All you need to feel better
One medium reg with a toasted and buttered sesame seed bagel, with lettuce, tomato and cheddar. Sometimes a honey dip or a apple cruller. That was my drive thru routine. This little gas up was usually good till I got to work and started my painting. Then, about an hour in, besides feeling sleepy I would begin to feel those nagging hunger pains. You know the ones. The kind you are probably feeling right now as you read this blog. That would mean looking forward to the next break so I could run to that place that rhymes with Jimmies and get more caffien and another snack.
This daily routine is normal for most of the office workers I used to go with back in the day and I bet it's the norm for most people. Constantly tired, constantly hungry. I couldn't imagine any other way.
Then I started on my journey into a world I had only heard of but never took seriously. The world of leafy greens, red beets, celery, pineapple, apples, roots and seeds. In short, I discovered whole raw foods, full of the complete vitamins, stacked with energy and proteins. All you really need.
In that first week I was pretty depleted. No caffein, no bread, and sleepless nights. It was rough. I knew it would improve and it did. Once I got through the cold turkey stage I was already on the road to better feelings and more energetic days.
This sounds like a commercial, I know. I'm not selling anything, not offering you anything but a first hand account of what my experience has been and how I have reached a better way of feeling and living. It's been over a month now, I don't see any way back.The mere sight of coffee and bagels makes me ill now. I recall the feelings of constant hunger and listlessness.
It's enough to say all this but when you delve deeper into what is intentionally placed into breads and cereals, and perhaps coffee (perhaps?) it's no wonder the drive thru's have become line ups of addicts. Did I say that? Yes I sure did, because I was one. I went through the withdrawal. The cold turkey, I've been down that road and never want to return.
Here, in the picture above, is my day today. Surprised? Don't be, it's packed with energy and good taste. There is:
All going into my juicer behind and then into my Mason jars. There I shall mix some chia seeds, perhaps some hemp seeds and baby you got a licked up protein vitamin packed energy stuffed day all in two bottles!
I'm loving this journey.
The Artists Job
What is the job of an artist? Is it just to throw paint on a canvas and watch the world interpret it? Is it to roam around the world and contemplate life 90% of the time and paint 10% of the time?
The artists job is to present his view of the world through the canvases he creates.
I have recently been challenged by the notion that my job as an artist is to paint beautiful pictures that bring colour and imagination into peoples homes and offices. It came to me through a conviction I have felt for years, to paint scenes that were terrible, provocative and disturbing. It's not my job as an artist to shock the viewer, but if I see a situation that evokes a feeling of injustice within me then I am going to feel that when I think of painting.
I am a citizen of the world like any other and I see the news, hear the reports, get bombaster by the deluge of pain and suffering around the world. What can I do about it? So I should just remain in my little nest and just worry about my own little world?
I think not.
My recent series of paintings on the conditions and experiences of the Aboriginal Residential School children in Canada is an example of how my soul became stirred and so much so until my brush had to speak. I battled with my conviction to paint scenes that point directly at the "monsters" who ran the schools and have gotten away with murder and rape and abuse in the highest order.
In my paintings there is no abuse being shown but if you look long enough you can see where the painting is pointing. The monsters lurk around every corner of the scenes. Now I feel as though for these scenarios I have done what I am charged with doing and I have delivered the message clearly. Now I can get on with painting beautiful scenes. Until my inner conscience pulls me in another direction, one where innocence needs a voice.
There lies the job of an artist. To direct the viewer to see things they do not see every day. To understand something they have never considered before.
To polarize their view so that contrasts are made clear for all to see.
I suppose I could go through my entire life painting beautiful sunsets and niceties. I couldn't live like that. when I see the long lines of parents and children at the local food bank I just have to tell that story. Like the one at the Simcoe Hall Settlement House in Oshawa. The other day I went through the drive through of the adjacent coffee shop that rhymes with Jim Bortons, how shocked I was to see that the coffee establishment has hung a tarp over the fence along side the drive through window, it seems to me to block the patrons view of the food bank lines on the other side of the railway tracks. THAT eats at me. I feel a painting coming on in that scene.
I feel, in a way, I am just doing my job.
This image not showing line up to this door for the privacy of the users.
In my line of work I am exposed to wealth. Those who purchase my paintings generally speaking are from pretty comfortable lives. This is not to say they came from comfort, no, but they have achieved or been given great comforts in life.
This Blog is not going to be about the rich turning their faces from the poor, not at all. Most wealthy families I know and am associated with go to great lengths to share and support where ever they can. Enough about that. Today I am blogging about a special place. Not unlike many special places that do the same function, but to me it is one that stands out in my heart. The Simcoe Hall Settlement House in Oshawa, Ontario.
Oshawa it self is a place of great contrasts. One a major shipping port along the south shore of Lake Ontario, then and still to a large degree a major automotive assembly town, the home of GM Canada, it produces among others, the Camero.
It is no secret that manufacturing in Ontario has had it's share of problems in the past few years and because of the prominence of auto manufacturing in Oshawa, the downturn has been brutal on the town and surrounding area. Whitby, Clarington, Ajax. One thing can be said for the economy of the region is that there has been a major shift over to technology education and jobs. For example, look at UOIT.
The down side has been those who, for many reasons have slipped through the cracks, either because of lack of education, illness, lost bread winner, separation, divorce, and a small percentage due to drug abuse and alcoholism, etc, etc (the reasons go on and on), there have become a large community of people who depend on the services of food banks.
Let me say here and now that I do not do as much as I should to support these islands of hope, and I am making efforts to improve my contribution (in a number of ways).
Lets get to the point of this blog. This morning I was out on my usual drive seeking out photos for my next painting. I was on my way to the Oshawa Port lands because the wind was strong and I knew the waves would be dramatic. Taking Simcoe Street south from Dundas st. I came to the intersection in which a quick left turn would place me directly in front of the Simcoe Hall Settlement House Food Bank. I was not prepared for what I would see. I had been there a few times before dropping off food donations, even helped with boxing hampers. On this day the line up was out the door, down the steps, and a full block down the street. It was cold. The wind was blowing. The sky was grey. The scene could not have seemed bleaker. One by one they filed in to pick up their one box of food supplies. One by one they filed out and down the street carrying their hamper of hope to wherever they called home. I don’t doubt that some were going to nice homes where the bills have simply squeezed groceries off the priority list, but most here were going to homes a bleak as the street they were lined up on.
One of the most heart breaking sights are the children. I chose not to show them in the shots I am posting but knowing there were children in that line up who were hungry. Here in Canada. That is a topic all of it’s own merit. That is a tragedy and a burden we should all take on our shoulders.
Why would I take pictures of this scene? Why would I post those pictures here? There is one more aspect to this story that I also have chosen not to post. It is the well known coffee shop with a massive drive through just on the south side of the railway tracks from the food bank. Their drive through gives plain view to all who use it of the long cold line up at the Food bank. I did not ask and I am certain I would not have been given a straight answer if I did ask, but they have covered up the fence which separates their drive through so that, it seems to me, the coffee thirsty drivers won’t have to see that food bank line up. There may be another reason for the “cover up” but I can see it is pretty starkly obvious.
Here’s my suggestion to the Coffee outlet: rig up a basket below your drive through pick up window, take down the tarp blocking the view, let the drivers see the line up of those who are desperate, and let the drives feel the motivation to drop a coin or two in the basket for the food bank. Then, at the end of every day have one of your employees drop that basket off at the food banks office so they can do more of what they so wonderfully do.
We all can do more. Not just the famous coffee outlet. We all can donate food or bucks to these food banks. May we all remember that anyone of us are just a lost job, stroke or sudden trauma away from standing in that line up. May we reach out and support in any way we can. Not all will be rich. But not all have to be hungry. None should be hungry in this great land. No where in this great land of prosperity and wealth.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.