  My husband and I went from piece to piece, in complete awe of such talent.  The layers upon layers of mixed media pulled from the depths of his soul, now on paper.  He is a talented artist, mentor, father, son, beautiful soul - gone too soon.  He will be greatly missed.  So blessed to know a piece of his art was set aside for me, so thankful, so grateful to have known him.   

On the way home as I was driving, a HUGE brown owl was hopping in front of my car in an instant.  Massive outstretched wings and giant eyes, I swerved around him in the road.  My husband and I have been hoping ever since that he managed to get out of the path of other oncoming cars.  We feared him already hit by a car when we came across him.  So many animals swooping into our path.  Repeated visits by praying mantis at our home - slow down, choose the path carefully.  Hawks (yes, plural - there were TWO!!) swooping in front of our car on our way to and from a pow-wow last month - pay attention to underlying messages, be observant, see the bigger picture.  Black snake in the road on the way home from the pow-wow right in our path (again swerving around) - transformation, life changes, spiritual guidance.  And lastly the owl seen on the way home from Mr. Kromers life celebration, artwork - life changes, transition, many will come for knowledge and wisdom, quiet observation. 

Never in my life or my husbands have either of us had so many close encounters with hawks (two in one day???!!! both swooping in front of us!), black snakes in the path of our car, owls (not sure I've ever seen one so close up in nature) and the abundance of praying mantis in our backyard.  All of these sightings have only been in the last two months.  My husband and I definitely are paying attention, we were together for all these sightings.  We know big changes are in store for our family, a new job for my husband that is a dream job for him (brewer at Samuel Adams Brewery), eventually moving north (closer to dear friends)and my drawings (I've already been approached for commission by several persons).  We are ready to embrace everything God and our Universe have to offer us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 276}

The boys are almost finished, minor changes and adjustments.  Started working on the background.  Today I put the Aegirine crystal in my hand and held it for a few moments, meditating with it.  Then I laid it on my drawing paper as I worked.

When I attended the MUM Expo last week I was looking at crystals and minerals at the Odds and Ends Corner and one of the owners happened across me and we started discussing crystals and minerals.  He asked me what I do, I told him I was an artist.  He asked me if I'd ever seen Aegirine, no - I haven't.  He went over plucked a piece and put it in my hand, told me it would eliminate negative thoughts, replace them with positive and help me to follow my heart.  So I got home, researched it further and found all this information about a mineral I never knew existed!

Crystal Vaults provided this definition of Aegirine:
The beautiful, black blades of Aegirine rise from its host rock like the legendary Sword in the Stone waiting for someone to draw upon its power to make all things right. A Stone of Integrity and Self, Aegirine is a most noble crystal, aligning with one's truest convictions in life and providing the courage and confidence to follow those convictions. It encourages acceptance of self and others, and to follow the heart.

With its connection to the earth and the natural world, Aegirine activates a strong, protective energy, guarding the aura and physical body, as well as fortifying the Spirit in times of difficulty. It eliminates negative thoughts, energies and attachments, and replaces them with the Light of the positive. It promotes wholeness and healing.

Aegirine is a member of the Pyroxene group, a sodium iron silicate that forms as long, prismatic crystals often terminated by a steep asymmetrical pyramid. It may also form as compact and fibrous disseminated grains. Opaque to translucent, it is dark in color, most often black, though sometimes greenish-black or brownish-black, and is commonly found in alkali-rich volcanic rock. Discovered in Norway, Aegirine is named for the Norse god of the sea, Aegir, and is also known as Acmite, from the Greek word meaning "point."

Interesting stuff.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 275}

Shirts, pants, arms and hands are currently under construction.  Starting to really feel good about this portrait.  Was reflecting with my husband about all the loss of beautiful souls lately.  Just this year we lost two good friends.  It will seem like eternity till we meet again. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ Neil {day 274}

Still working on clothing.  Slowly darkening so to not muss the paper.  

Today was a rough day.  Really rough.  In the last few months I reconnected with my high school substitute art teacher,  Mr. Kromer, through my high school art teacher Mr. Huck.  I will never forget my art teachers.  They impressed upon me so many things.  Everything I know about art comes from them.  Their critiques, their suggestions, their undying love of art.  I would not be who I am today without Mr. Kromer and Mr. Huck.  Before Mr. Kromers passing, I was able to purchase a print of his art that I very much admired.  Savage Bliss.  The most breathtaking piece of art I've come across in a long while.  I long awaited the message that the print was signed, numbered and ready for pickup.  The day came and went and today I was able to pick up the print.  I excitedly headed over but when the door opened and Mr. Kromer was not standing, ready to greet me....."he passed on this morning" were the quiet words spoken by his mother and hand motions made to enter the home.  I was overcome with overwhelming grief at the loss of a mentor, gifted artist and wonderful man.  So very thankful to have known him.  He helped shape who I am as an artist.  

Another stark reminder that life is so very precious.  So stop wasting time.

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