I enjoy sharing art with communities. I also love when communities support art. This project at the Allendale Township Park was both. After receiving the grant from the Allendale Community Foundation, the project took off. First, there was a call for bugs and flowers. Community members, sent their drawings to the Allendale Area Chamber of Commerce or made them at the Community Field Day and gave them to me. Then, all the drawings were compiled into the master sketch for the mural. The wall was prepped and the outlines of the mural painted in time for the 4th of July celebrations in the park. Allendale True Value donated the art supplies and on the 4th of July, the community painted. They filled in the lines with colors of their choice. Once the day was over, the majority of the mural was finished. Over the next few days, I finished the mural with the help of Caroline Clark, a good friend who enjoys creative endeavors. The township loves the mural- I do too! Go visit- the mural is found at 6676 Lake Michigan Drive, Allendale, Michigan 49401.
This piece started after Fiona got sick, I had been doing the patterns for sometime and felt it was time to complete something larger. It waits and waits to be finished. There had been an urgency to start it, but my priorities remain with Fiona. I have had a very hard time finishing it. She has been in and out of wheel chairs. She remains very sick. I am thankful she is here. I am thankful she is mending. In some ways, she is like the great blue heron, waiting to fly.
In February, I almost buried another child. Fiona got influenza, she rode in ambulance to hospital. She was admitted and stayed a week. Afterwards she was moved to Mary Free Bed for three more weeks. While there she relearned to walk and use her arms. This was paralyzing for me creatively. I either stayed at the hospital or sat in my studio. Finally, I started to paint. For the longest time, I painted patterns. I could not focus on much else. Here are a few of the pattern paintings I created.
I filled our van with 7 people and drove the 12 hours to Washington DC. The trip down was inspiring. Afterwards, I started working on my self portrait with Pussy Hat.
After the election results came in, I was quiet. I was sad. I was angry. Most of all, I was terribly disappointed to live in a country where my fellow citizens felt voting for a man who used fear to divide people seemed like a good solution. He is racist, misogynistic, and a terrible choice for our country. I couldn't create for a while. Finally, I got started, my first reduction linoleum cut. I finished them the night before I drove to Washington DC for the Women's March.
In December, I returned to Riyadh. I was able to share with my children one city in a country I had called home for many years. It was wonderful to see the house I grew up in, explore the desert with my children, and make a plein air watercolor painting at a gorgeous location.
The newest painting, a self-portrait, is underway and my new taboret is working out incredibly well. I made the taboret from an old piece of furniture that was already on wheels. In its previous life it held a printer, and the bottom drawer was for files. Now, all those drawers hold paint supplies and more! I painted the top white and added a piece of glass cut to size. I duct taped the edges and started to work. I love all the space this piece of furniture allows!