“Is a bird happier than a clam?” I break the silence completely unprompted.
“What?” I can almost hear my friend repeat this all too quirky-hypothetical-rhetoric back to me. “Is a bird happier than a clam.” He states not as a question as he sorta half puts down the day’s USA Today. It doesn’t LOOK like a grin and to the untrained soul it might appear to be annoyance as he peers over the rim of his specs. But I know “amused but way too strong to admit I’ve fallen prey to the silly. I’ve gotten used to it. Not only does it not bother me…I kind of…well…I mean…if it goes away…I won’t MISS it necessarily but I would have to….ahhh…adjust.” when I see it. I saw it that day as we sat in a busy café waiting for what would be the “HOLY MUTHER” of all things bread pudding. (Free Travel Tip: (Who needs Samantha Brown?) If you are in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, GA. Even if it’s not meal time…even if you are on a health food kick…even if you are not a foodie and you don’t adventure eat (I don’t judge you, I embrace you in your lost state of food normalness and encourage you allow yourself to be brought into the fold. There is love here dear one.) If you get a chance, go into OK Café and order the Banana Bread Pudding. OH EMMM GEEE! Take it home and savor every last drop of that caramel glazy goodness dripping down the sides. Don’t allow some sissy girl to talk you into sharing. Order your own! You will not be sorry. Moving on…
If you are privy to my random acts of nonsense then perhaps you have received a text or seen a post from me (or one of your other quirky super smarty pants friends) that read “today I hope you are as happy as a bird with a french-fry”. I don’t really know how happy a bird is when he or she is flying about with a carb-laden strip of salty greasy goodness but if a bird’s capacity for joy over junk food is even half the size of mine I’m going to say a bird with a french-fry is pretty dang happy. As for clams…I have no clue-yet their happiness is something to be metaphorically mentioned. I don’t really care to google the origin. (went back, couldn't stand it, I found out why and it makes sense but keep reading for now anyway please) I just say I don’t know how happy clams are. I disclaim how happy I am when eating a clam and speculate that historically they are happy creatures. So if sea food is your thing-and you watched that Hitchcock movie so you hate birds- then by all means…I hope you are happy as a clam. OR….perhaps a hippo. Purely speculation on my part but I believe hippos are happy. I even think happier than clams. I have reasons (of course I do) and if the choice were presented to me “AK, would you rather be a hippo or a clam?” I would answer with quickness, “Hippo! And for how long?”
Here are my reasons: The hippo smiles, (yea I think they smile) peering just barely over the surface of the water in all their giantness..calm, steady, slowly navigating the waters in which they live-thick skinned and secure. knowing she is not to appear on a Long John Silvers menu any time soon. Yep, I choose hippo. I ask "how long?" because I would like to know if it’s temporary or for ever. I mean, let’s face it, no matter what your lot in life being a people is the best. I love animals but people are the best kind-I think. I mean…regardless of your situation, no matter what was done or was not done or what will be done to you in the future…no matter who you know or haven’t met or what goals you have yet to accomplish or what failures you are sorting through. You are here now, the superior being to all other animals on the planet. Reading. and using the interwebs..perhaps while you should be working-right? (I won't tell) Seriously though, today is a happy day and today in deed! I know hard days and weeks and errr…uhhh… echh hmmm…years like this past one come, but at the end of it all…I myself…I am happy. Happy as a clam. Happy as a bird. or…yea…happy as a hippo. And for you, my friends, I wish the same. I wish for a happy day. And I wish for you to be happy. Happy as….a…. people.
I'm a fan of Dr. Seuss-you would no doubt imagine if you have met me at all. I like the style-the sing-songie-ring-rhyme-rhythm of his work. I like the bright colors and whimsy of the illustrations. I have a heart filled with whimsy you know. Even though once broken ...it seems to be healing nicely and with more swirls and polka dots than ever before.
This two part painting is "complete enough" to blog. I have big plans for it. And if they go well-I will dedicate a new post to be called "Sakura" (and no I don't mean the sushi joint). There is a bit of a risk involved in the next steps...and for that reason-I documented the Dr. Seuss-ish version here. Enjoy!
Two sheets of paper. Three and one-third feet by six.
Someone recently asked if I ever paint anything dark. I thought he meant dark colors. “Dark Colors?” I asked, needing clarification. I looked back thru some older stuff- there wasn’t anything in the grey or brown or navy blue family. Mostly I paint in primary colors, most things are bright and cheery. Suppose that’s my style. I like to paint with “happy” colors in the same way I do not like to paint landscapes. I tend to paint things that are either abstract/industrial or that appear as illustrations.
Not waiting for the requested clarification (typical me) I answered….”no, not really-I don’t think I ever have. I mostly use bright colors…”
The next question caught me off guard. It was something like “no, I mean subject matter. Do you ever paint anything gloomy or dark?” Feeling defensive and misinterpreting the question to mean “do you ever paint anything “real”” I quickly said “do you mean to imply I don’t paint things that are real? Like real emotion? (now I didn’t say this next part-but I thought it…”cause I got your “real” everything I paint-is “real”! Can I help it that I tend to see humor in things even in moments of despair? Is it my fault I am artistically speaking anyway little Mary Sunshine??? I do not apologize for my soul filled with nonsense and hope! When I paint-I paint with meaning…most often for another person and from my heart. Take for example the OU painting I did for my Dad last Christmas…No, the subject isn’t deep or dark but it was something important to him so I took it very seriously-and I REALLLYYYY felt proud to do it for him. Or what about all those “silly paintings” I did in March last year? Hu? I mean, every…. Single….. morning I got up and was “REAL” about my commitment to paint. I was REAL about selling those paintings for the Kenyan Orphans…and I was REAL about how tired I became mid month and anyone who knows me can attest to that. And though many of the paintings were of course illustrations-simple subjects-cartoonish even…they were REALLY part of me…does that not count???? I mean I am no Edgar Allen Poe-if that’s what you are asking…you won’t catch me painting gloomy skies and ravens but…I AM REAL!”) Again, I didn’t say one word of that-it was just a quick thought. Nothing major. I’m totally breezy you know. While I can assure you the question was harmless and not meant to challenge me as an artist in any way..it did sort of get to me.
Inspired by the question at hand and actual events….I have decided I will paint out a few recent sketches in a series I call “Mending”. The first is titled “Reason” The color scheme is still not “dark” and the overall message is not that of “gloom” or “despair”(sorry Poe fans), but it is “real” as real as the nonsense the silliness and the hope that fills my soul.