Memories of Tanzania (2016 Calendar)

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One year ago, on Christmas Eve, we were suddenly informed that we had to leave the country. We had seven days to grab a few possessions, say some quick goodbyes, and leave. This holiday season, exactly one year later, we can’t help but look back in confused, swirling emotion. We are grateful to be so close to family this year: to celebrate with them in cold weather and cozy homes. But we also dearly miss something about those hot, coastal Christmases, when we tried to distract ourselves from the pains of homesickness by taking frequent swims in the warm ocean. It wasn’t perfect — it was often very difficult; but we loved so much about it, and there is so much to miss: our warm friends with their kind smiles, the evening breeze off the sea, the rainy sound of palm trees in the wind, the tropical plants and birds, our dog, Lincoln. There is so much more. There are moments I could attempt to describe. Beautiful, unbelievable moments.

One year later, here we are: far from there, not knowing whether we will ever see that place or stand before the smiling faces of those friends again.

As I have tried to process and reflect on our years in Tanzania, words always fail. But clear, simple memories can be kind and healing. So, as a way to process over the past year, I (Lauren), with blank paper and watercolors in hand, have reflected on some moments—images frozen in time—that represent the frequent beauty of the world in which I lived. These are memories of Tanzania—beautiful, wonderful memories that I am grateful to carry with me.

Inserted below are a few photos of the resulting watercolors. I hope they reflect some of the Tanzanian beauty which we are thankful to have known. I did one watercolor for each month of the year, so I will also be selling a calendar that resulted from this work, if anyone is interested. (See photos and paragraph below.)

Thanks for listening and looking. May your New Year be bright.

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2016 Calendar: Memories of Tanzania

In hopes that others might find joy in these images, as I have in my memories, I decided to sell my watercolor prints in the form of a 2016 calendar. The calendars come on a 9×6 clipboard, as shown in the pictures. They are $30 each, plus shipping.

I will be taking orders until midnight on Sunday night, January 11th. Calendars will be printed and completed over the next few days and shipped between January 15-17th.

To place an order please click on the “Contact” tab above and use the form to send me a message with your shipping address. I will then email you an invoice with your total cost (including estimated shipping). You will then be able follow a link to pay easily and securely online. (Or, if you would prefer to pay by check let me know.)

Happy New Year!

—Lauren

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Just finished reading…

On Stories

On Stories, by Richard Kearney

Yesterday I finished reading an excellent exploration of the ‘power’ of narrative.  On Stories by Richard Kearney explores the story from a philosophical perspective.  Kearney’s insights are not simply literary but also address such things as psychology, counseling, politics, and life in general.

Here is an excerpt:

“But let me return briefly to our genealogy of storytelling. What both historical and fictional narratives have in common is a mimetic function. From Aristotle to Auerbach, it has been recognized that this involves far more than a mere mirroring of reality. When Aristotle defines mimesis in his Poetics as the ‘imitation of action’, he means a creative redescription of the world such that hidden patterns and hitherto unexplored meanings can unfold. As such mimesis is essentially tied to mythos taken as the transformative plotting of scattered events into a new paradigm (what Paul Riceour call the ‘synthesis of the heterogeneous’). It has little or nothing to do with the old naturalist conviction that art simply holds a mirror up to nature.” (12)

Whatever you make of this excerpt, let me just say that the ideas expressed in it and elaborated on throughout the rest of the book are ones that will shape the art (everything from writing to painting to photography)  that Lauren and I produce over the coming years.  So there’s a little insight into one way (of many) in which we’re thinking when we produce art.

Art and Fear

Graduation happened to me over a year ago. I can’t believe it came and went so quickly.  The tassel that dangled on one side of my head quickly passed to the other; and in that blur a new chapter began.

I could go into much detail about all the changes that took place after that:  marriage, important life decisions, work, etc…  But there was one subtle change that I did not anticipate; one that covertly transformed my life into something very different from what I had grown accustomed to.  In a sentence: I stopped making art.

For those of you readers (whoever you may be) who do not know me, I was an art major in college.  Graphic Design to be exact.  I did not have any previous art education before college so that first year of college was like exploring a whole new world. And in that world I discovered much of who I am and who I would like to be.

I had found something that I could lose myself in for hours. When I finished a piece, whether it was good or not so good (ok, bad) I had that feeling of “Yes, this is what I am supposed to do”. It was a good feeling.

But when the busyness of “grown-up life” hit me, I stopped.  This fact was alarming, and I have found myself somewhat paralyzed by this change of lifestyle.  I spend any free time I have thinking and dreaming about art, envisioning the many things I would like to do. But I rarely execute those ideas.

Then I started reading a book called Art and Fear (recommended by my friend and fellow artist Josh Granberg). It touched on some very important things that I really needed to hear.

Art and FearListen to this quote.  “Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again — and art is all about starting again.”

Isn’t that great news? It gave me just enough courage to start again. And to keep starting again every time I have to stop.

So, I have begun again. A bit slower than my rigorous college pace, but I am moving.

I have not yet finished the book Art and Fear. But when I do, I plan on writing a book review.  So, more later. ;o)