Shabbat Glow

I was happy to actually be able to do this one since I wasn’t sure if I had enough paint thinner, but I found a method of recycling paint thinner that worked pretty well.  I may make a video showing you how to do it.  It’s definitely very useful.

I started this one with an underpainting in burnt umber as usual.  I wanted this painting to be more about emotion and the atmosphere of the painting, so I focused on the color and the contrast.  I LOVE contrast.  This is also another one in Compassion Project series.  I want to get high resolution photos of my paintings and then I hope to be able to sell both the original and prints.

Here’s the story that goes with this one, which is my own:

I’ve learned to never get my hopes up when I go into an interview.  Even if they like me for the job, they still have to get past a few things before hiring me.  Before I started covering my hair, everything would start out normal and friendly, but once I mentioned that I would need to leave early on Fridays because I’m Jewish and observe the Jewish Sabbath.  I need to be home before sundown on Friday.  I’ve of course can come in early or stay late during the week to make up for it, but that doesn’t seem to matter.  I can watch their body stiffen, the blood drains from their face, and the mood of the interview changes.  All of the sudden, it’s no longer friendly, but very formal and business like.  They assure me that they don’t discriminate based on religion, but they just don’t know if they can accommodate this and will need to talk with their supervisor.

At that point, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be called back for the job, or if I am contacted, it will only to be to tell me that they are very sorry, but they went a different direction, but they will of course keep my resume in case anything shows up in the future.  If I am ever hired, I know that I won’t have the job for long, so I make sure to have the resume updated, and keep an eye out on craigslist.  Soon enough, I’m fired from some lame reason that we all know isn’t the real reason.  I leave early on Fridays.  I have weird holidays.  I don’t eat their food.  I don’t celebrate their holidays.

I love Shabbat.  It’s my wonderful day of the week where we light candles, have dinner together as a family, sing songs, spend time together, learn Torah, and many other wonderful Jewish things.  It’s my Jewish bubble for just one day.  I’ve had non-Jews who don’t understand ask me if I can flex the time a little.  Christians and Messianic Jews have quoted parts of the Bible to me as proof that a job should be more important than Shabbat.  Things they quote usually don’t have context, or have a different meaning than they attribute to them.  I typically don’t see the point in correcting them, because they will always be right and I will always be wrong.  So I leave it alone and go to, “This is my religion, and this is important to me.  Shabbat is the beloved gift from G-d to the people of Israel.  So I can’t just abandon this treasure.”

In a way I’m thankful all the jobs that fired me, because it launched me into becoming artist, which I would’ve never done otherwise.  Since no one was going to employ me, I was going to employ myself.  I’m very happy with what I’ve chosen to do.  I haven’t gotten it to where I want it yet, but I see the potential and I will get it there.  So I want to thank the last place to fire me and upset me so much as start this!

Since Shabbat is something I love, I decided to paint candles and have a Star of David as one of the reflections on the candles.  This story will go along with this painting.  If you feel that you might have a story that might go along with this project I’m doing please message me and we talk about it.

The Golden Coffee

Recently I’ve been trying to figure out this Ampersand Aquabord I have.  It took me a few tries, but I think I got it.  Here’s a few tips for you.  Get your drawing on the board first, before you ever get it wet.  You need to flush the board before you start painting, but trying to use transfer paper when it’s even slightly wet, DOES NOT work.  If you’re going to do wet into wet painting, just make sure you use more water than you’re used to.  This surface is very absorbent and you may have to rewet areas.  Overall, I think this was pretty good considering I’m still getting used to the surface.

Those of you who’ve been following me lately know that I’ve been trying to get a new project started.  In order to do this, I need stories from people.  I haven’t had luck obtaining them, so I thought I’d do one myself and show you what my idea is.  I wrote this piece myself, and created this painting to go with it.  The painting is more of a still life representation of myself.  At least how I feel about myself.  I made this to help you understand all the little meanings.

golden-coffee-exp

I’m currently trying to get this scanned so I can offer prints.  This piece that I wrote to go with it, would come with each print that is brought.  I also have an idea of making a calligraphy version of it to go with the original.  Then, once I get a book together, a photo of the painting, the explanation of it, and the story will all be together in that book.

 

My head covering makes it very obvious that I’m different.  I don’t mind being different.  I don’t have a problem meeting the standard of what society would consider “normal.”  However, what I do mind are the negative reactions I get sometimes.  Sometimes, they’re very subtle, like the nervous stare that I ignore, the pale stiff face during a job interview, and looking back and forth between me and my husband because I’m not talkative.  These things are a mild annoyance.  I roll my eyes and ignore them.  I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with it.  What bothers me more is when I have someone come up to me and spit in my face and say, “Go die you fucking kike!”  Or perhaps when a man who looks to be in his mid 30s walks off the back of the bus, takes one look at me, and then yells, “Stop religion!” as he walks by.  There’s also the Muslim couple that yells, “Death to Israel!” and something else in Arabic that I don’t understand.  When there’s a protest about the war in Israel, I do my best to avoid it because I get people yelling things at me like, “Hitler was right!  You need to go find an oven!”  Then they start chanting, “Nazi Jew!  Nazi Jew!” as I finally get to cross the street to my bus stop.

At least I don’t work downtown anymore and am spared this, but what did the others around me do you ask.  Nothing.  None of this was important to them.  What I want to say to these people full of hate, I can’t, because it doesn’t matter to them.  I love being Jewish, and I love covering my hair with scarves.  According to Orthodox Judaism, I could wear a wig, and there are many opinions that I don’t want to get into.  I only wish to discuss my feelings.  I wear scarves because of how they make me feel.  I feel like royalty, and they remind me of my commitment to my faith.  When I wrap a scarf around my head, I feel like I’m wrapping myself in beauty and glory.  It feels like putting on a crown.  I don’t get that feeling with a wig or a hat.

Instead of asking me this, they just hurl insults without even knowing what my scarves, and what my Judaism means to me.  To them, I’m different, something to be hated.  I do my best to be compassionate to other people, so I find it disturbing when others seem to feel the need to treat others with cruelty.  I find it strange that my life is so offensive when they obviously know nothing about me.

None of this has ever dissuaded me from wearing the scarves I love, because, at the end of day, they hold more value than these ignorant and hurtful things people have to say to me.  I can deal with the stares, comments, insults, difficulty with jobs, and ignorance.  What I can’t stand for, is apathy.  I can get over someone’s issues and box that away in my mind, but other’s silence as it happens in front of them, or the silence as I tell them, I can’t deal with.  Perhaps it’s not even silence, but minimization, like it’s not such a big deal because of “fill in the blank.”

Perhaps you feel like you don’t know what to say, because you relate.  The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to relate to have compassion.  I live in a very liberal state, which has worked well for me in certain jobs I’ve had.  When I’ve explained some of my experiences, the best responses I’ve received were usually surprise and disbelief, followed by a phrase along the lines of, “I’m so sorry.  I guess some people just have problems.  Does that happen often?”  I understand the inexperience with what I deal with, and I don’t mind explaining.  I also tell them about all the times when people stop me to tell me how beautiful I am and ask I tied them.

What I wish I could say to all the people who every said something hateful to me, or fired me (for something else that we all know isn’t the reason), is imagine if you were me.  Imagine if you walking along the street and someone came and spat in your face and yelled, “Go die you fucking scum bag!” or having someone tell you that you should go kill yourself because of your ethnicity.  I’m pretty sure you would feel threatened.  As children we were taught to treat others as we would want to be treated, but somehow as adults that seemed to have gotten lost.  No matter your religion, race, gender, country of origin, that is something that should be universal.  Remember to keep that and perhaps we can make this world better.

If you think you might have a story that I could for this project, please message me and we’ll see what we can come up with together.  My dream for this project is to have art pieces and books that can carry stories that evoke compassion in others.  If this something you believe in and want to support me in, I set up a page for you to do that.  I do need certain supplies to accomplish everything, but if you can’t, please don’t worry.  I would be happy to just have you be a part of this journey.

Art Supplies & My New Project

I decided to go through all my art supplies and try and get rid of things that I’m not using anymore.  I’m not sure how successful I was, but I’m an artist and I love art supplies.  I rambled for literally  40 minutes.  So I think I did pretty go on time considering that.  Haha.

I really want to get this project started, so I set up an email list for everyone to get updates on the project.  If you haven’t voted for the group of stories you want to start with, then just head back to my last post and vote!

What to start with?

I thought that since I already have the inktense and coffee, just not everything I need, perhaps, we can just get started, and then finish up once we have the rest.  If you missed my last post, I talked out what I wanted to accomplish for this project.  I want to spread compassion by collecting stories from every minority group possible.  So I will need your help with this.  I will also need your help figuring out which group to start with.  I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to put it all together yet until it’s in a book, so I’d love any ideas you have.  One idea I have is to put each set in a PDF for now.

First let’s define a minority group before we decide.  A group who has significantly less control or power over their lives than the dominant group.  They typically have distinguishing physical or cultural traits, no choice in their minority status, awareness of their “lesser” status and bonding with other members, and a high number of marriage within their group.  We could probably expand this definition, but I think we should probably keep it sort for the purposes of this post.

Here are some minority groups that we could start with.  These are predominately ones from the US just because that’s where I live and where most people I interact with live.  Racial minorities are those classified by physical traits such as skin color; Black, Native American, Asian, Hawaiian.  Cultural and ethnic minorities are classified by things such as language, food, and traditions; Hispanic or Latino, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Jewish (not all Jews are religious).  Ethnic minorities can vary from location, so this one can be hard to list.  For gender minorities, men are the social majority while women are the social minority.  I wasn’t sure which group to put LGBTQ in since it’s such a wide group, but I think perhaps gender might work.  Religious minorities are those who have a religion other than the dominant; Muslim, Jewish, Amish, Mormon, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shikhism, Atheism.

Obviously, I left out some.  It’s impossible to list every single one.  We’d be here too long.  I think this a good start.  As we start this journey together, I doubt everything will be perfect.  It would be nice to believe it will be, but that’s not realistic.  If we’re to have a large group of people from various backgrounds, then there are likely to be hurt feelings at some point.  I believe that most people aren’t intentionally trying to hurt another.  So if you’ve found something that rubs you wrong, I suggest the following format:  Explain what the other person did or said that upset you and how it made you feel without throwing insults, because that will immediately make them defensive, and they will stop listening.  You want them to listen and understand, so help them to.  For the other person:  If someone comes to you with something, listen to their feelings.  We don’t have to agree with each other to treat each other kindly and with respect.  Apologize for the offense, because I doubt you meant to hurt them, and ask how they would like you to respond to them in the future, and do your best to speak to them that way going forward.

I’d like to know what group you’d like to start with, and if there’s another one you’d like to add, please let me know.  I’d be happy to.  Just leave a comment below with reason as why that group would be classified as a minority group.

To make it easy, I did this voting box.  That way, you can vote without having to actually leave a comment.  Once voting is done, I’ll get started on the project.  I mostly just want to know what stories I can get.  If we have more than one with some large numbers, then maybe I randomly choose one by picking one out of a hat or something.

References

http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=280:minor0101&catid=15&Itemid=118

Project Compassion

This election cycle has brought up many emotions for many people.  Here’s what happened for me.  As usual, candidates came up that one liked, and we all complained about having no one to vote for, but let’s be honest.  We say this every year.  However, as things went on, they became more intense, but it didn’t just become about who was the right person for the job, but about who was evil.  What I found most disturbing was the rise in White Supremacist and other hate groups, and while it’s true that these groups come in waves, a large group of Americans appeared to be apathetic.  We watched these crowds surround the Trump rallies and shower their support for him and wondered what our future would be.

As we shared our stories, it seemed as if no one listened, besides those of us who felt this way.  Our experiences and feelings were cast aside because, we’re just liberals, even though not all of us were, and since Hillary is so much worse, everything else is waved aside.  I could list incident after incident, but none of them matter.  No one listened when we shared them.  We also tried telling people about the rise in incidents, but no one cared about that either, because we will always have racism and hate.  The number of incidents rose to almost an unbearable level. Thankfully, it seems to be dying down, but yes, I will most likely always have a security guard with a taser or some weapon at the entrances to my synagogue during holidays, but hopefully that will be the extent and will remain a good deterrent.

After sharing my experiences, as well as other whom I’m friends or acquainted with, and was met with silence, or other comments I don’t wish to share.  I stopped sharing.  I didn’t see the point.  I started to think about why it had to be this way.  Why is it that people don’t listen?  Why is it that we have to have racism, and bigotry, and hate?  Why does always have to be here?  I don’t want it here, and I know plenty of other people who don’t either.  So how do we fix it?  Many people say combat it with love, but that alone hasn’t worked yet.

Stories.  If we can somehow collect stories.  Maybe that can work.  Stories have the ability to evoke great emotion, and if someone can read another’s story of pain, perhaps it will evoke compassion.  Maybe that compassion could be what helps erase this hatred that we all wish didn’t exist.

If we can put all these stories into a book and then distribute it, maybe we could could spread compassion.  So, as you can see, I need more than just money to accomplish this.  I need your help to share this with others.  The more others know about it, the more stories we can collect. We will also be able to have a variety people from various backgrounds and viewpoints.

I want this to be collaborative, so I welcome any ideas.  Just please know that it’s impossible to execute every possible idea.  I also want this to remain a positive and safe place for people to share their experiences.  Any hurtful comments will be deleted.

I set up this page, because I do need certain supplies to do the artwork and create the book.  Any amount you can contribute would certainly help, and if you can’t, no worries.  There many other things you can do, such as sharing this post, sharing a story you have when relevant, and creating your own environment of compassion.