Blue Fruits

IMG_1969.JPG

Last Friday, I took an art class at Spruill Arts. The workshop was “moving from representational to abstract” which I took to mean it would be more of changing your mental mindset. It was that in theory, but in practice, it was more of how to paint real things in an abstract manner, and not outright abstract.

That didn’t really matter though, and I probably need to take the abstract subject in baby steps anyway.

Our first “warm up” exercise was to paint 3 mandarin oranges or cherries abstractly. My fruit really doesn’t look like oranges or cherries, but that wasn’t the point anyway. In fact, looking at them on the computer screen, they kind of look like tiny earths.

There you go. Now that I’ve immortalized it digitally, I can paint over them, and use the canvas for something else. Unless I decide I really love them. You never know.

Celebrating a Life

photo (2)This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, though, really the goal is to prevent suicide every week, every day. Yesterday, was World Suicide Prevention Day, and around the world, people held candlelight vigils, honoring their loved ones who died by suicide. I attended the vigil in Atlanta last night, and read the following tribute, celebrating his life.

While the story of my dad’s suicide in 1991, at the age of 54, was dramatic and tragic, it is not the most important story of his lifetime.

His greatest passion was aviation. He flew planes, photographed planes, and wrote about planes.

It was said that my father had one of the largest collections of airplane photographs in the country, and, as far as I know, they were all taken by him. He shared this love of all things airborne with the family he loved. Growing up, we regularly had weekend lunches at the Addison Airport restaurant in North Dallas, where he would spend the afternoon taking pictures. This, of course, was a time when you could stand by a runway fence, snapping photos and not get arrested.

We traveled across Texas to various air shows and rural airports, spending our summer days hanging out on hot tarmacs. We would also hang out at small airports with his friends who had planes, occasionally getting to take a joy ride.

Of course, his love of flying also meant that he flew planes as well as taking pictures of them. In the late 60s, Dad became a corporate pilot for a Texas oil company, and in the 80s, he was a pilot for the Virgin Islands Seaplane Shuttle.

The grand heroic gesture was something that he was also fascinated with, and it was during his time flying seaplanes that he was able to help save the day with his own grand gesture.

On June 5, 1987, Virgin Islands Seaplane Shuttle Flight 329 was en route from St. Croix to San Juan, Puerto Rico when the aircraft was hijacked as it neared San Juan. The hijacker came to the cockpit, tapped Dad, the co-pilot, on the shoulder and demanded to be flown to Cuba, threatening to blow up the aircraft if that did not happen. Dad and the pilot convinced the man that they did not have enough fuel for the flight to Cuba. The hijacker allowed them to land in San Juan, permitting the 16 passengers and the 2 pilots to exit the plane, apparently believing that the pilots would return with maps and fuel for the flight to Cuba. The hijacker stayed on board and ultimately surrendered to police after a 7 hour standoff. They found he was armed with a homemade bomb in a briefcase, which he had brought onboard in St. Croix, and a flare pistol he obtained on the aircraft. Tragedy was averted by the quick thinking of both Dad and the pilot.

Though Dad’s life was cut short by mental illness, he lives on in the books he wrote, the photographs he took, and through his drawings and paintings. He would be thrilled to know that you can still find some of his airplane guidebooks on Amazon and Ebay.

Mitch Mayborn, my Dad, was a creative soul who longed to soar through the skies. He is missed by all who knew him and loved him.

Friday’s Public Restroom Art Fun

I have this fascination with the art in restaurant restrooms, and I want to share! After all, only the ladies get to see these pictures, and sometimes there is some great art. This is a roundup of the art I saw this week. Unless otherwise noted, let’s just assume the restaurants are in Georgia. The appropriate city is listed.

 

First up, the restroom at Rev Coffee in Smyrna, Georgia. It happens to be unisex, but if you’re just popping in for your morning coffee, it’s probably not a “must visit”, so you might not see it. Coffee themed and quirky:

Last night, during a visit to the ladies’ room in Agave Restaurant. Billed as an eclectic southwestern eatery and tequila bar, the restroom certainly has the southwestern vibe. The pictures did seem to be a little small in proportion to the size of the walls, but they were nice.

Finally, today Roland and I had lunch at the Sandy Springs (Prado Shopping Center) location of 5 Seasons Brewing Company. Definitely the best restroom art of the week! A large painting and 3 large posters make a visit very pleasant.

Painting for Someone Else?!!

Thus far in the saga of my learning to paint and acknowledging that I am an artist, everything I’ve painted has been for myself or an unrequested gift. Of course, the odd room here and there … oh, wait… that’s a different kind of painting.

So, I’ve been asked to paint 3 pictures for someone else! OK, that someone IS my daughter, Laura, but, oh, the pressure. She had 3 24×30 canvases that she had used for a pinterest Christmas project that she wanted to take home with me and make good use of. She says she likes abstract art, and wants the color coral to be in at least one of them.

Her birthday is in September, so that could be a good deadline for at least one of them, but at the rate I’m going, it’s not likely. I decided to paint a “practice” picture, just to see if I’m on the right track. The colors are wrong, but if it turns out, it will be for me (unless someone wants to buy it, heehee) so I’m using colors I would want for me. Mine is also smaller (16×20).

I’ll let the work in progress pictures do the talking. Seeing the pictures on the computer is a useful tool for me to see it through a different lens. And Laura, if you’re reading, tell me if I’m on the right track.

Here ya go:

Texture and undertone added.
Texture and undertone added.
More undertone.
More undertone.
IMG_1784
Collage piece added, and first layer of color.

 

Second layer of color. (yellow rectangle is still there, I just didn't want to get other colors on it
Second layer of color. (yellow rectangle is still there, I just didn’t want to get other colors on it.

The Process of Art

Did you know that creating art can be therapeutic? Well, of course you did. There is even a branch of therapy called art therapy, and of course you knew that, too. I learned recently that the art created for the purpose of therapy, is often referred to as “process” art (versus “product” art which is the kind of art you create to sell, or turn into a product of sorts).

I did google process vs product art, and it appears in my (very brief) investigation, that the interwebs use this term primarily regarding children and their free wheeling creation of art vs children given a structured art project to make, complete with the right colors, etc.

So. When I think of art therapy, I think of someone going to an art therapist and art is used in their therapy. Imagine my surprise to learn that much of the art I’ve been creating this year has been very therapeutic. Sometime this spring this began to dawn on me, starting when her therapist made a comment about wondering what is really going on in my blog header picture.

My own therapist went crazy (well, not literally) when I showed her these insightful creations I’ve made. I’ve written about some of them here, but I haven’t really gone too deep here in blogland about the meanings behind them. Hell, I was unaware at first that there even were meanings behind them, but it turns out there are. The ideas for the paintings are often triggered by family photos, but the feelings behind these ideas often don’t show themselves until some retrospection has taken place.

Sharing these paintings can be intensely personal, and some I’ve made may not be shared at all.

This is all a very long introduction to my latest painting that is part of the Baby in a Raft series that I introduced here and here. I’m relatively certain that you’ll figure out the meaning of this one. I did not write the poem and traced it back from pinterest to this blog on tumblr.

IMG_1754

 

 

Making Ice Cream

aka, my new hobby. There could be lots of pictures.

I’ve had one of those cuisinart ice cream makers for years, and I’ve hardly used it at all. Until this summer. I decided to give it a whirl, and when I mentioned it to Roland, he had just seen this “Master Ice Cream” recipe in the New York Times.

This is our 3rd flavor, and one that will demonstrate just how easy and how hard this process can be. For the record, our first 2 were basic vanilla, and toasted coconut. I decided to skip from ice cream 101 to the advanced course when we thought up caramel chocolate chip.

I started with the master recipe, using her instructions for the salted caramel version. Of course I made changes. Duh. Starting with only 2/3 cup of sugar to make the caramel. Ta dah! I think it looks like it’s supposed to.

 

IMG_1735

Then you proceed with making the custard, in the same pan, with the hot caramel. Adding the cold milk and cold cream onto the hot caramel meant serious potential for disaster. The caramel hardened instantly and started cracking. I had 2 choices…  throw it all away, or hope that once the cream started heating up, the caramel would remelt and all would be well.

IMG_1736

That mostly worked, but you know, watching and stirring can get kind of boring, so I increased the heat, and I may have been distracted by the new Two Dots game app on my phone, and, well…

IMG_1737

Oops. At this point, however, the caramel was melting pretty well, so I just turned off the heat, stirred a little more, and then took out the remaining clump of unmelted caramel.

IMG_1739

I should title this hard lump, “how to make caramel candy the hard way.” Of course I ate it.

Shortening this already long story, I finished making the custard, chilled it as directed, and proceeded with the ice cream machine, adding some chopped up chocolate chips near the end.

It probably should have processed just a little bit longer because it came out very soft serve, and even after a stint in the real freezer, it was still pretty soft.

IMG_1740

That didn’t stop us from eating it. Duh. Totally worth it.

 

 

The Journey

IMG_1667-001

“Little by little, one travels far.” says JRR Tolkien. That was one of the inspirations for this new painting. This was Roland’s other birthday painting, and one I’m really proud of.

Since April, I’ve been joining him on his weekly hikes which are mostly taken in the Chattahoochee River National Park. Being in a beautiful setting like this area, the hikes have a very calming and healing effect on my anxiety, and are, of course, great exercise. We bring our 3 dogs, so it’s both an upper and lower body workout!

The painting is of one of the paths. At the bottom of those steps is a deck area where you can stop and look over the river. Admittedly, we’ve had so much rain this spring and summer, that the foliage is very lush, and blocks much of the view right now.

Everyone should have somewhere that restores their soul.

On Full Moons and Birthdays

What a happy coincidence! As luck would have it, last Friday (claimed by some to be the luckiest day in the year), 7/11, was both Roland’s birthday, and the appearance of the full moon, which just happened to be a “supermoon”.

This year, Roland said that a soon to be taken trip to visit our daughter, Laura, was the only gift that he wanted. Well, yeah, I still wanted to have something for him to unwrap on the actual day. So I painted. Two paintings.

The first was directly inspired by him and his comment about the trees vs. the dancers.

Moondancing
Moondancing

And I did not even know about the moon until last Thursday, when I noticed that the full moon was near.

Art. Life. Always, never maybe.

Mentally Detoured

...finding yourself on the path of mental illness

end the stigma

End the stigma of mental illness!

W.T.F.

words thoughts feelings

Arden Ruth

word nerd

Daryn Kagan

A late blossoming wife becomes a mom and finds life after TV News

Intown Quilters

Fun, funky fabric!

A Thing for Words

Writer Joseph Hesch's second-chance journey to a literary life.

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

Lunch Sketch

"Drawing is not an exercise of particular dexterity, but above all a means of expressing intimate feelings and moods." (Henri Matisse)

Must Be This Tall To Ride

I'm a single dad documenting his journey. A guy trying to walk a higher path. And messing up. A lot.

The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

Making mental health everyone's concern

Jottings and Writings

Thoughts, Opinions, & Random Jottings

Lauren Kells

Writing stuff down since 1986.

Rob's Surf Report

Where the closest ocean is all in my mind . . .

A Canvas Of The Minds

A unique collaboration of different perspectives on mental health and life

Mouse Tales - Travel and photography

Travel, Disney, and photography

artgland

the secretion of art by Rhian Ferrer

Claire Manning

be inspired

Mentally Detoured

...finding yourself on the path of mental illness

end the stigma

End the stigma of mental illness!

W.T.F.

words thoughts feelings

Arden Ruth

word nerd

Daryn Kagan

A late blossoming wife becomes a mom and finds life after TV News

Intown Quilters

Fun, funky fabric!

A Thing for Words

Writer Joseph Hesch's second-chance journey to a literary life.

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

Lunch Sketch

"Drawing is not an exercise of particular dexterity, but above all a means of expressing intimate feelings and moods." (Henri Matisse)

Must Be This Tall To Ride

I'm a single dad documenting his journey. A guy trying to walk a higher path. And messing up. A lot.

The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

Making mental health everyone's concern

Jottings and Writings

Thoughts, Opinions, & Random Jottings

Lauren Kells

Writing stuff down since 1986.

Rob's Surf Report

Where the closest ocean is all in my mind . . .

A Canvas Of The Minds

A unique collaboration of different perspectives on mental health and life

Mouse Tales - Travel and photography

Travel, Disney, and photography

artgland

the secretion of art by Rhian Ferrer

Claire Manning

be inspired