Monday, February 20, 2017

Georgia O'Keeffe Inspired Red Poppy

I'm thinking maybe flowers are my forte when it comes to painting them. I'm really having good luck with them!

I'm going to be keeping this post short and sweet, but I am just dying to share the Georgia O'Keeffe inspired Poppy painting that I did this weekend!

Here's the original painted in 1927 by the artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

Photo Credit - WikiArt

Stunning isn't it? I love the colors and the blending and shading.

I had help with this of course, because I am very much a beginner. Using a Youtube tutorial by Angela Anderson I was able to paint my own poppy.

Before I show you mine, let me show you the reference photo from Pixabay that Angela Anderson used for her tutorial.

Photo Credit - Pixabay

Compare this photo to the painting by Georgia O'Keeffe! Wow right? The realism in O'Keeffe's painting!

Well I don't want to brag but I'm going to because I'm so darned proud of what I was able to paint thanks to Angela Anderson and her wonderful teaching manner and great tutorials!

Here's my version.

Not bad right?

Can you see why I am over the moon happy about this? This was my second attempt. The first one I botched royally and was so upset with it that I shredded it in the paper shredder before the paint was even dry! I sure hope my shredder doesn't get all gummed up!

For the second attempt I just followed Angela faithfully and listened carefully to her tips and suggestions and watched every one of her brush strokes... and I did this folks! I'm thrilled beyond belief and hope that you love it as much as I do!

Friday, February 17, 2017

He Will Haunt My Memory - Part One

When I walked into the court room he was the last person I noticed. In fact, until the judge introduced him to us I didn’t even know he was there. He was a slender man seated at the table next to his attorney, his hair was cropped short and he wore a dingy white dress shirt, his skin almost the same color as his shirt. His eyes were sunken deeply into the eye sockets and he kept pursing his mouth into a pout, sort of like he was sucking on a piece of hard candy. He looked hard, like someone that had suffered in his life and instead of time and life having mellowed him, they had hardened him and his features.

You wouldn’t think that someone so nondescript would stay on your mind for so long. Maybe it wasn’t him, instead it was the reason for meeting him and his story. Regardless, his memory haunts me…this is the story of Mr. Chriss.

Last week I was called in for jury duty. The last time I went was in 2008, you can read about that trial here…it was a doozy! Once I finished with that trial and I wrote that post I was over and done with it and never gave it a second thought…this one won’t be so easy to forget.

This one was unique. Not a criminal trial, not a civil trail, instead this one was a civil commitment hearing for an individual who is considered a Mentally Disordered Offender or MDO. We 60 individals, had been called into the courtroom to go through the process of choosing a jury to decide three things:
1. Did the respondent have a Severe Mental Disorder?
2. Is the Mental Disorder in remission or able to be kept in remission with further treatment?
3. Is the individual a danger to the general public?

It was our job to make those decisions and they had to be unanimous, either all true or all false. We could not say numbers 1 and 2 were true but not number 3. All or nothing!

If you’ve never been to jury duty I strongly urge you to go next time you are called. It’s such a great learning experience. It’s not easy to know you hold the future of someone in your hands, but it’s such a privilege to know that no matter what you do, in our country you will have your day in court and you will be able to tell your side of the story.

I had hoped to not be chosen for the jury only because there was so much going on at work and I felt guilty dropping it into the lap of my coworker. But it’s not as easy to get out of being on a jury as it used to be. I had no real hardship. The company I worked for respects our duty to complete jury duty so they pay us our regular pay. 

After two days of voir dire (a preliminary examination of juror by judge and counsel) I was chosen as juror number 6. That was Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was the day the attorneys had a chance to give their opening statements, to call witnesses and to present their case.

Unlike a civil or criminal case where you have a plaintiff and a defendant, in this case you had the petitioner which was The People of The State of California, represented by Attorney Caves and the respondent, Mr. Chriss who was represented by his counsel, Attorney Kendall. The burden of proof was on the State of California, who had to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the three questions above were all true as regards Mr. Chriss.

Caves gave his opening statement first. A very handsome young man, very soft spoken. I would have been happier if he had looked us in the eye more and spoken with more authority. He also introduced Mr. Chriss to us and explained to us what the judge had already told us multiple times, that we had to base our decision only on the evidence and the evidence is only what was said by the person on the stand. He said he would provide a witness that would give us the medical facts that we would need to come to the agreement that all three of the questions that we were to deliberate would and could only be answered as true.

Then Kendall gave his opening statement in which he also told us what we had to base our decision on and he informed us that Mr. Chriss had no burden of proof, it was not up to him and Mr. Chriss to prove to us that any of the three questions were either true or false, that was the job of Mr. Caves. He proceeded to tell us a little bit about Mr. Chriss.

Mr. Chriss had been sent to prison for physical assault on an individual. It was never made clear to us if he did his time in prison and then was committed or if he was committed after a second physical assault on an individual, but for the past nine years he had lived quietly in his unit at the Coalinga State Mental Hospital. He had a job at the hospital as a janitor and lived his life quietly, causing no further problems.

Part two to follow...(this was just getting too long)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Confessions From My Inner Artist

So I've continued to Art.

A few things have not turned out as I hoped, but I learned something from them anyway.

Some things have turned out so tremendously well that I honestly can't believe that I painted that.

Take my new header above. This was my first venture into using palette knives!

I have to confess that I was scared to try this. I don't know why, it's not like the Art Police are going to come to my house and claim my first born if I paint something that is crappy right? 

It's not like the canvas I am painting on has cost me thousands of dollars and is stretched on the frame using the unblemished skin of a billion butterfly's just canvas from Michaels, bought with a 40% off coupon. Hardly breaking the bank right?

Is is the fear of failing? Of not being good enough? 

Now that I type that I realize that's probably more the reason I get scared than anything else. It's failing that scares me. 

I haven't failed that many times in my life and I'm not used to it. But maybe the reason I haven't failed very often is that I haven't pushed myself to try things that I can fail at.

It's easy to never fail if you never try!

So I'll keep going and trying, painting some things that I love and learning from the things I totally mess up!

In the meantime I am having the time of my life painting. I wish that I had found this years and years ago. But then again maybe it was my time to find Art.

Or maybe Art found me...