Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Illustration Friday - Journey

Charlotte and Roland take a journey through Europe

Have you ever played with a roly poly pillbug? They are so cute!

Thank you, my dear friends, for your outpouring of support for our Japan disaster relief fundraiser! Thank you for your generosity, not only with your funds but with your kind words and cheers as well. Ces and I were overwhelmed and deeply touched by the show of solidarity and encouragement. I knew many of you had already donated or contributed in another way, and I honestly did not expect much given it was already a few weeks past the disaster. But to date, Ces and I have received direct donation receipts to the Red Cross Japan disaster relief fund totaling $925! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without question, the people there will need help for a long time, and we will continue to send out thank you packages to anyone who emails a donation receipt (please click here for further details) to either Ces or myself.

And Jack Foster! Come on down! You are the lucky winner of Ces's beautiful pen and ink Quercus Glauca. We will get that off to you very soon. You will absolutely love it, guaranteed. Congratulations!

In other news, my computer has been acting wonky again. First the video card and cable went kaput. Then the internal mic cable came loose. And yesterday, I swore my internal hard drive disintegrated. I tried everything to repair it, to no avail. I was fed up and ready to take the computer back to the shop where, by now, we are all on a first name basis. I tell you, I feel like Norm from Cheers when I go there.

Now here's where things get a little interesting.

See, when my husband passed away, I inherited his computer. He was a whiz with computers, absolutely loved them. So this morning, while doing the dishes, I silently scolded him for pranking me and futzing around inside the Mac. A little while later, I decided to turn it on one last time before taking it to the shop.

And lo and behold..... It's working perfectly!

"Hmmmmmm..... Very interesting," she said, stroking her Fu Manchu mustache. "Very interesting, indeed."

I hope you have a wonderful week full of small miracles.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

七転び八起き (Nana korobi Ya oki)


After weeks of head scratching and tinkering, I finally have my computer back home. The empty space on my desk looks like it should once more. Yes, my ability to create art was hindered and my pocketbook is considerably lighter, but those are minor inconveniences compared to what others are going through across the world. I can only be grateful for what I have and for the safety and health of my family.

For the past few weeks, I've been following the disaster in Japan with great sadness. Like most of you, I've watched the waters smashing houses and large boats and cars like toys. I've seen photos of people surveying the damage, their town and their lives unrecognizable. One particular photo that burned in my mind was that of a woman calling out the names of her loved ones, desperate to hear a familiar voice. I imagined myself in her place, calling out the names of my daughters. I could feel her panic, and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.

But along with the destruction, I have seen videos of children singing at school graduations held in shelters. I've seen them laughing and playing and blowing bubbles. The children offer hope. The Japanese, I believe, are a resilient people. I am not Japanese, but after living there for two years, I feel akin to these people and their culture. This tragedy feels personal to me, and I feel a need to help as much as I can.

To that end, Ces has most generously and graciously teamed up with me to raise funds for Japan. For everyone who makes a $25 donation to the American Red Cross for the Japanese disaster relief fund, we will send the following.

An 8" x 10" print signed by yours truly. This is an image of two young Japanese children painting in one eye of a Daruma Doll. In Japan, the Daruma is a symbol of good luck and perseverance and is inspired by Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk often credited for his Zen teachings. The doll is weighted on the bottom so that it always rights itself rather than toppling over. Because of this, it is often associated with the saying Nana korobi Ya oki, which means, 'Seven times fall down, eight times get up.' Upon acquiring a Daruma Doll, a person will set a goal and paint in one eye. When the goal is achieved, he or she will paint in the other eye. In this image, the young children are setting their goal, and that is to get up once more.

As a thank you, you will also receive an original ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") of a Japanese Blue Oak Acorn (Quercus glauca), exquisitely rendered in pen and ink and signed by Ces. It comes in a handcrafted envelope made of beautiful Japanese decorative paper, along with information about this majestic tree.

But that's not all, folks. Everyone who makes a donation will also be entered into a raffle to receive a larger original 9" x 12" pen and ink drawing of the Japanese Blue Oak on Bristol Board, illustrated and signed by Ces. Isn't it gorgeous?

If you would like to receive the above, please email your receipt for a $25 donation to the American Red Cross (earmarked for the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund) to bellasinclairdoodler@yahoo.com. The print and ACEO will be shipped to you, free of charge. In addition Ces and I will match each donation received (up to $200 each).

And finally, a fun way to help efforts in Japan is to make origami cranes. For each crane received, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to the Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan (up to $200,000). The cranes will be woven into an art installation as a gift to the Japanese youth. I've been happily making cranes, and these little guys will be making their way to the Students Rebuild organization soon. To find out more about this effort, please visit Students Rebuild.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this long post. I'm sorry for making my comeback post a plea for donations, but this was important to me. If you have already made a donation, thank you so very, very much. どうもありがとうございます。