creative expression

The Great Imitator

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Be it a brayer I've abandoned for a brush as I work on a piece, or my favorite matte purple lipstick ("Shameless" by Revlon), this one is mastering the art of imitation at age two. He's my constant companion in the studio, quietly underfoot, his little hands searching blindly along the edges of my work tables for something to grasp while I work. Nothing is safe or off limits no matter how far I think I'm moving it beyond his reach-he finds a way to deftly, and swiftly get paint, brushes, spray bottle, brayer, palette knife, paper towels, water in his hands when my focus is elsewhere. I've begrudgingly begun to accept that if he's awake, there is no working in the studio without him next to, behind, or underneath me silently watching or working just as diligently as I am. He watches, then imitates both in the studio and around the house, spraying the walls, couch or television with water from my spray bottle he grabbed off my table or tagging his brand new shirt or wall with my lipstick. 

... 

His brothers enjoy drawing and sometimes playing in paint (Alex always always always uses a brush, no fingers, because tactile aversion), but he's the first of my children to show such an affinity for it...an intense focus on it, which intrigues me as I watch him.

Hmmm.

Come to think of it, I painted quite a bit while he grew in my belly those nine months. A lot, actually. Maybe that's why it seems so flow out of him so effortlessly, in a way that it doesn't with them. He studies my movements and attempts to replicate them on his own. I've often looked down to see him foam brush or brayer in hand, quietly painting a corner of a piece in progress, mimicking my movements and strokes with whatever tool I'm using.  

 ....

I think it's time to get him his own easel, brushes, apron, and paper. Perhaps his own brayer as well-that seems to be his favorite, which has me smiling as I type this because it's mine as well. 

Sigh. 

This kid. 

Oh you beautiful, mischievous, joyful, getting into all the things all the time boy. 

What an explosive and intricate work of art you are.  

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Black Creatives Who Inspire: Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond

karenwalrond

Who:

Through keynote speeches, booksebooksin-person and online courses, workshops and one-on-one coaching, Karen Walrond and Chookooloonks Media are all about leadership, self-determination and the concept of thriving.  Ultimately, her work is a testament to beauty, positivity, creativity and kindness.  It's a body of irrefutable evidence that there is good in the world.  And a collection of tools to help you connect with gratitude, strength and joy in your own work and life.

Where:

Chookooloonks.com

Instagram: @heychookooloonks

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chookooloonkscom/

Why:

For nearly 7 years, Karen's corner of the Internet has been my favorite place to go to-especially when I'm overwhelmed by the ugliness, devastation, and injustice happening in the world. Her words and images remind me to always "look for the light" within and around me, and her book The Beauty of Different helped me heal from the impact childhood trauma had on my self-esteem and image. Her superpowers are many, but one of my favorites is her ability to empower others to recognize theirs. Her photography is lush and vibrant with colors that contrast with the existing shadows, and I enjoy how she amplifies the light in each of her subjects. As a creative, and as a friend, she pushes me to be a better artist and person. If you aren't following her work, do your soul a favor by starting to today. 

Salute, Karen! Thank you for being a light in the lives of so many and for doing dope sh*t. Thank you for using your #BlackGirlMagic and superpowers for good. 

 

*To celebrate Black History Month, I'll be doing short features of the Black women (and maybe a few men) creatives past and present who motivate, inspire, empower me in my life and work, and create incredibly dope sh*t. I hope you'll enjoy reading about them as much as I will be about amplifying their greatness!