Writing Art – Painting as a Vehicle for Communication

artistArt has always been an important aspect of my life, at times acting as a medium for self-expression and other times feeding a need for creative exploration. The beauty of art is the freedom it allows us to be completely ourselves, free of social constraints, insecurities, rules, etiquette; a freedom that is often not ours when communicating with words. There is a definite degree of rawness that comes with this kind of silent poetry, especially when we invite the world into this personal space.

I am excited to introduce a new Artists on a Limb writing series, Writing Art, where we explore this creative journey with my friend and very talented artist, Al Gord.

Thank you Al for sharing your work and allowing us into your world.


Painting as a Vehicle for Communication

Writing Art by Al Gord

“As communicators, artists should not just portray a subject. Their work should be a window to the thoughts and inner workings of their artist lives and minds.”

~ Elizabeth Azzolina

Trapped Within My Own Personal Chaos

Trapped Within My Own Personal Chaos

 

The essence of art, in any form, is to communicate with others. From the earliest times drawings, paintings, dance, acting, song, and oral story have been used to pass down history, share monumental events, and commemorate stories of personal value. Today the past is documented in many forms and allows for easy accessibility for people to learn about the past. For current events media outlets and social media allow for instantaneous news, stories of personal interest and important breaking events. However, there is still an important role for the arts to play in society and in giving voice to others.

When I first started painting I dabbled in watercolours and oils; I tried painting nature scenes and still life. None of this resonated with me! I gained experience looking at other artists’ work and reproducing their painting purely for my own enjoyment. While I derived some pleasure from re-creating other’s work, I always felt a void upon completing the piece. People would be impressed with “my work” and the positive response, while uplifting, still did not fill my artistic void. Continued practice helped me improve my technique and allowed me to see art from a different vantage point.

Over time and after a break from art I realized why I was not getting the enjoyment out of something for which I once had a passion: the essence of art, and of any creative pursuit, is to convey a message, an idea, an emotion. Without that the final product is empty. When an artist is sharing their innermost thoughts, their most personal feelings – their passion and their message comes across in the work. It was this shift in understanding, due in part to life circumstances, which helped my transition from someone who produced art to that of an artist – two very different creative types, both in style and mindset.

Everyone has a message to share, experiences to retell, and emotions to express. Some people find that talking to a trusted person in their life or journaling their ideas are enough. For others, the creative route is a powerful and transformative way to further express their ideas. While this requires some level of comfort in letting strangers in, it is also incredibly cathartic! Not only does the support the artist, but this experience allows other people to connect with and relate to the art and the artist.


JimmeAlGord

Al Gord is an up and coming artist who uses abstract techniques with figurativism to create Modern Romantic Expressionist pieces and Rock Icon Portraitures.  To learn more about Al Gord and his work, visit him at the links below. He welcomes inquiries, questions and feedback.

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Al Gord and Al Gord Art: All work is the creative and intellectual property of Al Gord and Al Gord Art. No part of my work (specific work, its electronic reproductions or its intellectual property) may be reproduced, copied, modified, transmitted, re-distributed or adapted, without the prior written consent of the artist, Al Gord. 
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Summer Fun and Safety

Summer is upon us at last! If you are anything like me, you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible, walking, cycling, swimming, enjoying time with family and friends on patios, having barbecues, exploring amusement parks (I can go on and on). With all that summer fun comes the need for sun safety as well.  I was delighted when blogger, social worker and stay-at-home dad, Sean Morris, contacted me and wanted to share some of his tips on planning fun and safe family activities. Thank you Sean for a very informative article.


As a stay-at-home dad, I love the summer because it means family vacations, warm nights catching fireflies, day trips to the amusement park, and sleep-away camps where my kids will make lifelong memories. But I also know that summer means traveling in a cramped, noisy car for long periods of time, mosquitoes and other pests (not to mention the threat of disease), and standing in line for roller coasters in the hot sun, and that uneasy feeling every parent gets when their child leaves the nest. Summer comes with its share of dangers. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to prepare your family and stay safe.

Four Fun, Safe Activities for Summer Break

kidsSummer is the time when children are out of school and ready to play. But the excitement of a long break with no responsibilities can often get the better of them, and rigorous activities may lead to scraped knees, bruises, or even something more serious. The best way to ensure your kids don’t invent their own, potentially dangerous game is to come up with specific activities targeted to their interests. Here are a few things you might suggest to keep your kids entertained and safe.

Chalk Art: Beautify Your Driveway

chalkChalk art is a low energy activity that can prevent injuries resulting from wild behavior. The color is nontoxic and is perfectly acceptable to get on the skin. If possible, find a shaded patch of sidewalk or driveway for your kids to decorate. Though shade can help prevent sunburn, it is still important that you apply sunscreen every two hours.

Also, keep in mind that your kids are likely too distracted by their chalk to think about re-hydration. Prompt your kids to drink water every half hour. Avoid sugared beverages as they are far less healthy and likely less hydrating.

Make Your Own Art Supplies

puffypaintCreating your own art supplies both entertains your kids and guarantees the safety of the materials they are using. You can even make a homemade sidewalk chalk paint. Some other fun, easy-clean art mediums you can make in your own kitchen are bathtub puffy paint and water color paint.

A recipe for water color paint, a kid-sized easel, and some cheap brushes can make for a wonderful backyard activity. The homemade, biodegradable paint allows you to take your kids outside to enjoy the fresh air and channel their inner Da Vinci.

Freeze Your Own Healthy Popsicles

popsicleFrozen, tasty treats are part of what makes summer, summer. Unfortunately, most of those treats are loaded with unhealthy ingredients and are chock full of sugar. Instead of chasing down the ice cream truck, spend some time in the kitchen and make your own healthy and delicious treats.

With the right equipment, making homemade popsicles is easier than you think, while a homemade smoothie may be just what your child needs to replenish during a break from playing. Letting your kids create their own summer treats is a fun way to get them inside and out of the sun.

Consider making cherry juice popsicles for the end of the day, which can help your kids sleep better at night. Often, it is still hot by the time your kids should be in bed, and the last thing they want to do is curl up under a blanket.  A cool, healthy popsicle that is low in sugar might be a great way to end a long, hot day of playing and cool your kids down enough for sleep. Cherry juice itself contains melatonin, the hormone your brain produces for sleep.

Gardening Small-Scale

gardeningFor some kids, nothing is more exciting than taking care of a plant and watching it grow, bloom, and maybe produce food. Even if you only have a pot sitting in your window sill, taking your kids out to pick out their own flower seeds and a small, inexpensive bag of soil can be the start of a summer-long activity.

Not only will planting the seeds be exciting for your kids but providing them something to water every day can maintain a sense of responsibility. If you have access to a garden, tending to all the plants with your children can become a long, daily activity that might even result in healthy foods for your family.

sleepThough summer is not necessarily fraught with risk, minor injuries, sunburns, dehydration, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep are all very real and common problems kids can experience in the summer. By building your activities around avoiding these unnecessary injuries or health issues, your kids will be able to enjoy summer to the fullest.

Let your kids get creative, help them make healthy snacks, and maybe spend a dollar or two on some flower seeds to brighten your window. Summer is supposed to be enjoyable. Keeping your kids safe does not mean they shouldn’t get to have fun.


Sean Morris became a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get to spend more time with his kids. He enjoys sharing his experiences via LearnFit.org and hopes writing for the site will help him provide other parents with tips and advice on juggling life, career, and family.