Sunday, October 15, 2017

873 The Gift of Silence

My husband and I recently traveled to Italy for a long-anticipated visit to four cities, the first being Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast.  Due to long travel delays, we arrived very late at night, and upon awakening in the morning, we were delighted to see such a breathtaking sight of the sea outside our window.  Located high up on a cliff, our hotel was a beautiful blend of old and new with the most elegant blue and white tiles of different patterns throughout, and furniture modeled after mid-century modern, also in blue.  I was in heaven.  The grounds were exquisitely designed with 70 different varieties of plantings from all over the world.

Located next to the hotel and its grounds was an old, seemingly abandoned building with all the weathered paint and texture that delivers to me that compulsive surge of desire to paint.  I photographed it from several angles during those golden moments when the light is just so perfect.  During the visit, I was unable to get information about the domed building, but finally received an email response from the hotel with explanation.

In 1597, this building was constructed by the Jesuits as a convent in what was then a rural area with orchards and citrus grove sloping toward the sea.  "According to legend, the gods had given custody of the secret garden to the nymph Colomeide that to all those who would have entered into that magical place, she would have given the gift of silence."  In 1777 the building was converted into a hotel, now called the Grand Hotel Cocumella and is the most ancient destination of recreation and rest in the Sorrento peninsula.  I wish I had known this information when we were there.  I would have looked closer to see the hotel and would have entered the grounds, which are bordered by a tall stone wall.

Throughout Italy I took well over 1,000 photos of unimportant buildings and windows with weathered paint that I find so charming.  I took a few hundred of the historical sites.  I suspect you will see more paintings of the old buildings/windows than you will of the Colosseum.

"873 The Gift of Silence"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

872 Autumn Beauty

There are many indicators that Autumn is here---a nip in the air, darkness setting in too soon, falling leaves, acorns, and apples!  When our children were little, we picked apples at a local orchard every year, apples which were then made into delicious chunky apple sauce.  I love Fall, but don't like what follows. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

871 Skilled

Joumana, a teenage refugee in Lebanon looks proud because she has just crafted a doll from a wooden spoon,  and a lovely bouquet of paper flowers in a skill course provided by ANERA that is designed for older teens so that they can work for a better future for themselves.  Joumana has participated in a certified early childhood education training course, but many other courses teach these young people computers, hairdressing, cooking, sports, and other life skills.

"The non-formal education and job skills courses are part of ANERA's project, "Quick Impact Skills for Development for Youth and Adolescents Affected by the Syrian Crisis," implemented in partnership with UNICEF and with funds from the governments of Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

This is my ninteenth portrait of a refugee child served by ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, a non-profit, non-political organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.    The Innocents Project is my attempt to raise awareness and money for ANERA so that they can continue their good work serving these Innocents.

Look for more on this in the coming days.

For more information, please check out their website:
You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

870 Weary

This is my 18th painting for The Innocents Project, my effort to raise awareness and funds for the Syrian and Palestinian refugees who are served by a non-profit, non-political American organization called ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, located in Washington DC.  ANERA provides whatever is necessary to serve the refugees---education, supplies, food, clean water systems, etc.

In April, violence erupted in the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, and hundreds of families were displaced.  In August, fighting in the camp intensified and 47 families were displaced.  Six refugees were killed and 15 wounded.  ANERA provided hygiene kits, baby supplies and quilts, and distributed medical supplies to a local hospital.  The folks at ANERA are angels.

In recent weeks, we have seen massive destruction caused by hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.  The conditions in which so many people are surviving are deplorable, and surely, they will be affected for a very long time by these disasters.  

There are a lot of similarities in living conditions for the Syrian and Palestinian refugees, but their problems have existed for many, many years, and are a result of man-made complications rather than Mother Nature's wrath.  Lack of electricity, food, clothing, heat, water, education, are shared experiences with the hurricane victims, but the one difference is that that is the "normal" in their world.  

"870 Weary"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Thursday, September 7, 2017

869 Education is Key

The new school year began this week in my community and many others, and as I watched neighborhood kids trot off to school with their new paraphernalia and school clothes, I couldn't help but think of the children in Palestine and Lebanon, where education for many is not readily accessible due to poverty and conflict.  Stress and anxiety can prohibit the learning process and development for these children.

In Lebanon, not only is the economy left in turmoil by the 1.5 million Syrian refugees, but so is the education system.  But so many of the Syrian refugee children drop out of school to work to support their families, and many of them have not been enrolled in school at all.

If you have been following my blog, you may recall that I have been painting the refugee children as part of my effort called "The Innocents Project."  This is my 17th painting in the series, which I'm hoping will raise awareness of the innocent children who are caught in the middle of a turbulent situation.  (More on that in the weeks to come!)

I am also working to promote the good work of a Washington, DC headquartered organization called ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, a non-political, non-profit group of devoted people in the US and in the Middle East who are committed to restoring dignity to those who live in sub-human conditions.  ANERA provides early childhood education to those like this beautiful young girl, incorporating expressive arts as part of their curriculum.  For older students, they provide non-formal and flexible education to teens so that they can try to go to school and help support their families.  It is often difficult and unaffordable for the children to get transportation to schools outside of their camps, so ANERA is working to educate them in or near their camps.

ANERA seems to cover whatever is needed for the refugee families, renovating schools, improving water systems, distributing medical supplies and relief materials, including shoes and boots for children who otherwise would be barefoot.  I cannot say enough about the work they do, which is so much more than I have described here.  Check their stats and you will see.  Please consider donating to ANERA or at the very least, check out their website to learn about this crucial situation.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

"869 Education is Key"
acrylic - 12x12 in

Thursday, August 31, 2017

868 Nasturtiums

My new floral infatuation is with nasturtiums, a beautiful and edible flower.  I have a few multi-colored plants--yellow, red and orange, in a pot on my patio and they are hardy and beautiful.  I love how the stems go every-which-way.  I am sure this is the first of many more nasturtium paintings.  Next year they will have a more prominent place in my garden.

"868 Nasturtiums"
acrylic - 6x6 in