War

Should I paint my face and pick up a sword? Our country declares war on odd things.

Concept wars cannot be won as there is no clearly defined enemy, no nation to defeat, no land to seize. War on Terrorism, for example, broadly covers all aspects of terrorism instead of a specific terrorist and their organization, therefore it becomes never-ending as there is always someone or something else to add to the list. War on Drugs, War on Crime, War on Poverty… all noble endeavors to seek an end to, but war is specifically a human thing. People align, side with their cause, take up arms, battle to the death, pillage, bomb and blast each other to rumbles. War is an awful thing.

It bothers me to hear the leaders of this country describe COVID-19 as the enemy in this so-called “War” on a virus because the people are taking up sides against each other instead of working together for the common good.

On one side, we have the obnoxiously loud minority who use intimidation tactics to achieve their objectives, be it silencing other people by drowning out their voices on social media, verbally attacking people in public, or attending protests against health regulations fully armed. These are the guys carrying signs and military grade weapons at state capitals. Some are just ordinary people, but some of them are freaking nuts… their fringe element is prone to violence. One nut killed the security guard at a Michigan dollar store, another shot the cook at a restaurant, just because the businesses required customers to wear face masks.

Does intimidation work? Yes… people are afraid of those guys. They avoid the bullies, don’t engage in conversations, don’t dare leave a comment on a Facebook post lest you be attacked, ripped to shreds and called a sheep or whatever.

Wolves and sheep… the sheep side, or rather just the OTHER side, are more scared of the wolves than they are of the declared “enemy” in this “war” on a virus. These are the people who take the crisis seriously, practice social distancing, and cover their faces because they care deeply about others and are willing to do whatever it takes to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We know fabric masks do little to protect our own selves. We wear them just in case we, our own selves, may have contracted the virus and don’t yet know, may never know, because if we should happen to catch it, we want to reduce the odds of passing it on to someone else. Wearing a mask says, “I care.”

Yes, I am a sheep… dyed blue my wool, paint my face, the pen is my sword.

It’s not such a bad thing to be a sheep, to care about others, to be a humanitarian. Wolves who cry, “I don’t need a mask, God will protect me” forgot that the Shepherd tends the sheep. Psalms 23.

It is a bit ironic when wolves claim the sheep are too scared to stand up to “tyranny” as if state health guidelines and orders given to slow the spread of COVID-19 will lead to an authoritarian form of government. Most of those wolves support the current POTUS, echo his tweeted words, while sheep tend to believe the current administration is the greatest threat to our democracy.

Thanks for reading!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I not only practice social distancing and wear masks while in public, I also sew fabric masks for friends and quiet donations. Yes, some are available for purchase. I’m just trying to recoup some of the cost, not profit off a plague. Odds are, I still won’t break even, but that’s okay… if you want to see photos of what I’ve been sewing, visit Mice4Mars.com. That’s my other WordPress blog, launched just for my art before all this started.

Fallen Suns

Golden orbs, fallen suns, dead sons… war settles disputes by killing.

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Photo snapped by cell phone fails to show details.

This was my last completed acrylic painting, pure emotion on canvas board, raw with anquish over my nephew being sent to war.  The year was… oh, I can’t look to see as it is not here… it hangs at Metamorphosis. 

I wrung myself out painting, pouring everything out: grief for the fallen, my fears for our nation’s children and not just my nephew. 

Okay, so I have a hard time picturing the little kids who played tag in my yard, or took my daughter to a dance, as all grown up Army and Navy men, or her half-brother as a big bad Marine.  In my memories, he is still a little boy with a goofy ass grin trying to catch a plastic fish with a toy pole in a kiddie swimming pool.  Every time I turned around, someone else’s child was being sent to Iraq and for what?  Another Vietnam? 

In my anger over war, I stirred up a liquid mix to dry in the color of dried blood and scratched in words, the truth of it all:  war settles disputes by killing. 

I hated it, could not stand to look at it, and turned it to the wall.  Time passed.  I finally framed it and hung it where I could forget about it, as I knew what was on the other side every time I saw it leaning.  Yet, at the same time, I could not toss it out with the trash. 

Then one day, while I was talking on the phone, I glanced at it and whoa… what the hell did I paint? 

It was like seeing it for the first time… with my emotions not so raw.  I saw my nephews face, many faces and other things… started showing it to people who came by and different people saw different things (you really have to look at it in person).  My father can see representations from every war our country has ever fought, points out a revolutionary man sitting at a desk, boys in a fox hole.  He sees things that I don’t see, or didn’t until he showed me. 

It sickens some people. Some vets are drawn to it.  People love it or hate it, with no in-between.

It was my last acrylic painting as I could not paint any more.  I tried, started things that I couldn’t finish, and time dried paints up in the tubes.  My favorite brand of paints, Winsor & Newton’s Finity, was discontinued when they introduced a new line.  I found other means to express myself creatively, took up colored pencils, mosaics, leather tooling, whatever.  I played with watercolours and gouche, but that is on paper, so not the same.

The desire to paint again started coming back ye around the time Fallen Suns was hung on display at Metamorphosis.  Maybe I had to show it?   Maybe I need to sell it, to let it go?  A cool grand was suggested as the price, but I would consider a decent offer.  How much is a set of Winsor & Newton’s new line of paints, an easel, some canvas?  If I could get enough to set myself up with paints again, oh yeah… I would let it go. 

I know I never painted anything like that before and will never be able to paint anything like that again.  I don’t want to ever feel those same raw emotions again. 

If you want to see this painting in person, wander into Metamorphosis at 2 State St, Struthers, Ohio.  Their posted open to the public hours are:  Monday 8 to 10 pm (poetry night),  Thursdays 6:45-8:30 pm and Saturdays 6:30-10 pm (open studio nights).  Artist members have 24 hr access to the shared studio space so there are people there at other times, a private viewing could be arranged if those hours are not good for you. 

Yes, I plug Meta, I plug my art… but I do not sell online.  I just want people to see it.

Thanks for viewing my art!