This site has been dormant for some time. I have been putting my energy and attention into a new project, which can be viewed here:
Before going to Kenya I decided to commemorate the trip by purchasing a pair of red Toms and drawing on them. It was the natural thing to do. Here are the Toms:
While tree planting with my team I was privileged enough to meet Robin Wiszowaty, author or My Maasai Life. Robin has been working with Free the Children for a decade now, seeking out the work in international development after she spent a year living with a Maasai family. I took the liberty of introducing myself to Robin, as I had read her book before embarking on the trip. Not long into the conversation Robin noticed my shoes. Her excitement and awe over the illustrations is very difficult to describe in words. She couldn’t stop expressing her amazement over the detail on the giraffe and the accuracy in the map. Nearly right away she commissioned me to draw her something.
Upon my return I picked up her book once again and glanced through the photos located in the center. A photo that struck me while reading it struck me again. This is what I was going to draw her:
Robin’s story of her experience in the Masai Mara is inspiring, funny, insightful and beautiful. I was thrilled to draw her something upon her request. I have mailed this drawing to the Toronto location of Free the Children. Robin will be touring Canada (she lives full time in Kenya) while speaking on the Me to We tour. I’m excited for this drawing to find her!
I recently went on a trip to Kenya with an organization called Free the Children. My small group in this big organization decided to have a talent show on one of our last nights.
I made some amazing connections while I was there, mainly with the locals. One of the people I met is Jacob, our Maasai Warrior Guide. Jacob was there for us to pepper with questions whenever we felt the need to ask. I learned more from Jacob than anyone else on the trip. Jacob told us all about agriculture and types of trees in the Mara that are used for different things. Among these trees we learned about a bush that is used as a natural bug repellent – popular with the animals. Jacob also taught us about Maasai culture and certain rights of passages that are completed by the boys as they grow up.
Jacob was very inspiring and an incredible human being. He loves his family tremendously and treated us with respect, care and love. When it came time for the talent show I knew I wanted to draw a portrait of someone on the trip. I managed to get a fabulous photo of Jacob just after he had beat someone at a game called Sumo Slaps. He was quite proud of himself and flashed a huge smile. Snap! Got it! Drew it for the talent show:
Unfortunately I’m an idiot and didn’t listen to anyone when I was told 100 times to bring my pencils and sketch book. I figured this would be unwanted weight and space-taker-upers when I will only use it maybe once. Considering I was tool-less I took a pen used for my journal and begged one of our facilitators for some blank paper.
It all turned out in the end. When I presented the photo at the talent show four girls burst into tears and Jacob himself, tough Maasai Warrior fought the emotion of such a gift.
Jacob told one of my friends later in the night that he planned on keeping the drawing his whole life.
I know some very creative and talented people! Most of these people are talented musically. I have been to more band shows than I could count. I even have a playlist on my iPhone titled ‘Friends’. I usually listen to this when I’m away from home, as it reminds me of the amazing community I have to come back to.
One of the first bands I remember not only supporting, but really loving their music (you go to a lot of concerts at the request of friends, but don’t always enjoy the music) is Treelight Room. Treelight Room only lasted a couple of years and released one album, which I still listen to these days. Still love it. Though Treelight Room is no longer together the members of these bands have moved onto other bands that are still just as good and better!
Treelight Room was made up of three people, two guys and a girl. The girl is Jocelyn and I knew here during her years before bands when she use to quietly play a piano at a camp we worked at together. I remember sneaking in on her and requesting quite profusely for her to play me just one little song. Loved those days.
This is Jocelyn. This is also one of the first portrait drawings I did of someone I knew. It’s pretty smudged, as it’s been around a while, but when I look at it I can hear the beautiful music Jocelyn is capable of creating! It’s good to have reminders in your life of the people around you.
Jocelyn is now touring with the Jordan Klassen Band and is just as talented as ever. In case you were curious, the two boys from Treelight Room are now apart of a band called Nuuka and will be releasing their first album in early September! I am very excited to purchase this album and add it to my Friends playlist!
I have been working with youth and mentoring youth for roughly ten years. This year the last of the youth I have chosen to be committed to are graduating, or should I say graduated. It has been an incredible season of my life. Years of volunteer work. I have loved doing this and having it be apart of my life. Though I have stepped back in many ways I am still committed to my girls when they need me.
Volunteering has been such a huge aspect of my life and this year I am receiving an earthly reward for it all. In three weeks I will be heading on a trip to Kenya to volunteer my time with and organization that has been investing in the community for years! The best part is that the whole trip is being paid for – it’s a gift.
Life is full of amazing seasons. Some are bad, some are good, some are harder than others and some you just embrace with both hands. It does feel that one season of my life is ending and a new one beginning and I am ready to embrace it!
– Photo of Jasmine. One of the girls I am committing my love and time to, whenever she needs it!
Ya, it’s been a while. I find my creative drive comes and goes. A lot of what was posted is years of evidence of my creative drive being turned on and off. I guess it’s those off moments you have to push through in order to allow art to become a full time career, talent, hobby or whatever you want it to be. It seems the inspiration is what gets turned on and off. Sometimes I find I am really inspired and other times I am not.
Recently I watched a Ted Talk by a woman named Brene Brown. I had never seen a Ted Talk before or heard of Brene Brown; however, this talk was truly inspiring and revealed to me all kinds of pieces about myself that I didn’t know needed attention. If you are wanting to know what I’m talking about I recommend checking out the following links:
If you aren’t wanting to pursue these I can sum it up with in saying that vulnerability is the birth place of creativity, among other things. Perhaps it’s time I worked on unlocking this to unlock more of my creativity and inspiration.
Last night I had a moment of vulnerability with some friends as the topic of my last five years came up. I was reminiscing my camp days and how long ago they were, which then lead to thinking about how much of my life has gone by since then and how I feel I have accomplished very little. Turns out I have really good friends and they spent the next while telling me all I had accomplished and assuring me of my great future, whatever it looks like.
I went home feeling unwell today and couldn’t get the previous nights conversation out of my mind. Considering I had recently been vulnerable I guess I had the inspiration to be creative. Something I have always wanted to do, due to a friend that inspired me from my camp days – ironically – is turn myself into a cartoon. My friend who did this would constantly draw himself doing different things or would draw himself with extreme expressions. Usually, the drawing of himself would express what he was feeling inside, just in ways he wasn’t allowed to express outside. For instance, he would draw himself lighting off some TNT… you get the picture. I always thought this was such a great way to let off steam or have a constant creative outlet.
Today I drew myself as a cartoon and let me tell you, it was way easier than drawing a realistic photo of myself, which I have blogged about before. I seemed pretty lonely on the page all by myself, so I drew representations of things I have accomplished within the last five years:
I wont go into all the explanations of what it all means, but those who know me will get it. More importantly, I get it. I am hoping the next time I do this particular project the page will be a lot fuller! Here is to the next five years:
Recently I saw a presentation at my work regarding Midway island. Known in the past as to where a vital battle took place in the Pacific war of World War II. Today it is a bird sanctuary to that of the very large albatross. The documentary focused its attention on what is known as the “garbage island” in the Pacific. Due to masses amounts of garbage being dumped in tho ocean each year the albatross have begun feeding on the plastic found. 100’s of albatross die each year due to plastic intake. The videographers making this film have taken pictures of dead birds on the ground who’s insides are literally full of plastic; not the kind of plastic you might be expecting either. Plastic in the way of lighters, toothbrush handles, Lego and baby toys. It was pretty shocking. You might be asking yourself what this has to do with MacArthur.
After this documentary I had a desire to brush up on my history of the Pacific war. Being more in the mind of the rest of the world, my interests about WWII lead more towards Europe and Hitlers advances. Thanks to Netfilx brushing up on pretty well anything has been made super easy. I found a 23 episode documentary called The Crusade in the Pacific and I highly recommend it. This documentary consisted of newsreel footage and footage taken right from the field of soldiers who were responsible for documenting all that happened. I was quite taken with the whole thing.
This documentary talked a lot about General Douglas MacArthur.
Taken from Wiki – General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (26 January 1880 – 5 April 1964) was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign. Arthur MacArthur, Jr., and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to each be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.
He officially accepted Japan’s surrender on 2 September 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951.
Upon seeing General Douglas MacArthur in the documentary with his magnificent pipe I knew I had to draw him, so today I did just that:
It took me quite a while to get his face just right. I found I kept squishing his face upwards, which just looked plain wrong. After watching MacArthur (the real MacArthur not some actor) through The Crusade in the Pacific I felt quite a connection to him and his work in fighting the war and eventually and personally accepting Japan’s surrender. Being such a long documentary as well you almost feel as though you walked through bit of their journey with them.
Being that it is quite an old picture the texture of his face appears rougher than it probably is. In saying this, I enjoyed drawing the contrast of the rough surface of his face against his aviators, hat and shirt. Here is a closer look:
To get the rough surface I used the side of an 8B and 4B pencil on top of a smudged and shaded surface. His glasses, hat and shirt are all rubbed down quite a bit with a paper smudge. I’m pretty happy with the results of both.
Now that I have brushed up on my history of this war I am looking to watch the mini series The Pacific and will look forward to ‘Hollywood’s’ interpretation of the stories lived.
If you are interested in the documentary regarding the albatross birds and the work of the “Midway Journey” documentary, please visit their Facebook page. I highly recommend reading up on their word and looking for a launch date of their film:
If this link doesn’t work, please search Midway Journey in Facebook.