Object Dar't

March 16, 2014

The Art of a Creator

If you look at everything known to exist and you remove what man has made so you are only left with what has existed before or without man, you will see that not one single thing is wasted. There literally is no junk. Every single thing you see or know about (because you can't see an atom or gravity) has a function and purpose that it not only performs but performs perfectly. Further more, each thing leads to another thing that it must "work with" to make up a larger unit. For example - all our cells must work harmoniously in tandem with other cells to make up the body we have. The earth must work in tandem with other planets and the sun to form our solar system and provide a home for all creatures. In short, EVERY living and non-living thing that was created not by man - instinctively and naturally forms a community. Each thing must do a job and do it well in order for it to continue to thrive and exist both on its own and with others (the collective) community.

What we openly acknowledge -because we speak about it all the time without really finishing the sentence - is that the planet, our bodies and our culture are NOT in harmony. We speak of cancer, diseases, sickness, ADHD, Autism, etc when we describe the human body now. We speak of global warming, depletion of resources, increased natural disasters and a planet on the brink of ruin when we speak of our home. We speak of crime, terrorism, hatred, pain, suffering and discrimination when we describe our cultures and society. Everything related to mankind is in ruins. Why? Because... we have only focused on man and what we think is his greatness. We only give credence to what man has made and we ignore everything else. Religion has made it so bad for so many folks that as a species, we are literally repulsed by the thought of a God. It's a horrible lie because when you look at the community of all that is NOT man made - all those planets circling in a beautiful symphony, all creatures forming a delicately balanced food chain, all our cells working as a complex orchestration in every second of cell regeneration and even the great power contained in a single atom - you don't see the God of religion! You don't see judgment. You don't see retribution. You see a designer, a creator - an ARTIST - who has literally crafted a breathtaking symphony of abundance purely for your enjoyment! All things spinning in a delicate yet powerful ballet creating sound (most of which we don't even hear!) as it dances to provide both infinite expression and experience. It is in short the greatest masterpiece that instigates a state of perpetual awe for the observer. Sadly, you can not feel that awe - you can't be taken to great heights - if you refuse to acknowledge and observe.

I have people tell me all the time that they wish they could live in one of my paintings or that they wish they could see through my eyes. There's nothing special about my eyes. You have the exact same eyes with the exact same abilities. The only difference between us is choice. I choose to see the bigger picture and not focus on just what is man made. I choose to see what is really there and not close my eyes for fear of what I might see. And each time I look, the picture gets bigger and more awesome. And with that comes a responsibility. And even the possibility of being ridiculed. But I am ethically bound to say out loud that your current view is just a sliver of what is real. And so I put down on paper in both picture and now word - the world you actually live in. If you will only stop squeezing your eyes shut and stop being repulsed by the possibility of a God/Creator - your view will change into something you only dreamed it could be. So shut your TV off, given up mans mental diet of negativity and denial. Come see and be the harmonious part of this masterpiece that you were created to be. It's imperative because if more people see the big picture, will see the real Creator and understand their job within the cosmos - these sick bodies and sick planet will heal. 

February 2, 2014

The Art of Bananas (or being bananas?)

My name is Denyse and I have ADHD. Which is probably pretty evident if you’ve even met me for 30 seconds. If not, just read any post and you’ll get it in under 3 sentences. ;) And yes. I’m weird. I talk weird. I act weird. I look weird. I believe weird things. AND I do reaaaaallly weird things. Sometimes inappropriate and sometimes, “what the..??’  I know. I’ve been told it all and for a long time I believed that was a bad thing to be. That’s what I was being told anyway. But here’s the thing; as it turns out weird is a really spectacular thing to be. It’s joyful and funny and dynamic.  

Yeah, I walk into rooms about every 30 minutes forgetting why I’m there. Then I have to walk back into the last room to reconstruct what I was originally thinking that GOT me in that room. It happens so much that sometimes I want to stick myself in the eye with a fork. The other day, I kept losing pairs of glasses I was using. I couldn’t figure out where I was forgetting them! Until I touched my head and found three pairs up there. I had that, “ugh” moment and then just laughed my ass off. That’s the part where funny comes in. Because really you could just stay frustrated n miserable or you could laugh at yourself because it’s utterly ludicrious. I like laughing way more.

And yes, some of the things I do are very strange. In my house, bananas are phones. Unfortunately because my DNA is at play in my children, you will likely have to answer a banana just about anywhere. Last year, it was in the car. We were driving a friend home from school. My eldest had a banana and said it was for me and then stuck it in my ear because it’ll illegal to talk on the phone and drive at the same time. *sigh* I can’t let stuff like that go by. That’s a smackdown. I'm a single Mom. If they win on even ONE smackdown…you are screwed! So I took the glob of banana out of my ear and mashed it all over her head and chest. :D To my chagrin, I’d given everyone bananas for snack (there were a total of 7 weapons!) and thus the Great Banana War broke out inside the car. We arrived at the friends house covered in mashed banana. Our friend just stood there with wide eyes of disbelief and confusion. So yeah, ok, a good word here might be “unorthodox.” But you know what? I can see the joy on my kids’ faces when they retell the story. There are SOOO many stories that are off the charts that they belly laugh when they remember. I don’t see a downside to that.  

So ok, my brain wasn’t designed to do the simple, basic things other brains accomplish without so much as a thought. No. My brain was designed uniquely by ADHD to serve a purpose. And here is where the joyful part comes in; I wouldn’t be able to paint if I didn’t have ADHD. I can’t focus a damn on inconsequential details but I can hyper focus over a piece of paper and get so lost that I forget to eat. My brain is lacking an emotional filter too. Sounds like a bad thing but actually, it allows me to love other people all the way to my toes just like a little kid. Because I act on a lot of my emotional impulses, the people I care about know without a doubt that they are truly loved.

And if you look at any painting you will see the world through the lens of ADHD. That really IS the world through my eyes. I’ve seen your world on TV. It’s way different from mine. Things are bright and busy, detailed yet disgustingly simple. Shapes are organic because life is constantly moving with a rhythm. But the important part is what you see in total; happy. It’s a lovely place to be. It’s gratifying when you’ve spent your life on a pilgrimage to anywhere "better" and wind up at HAPPY. It's like climbing Mount Everest or running the Boston Marathon.

The funny part about happy is that when you get there, you look around to find out if others made it with you and who they are. What’s sad is that there aren’t as many as you’d hoped. And it’s a tough thing to see that because if you’ve EVER been unhappy or in horrible pain – you never want anyone else to feel that. Ever. And yet you know there isn’t anything you can do because no one gets you there but you. So you stand there to cheer the others on toward the finish line loudly. And hope they won’t give up. Yeah..being weird is a good thing. Now I think I’ll go see if I can find a banana. I have a teenager to mess with :D   

December 10, 2013

The Art of Flying

I’m going to be speaking to a Girl Scout troop soon. I always say yes when the Girl Scouts ask me to speak or do an activity. I was a Girl Scout for a time and I truly believe in the spirit of the girl scouts; to prepare girls to become empowered women. I’ve realized recently that as I grow as a woman myself and FINALLY come into my own, I bear a certain obligation. In thinking about what to do or say with the girls, I had some thinking to do. If I were a little girl again sitting in that troop, what would be the best possible thing I could walk away with when the activity ended? And so I started to think back about where my head was at that age.

I grew up with parents who were inherently fearful. Both my parents were inner city kids. They’d seen and experienced an awful lot and I mean “an awful lot” in a literal sense; abuse, molestations, poverty, crime, natural disasters – you name it. I can’t pretend I understand what that’s like. I don’t. And I know that many of the things they did in their child rearing back then were done because they loved me. But there’s no mistaking that their beliefs came from a place of real fear based on their experiences. They hovered over every aspect of my life. They held their breath each time I stepped out into the world. There were endless conversations about the bad things that could happen. Other talks about how bad people were to the point that you couldn’t trust them - ever. The world was a bad place and they tried their best to teach me how to watch my back, be mistrusting, keep my smarts about me at all times and how to come out swinging. It’s an understatement to say I was an abysmal failure. For whatever reason, I was hard wired as sensitive. I just didn’t have it in me. So you can imagine how confused I was given my personality versus theirs. In my parent’s eyes, I had/always have my “head up my ass.” In my eyes, they were difficult, jaded and hard. What confused me more was when I stepped out the door, I didn’t generally experience what they said was out there. Yes there were jerks but statistically speaking they were a mere decimal point when compared to all the people who were kind, loving and good. These people on the outside of my family were the ones who sustained me emotionally. They encouraged me. And if it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have taken even 2 steps outside the door of my home.

The way I escaped from it all was through art. As a little girl, I’d color for hours. In high school, art class was where I felt excited and at ease. I wanted to pursue art but my parents dissuaded me back then because “artists don’t make any money.” That’s rather dashing when art is the thing you love so much that you get lost in it. Then in college in Florida, I took a drawing class. As a human being, I was adrift. Florida isn’t exactly the epicenter of hope or possibilities. So when I signed up for my college art class, it was with the intention of an elective that would keep my GPA up. Things took a bit of an unusual turn though. My professor had studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and in my eyes she was secretly a rock star. I remember feeling very wistful about what her life must have been like. About half-way through the semester though, she took me aside. “Denyse, you are literally wasted here. You have so much talent. You belong at Parson’s in New York. I can help you put together a portfolio and help you apply. You have to get out of here. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about and I wouldn’t say this to you if I weren’t 100% sure you could make it.” You could have blown me over with a feather. And for a moment – my heart was sooooo hopeful. The thoughts in my head about my life were for once about possibilities. I was so excited that I went to my parent’s house and told them. And my father shot me straight through the heart. “You can’t go to New York. You’ll be dead or raped within a week, Denyse and crawling back home. You’re just too naive to survive in a place like that and besides, artists don’t make any money.” And here’s where I went horribly, horribly wrong; I listened to his fear and owned it too. I told my professor “no.”

A colorful but flightless bird.....
I look back and literally sob at my own weakness. It’s natural for parents to be fearful when their baby bird flies from the nest. Especially my parents. But it’s on my own head that I didn’t soar anyway. I lived my whole life sitting in my parent’s nest, heart broken to not fly. I try very hard as a parent to ensure I don’t pass on my family legacy of fear. I don’t always succeed but I TRY. If you are a parent, I hope you’ll think about the things you are saying to your children both in word and deed because you are literally setting the flight pattern for your baby.

I think back to all the things my life could have been, what I surely missed; not just in circumstance but in how I could have felt about myself. I’m grateful for one thing though. Life offered me a second chance at 43 to be an artist. And for the first time in my life, I am at ease in my own skin. It is the thing I was born to do – the thing that I do well and love doing. What a gift even if it is late. I can’t help but wonder though, how many people get second chances? These little Girl Scouts are going to be sitting there looking to me to impart something to them. I desperately want for them what I didn’t have for myself. So I’ve decided that somehow, I’m going to try to give them the gift of not needing a second chance. I’m going to encourage them and get them so excited to soar the skies that nothing anyone says will stop them. Fly little birds – be free.  


November 27, 2013

The Art of Latkes....

For two weeks, I have been racking my brain what to get Tom and Reva for a Chanukah gift. With every store that I hit, I just couldn’t find anything that seemed appropriate. Tom and Reva are rare people so you can’t just buy them a Snuggie and expect that it would do the relationship justice. These are the kind of people who deserve nothing but the most astounding of gifts. And for good reason.
Two years ago, I fled my home as a result of a domestic violence incident in the midst of what has been a horrific divorce. Tom and Reva took me AND my three children into their fold. Not only did we live with them for almost an entire year, but they immediately (and instinctively) took on the role of grandparents for my children. They also took on the role of Mom, Dad, friend, protector, adviser and cheerleader for me; all at a time when the 4 of us were at our most vulnerable and frankly - messy. And they barely knew us. It has turned out, bar none, to be the most profound experience of what human beings can truly be to each other. Together, we forged ourselves into the whole and loving family that I’d intended when I gave birth to my first child. And it is the sole responsibility of Tom and Reva because without them, we would not be as we are now.
For those of you who don’t know Tom and Reva, let me introduce you.
Aren't they beautiful?
Reva is a computer professional with a brain that’s sharper than a razor. Even at 60 something, she on top of her game. But that’s such a teeny part of her. She is a breathtaking tapestry; earthy, utterly kind but doesn’t take any bunk, so deeply thoughtful about the human condition and what others are experiencing, so willing to see the positives in others, celebratory of life and thoughtful of death, fully accepting of others, a whiz with money, an AMAZING mother and a tireless volunteer for whatever she believes in. For 2 years, she has volunteered her time and energy to bringing a fiber optic network to Western Mass through Wired West. That fight probably has several more years to it even. And yet, not once was she ever too busy to nurse my internal wounds or spend time with my kids or whip up a wonderful dinner for all of us. She truly humbles me and I mean this from the bottom of my toes – I hope someday I am just like her.   
Tom is a fellow artist – his art is photography. He has the tender soul and unusual world-eye-view that all artists possess. He is a little slip of a teddy bear that wears the funniest hats, the boldest/brightest shirts and a habit of shuffling around in his slippers like a little kid. He has in his life been a pacifist, a conscientious objector who has admittedly spent time in the “pokey”, a stay-at-home Dad, a teacher of sorts and a lumber yard worker. And like Reva, he is a tireless volunteer for the things he believes in. He is a man who will without a moment’s hesitation or question, give you the shirt off his back. And he is absolutely my partner in crime. If you pick up a banana and answer it like a phone then tell him, “it’s for you!”, he is the only person I know who will take the call and have an entire (and FUNNY!) conversation with the imaginary person on the other line. But my favorite thing about him is his dancing. You can’t help but be in awe then. He completely diverts from any “standard operating procedure” and dances with a wild abandon that I’ve never seen before. So much so that you can’t even tell if he’s on beat! But it doesn’t matter one lick because that beautiful child within him refuses to be contained when music is present. And all you can do is watch, riveted and smiling from the inside out. It’s a joy to behold another human being so happy, so free. It goes right to your core.
The dancing man!
So you can see why no ordinary present would do for Chanukah. My solution; this post is my present. My Chanukah present to you Tom and Reva is that the whole world should know what utterly amazing human beings you are. That you be celebrated loudly. I have no clue at all how I got so lucky but there isn’t a moment that I draw breath that I don’t give great thanks for the two of you. You took an almost broken woman and her 3 hurting cubs and not only turned them into happy, healed people but you gave them the gift of a FAMILY. You are in fact the reason I believe in good people.
ALL my love now and forever….now let's eat some of your yummy latkes!  

My Chanukah gift to readers is simple: I hope you too stumble upon people like Tom and Reva. I hope you find good, loving strangers who catch you when you stumble or fall because these are the people who will add to your life - not subtract. Happy Chanukah!