Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More on Van Gogh....He Is Awesome

Vincent Van Gogh is well known among many for his paintings of vivid color. That in itself, is one of the main reasons I love his artwork so much, the color. I really enjoy looking at pretty colors, they make me feel good inside, giving me inner peace. When I see something that is bright and colorful, it really catches my eye and I feel confident in saying that is probably true of most people. Color tends to bring excitement to things and our surroundings. Van Gogh produced a painting entitled "The Cafe Terrace On The Place du forum at Night", this painting is also nothing but spectacular, and also a favorite of mine. The painting is very intense with vivid and rich color. It is an oil on canvas painting , and is not actually known for sure when this painting was created, but my research and evidence shows that it was most likely painted sometime around September of 1888. This was a time in Van Gogh's life, when he was living in Arles, in what he states as the "Yellow House". Van Gogh hardly knew anyone while living there, which in turn he had very little to distract him from his artwork. He created painting after painting while he was there. My first response to this painting is extraordinary. In my opinion, once again, all of his work is brilliant. I feel as if with each piece, he was portraying a story, a thought, or a feeling. This particular painting shows the cafe on a starry night, the sky is a bright midnight blue with many stars shining down on the streets. The cafe stands out because of the yellow color mixed with orange tones. The pavement seems to have so much texture and color that it seems so real, as if you would know exactly how it feels to walk along it bare foot. In the painting, you can see patrons at the cafe, and it looks as if they are enjoying good food or maybe even having a cocktail. The buildings on the other side of the street are dark with very little light, giving the impression that they were closed and it is probably somewhat late at night. The starry sky once again stands out the most in this painting. I believe Van Gogh had an obsession with the stars. The overall color scheme in this painting is magnificent. The colors all blend so well together. In my opinion, Van Gogh was a genius in the world of color. I also think it gave him a feeling of peace within. I get that same feeling when I go out at night and just look at the stars and the sky. It's as if the rest of the world and your troubles in life, somewhat disappear at least for the moment. If I could have an extra room in my home to decorate as I pleased, any way, I would fill it full of Van Gogh paintings such as this one. I would have someone come in and paint the walls deep blue with maybe even a quiet little town scene. I would put stars on the ceiling and a black light to illuminate all the artwork. I would then call it my Starry Room and that would be a place that I could go to escape the everyday troubles and stress of life. A place of my very own.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Disturbing but Real"

This past Sat. night, after a dinner with the family at Cracker Barrell(one of my favorite restaurants by the way...good Southern food), we decided to go to Wal-mart. I usually go there on Wed. mornings after class, since it is much less crowded then, but we were all bored and the kids wanted to look at toys, so we said "what the heck, lets go". Since the town we live in is relatively small, that is the thing to do on Fri. and Sat. nights after dinner for alot of families, so it is usually packed, that is why I normally try to avoid it Anyhoo, so here it is about 9 p.m. and we are headed there. As we pulled in the parking lot, there is the Wal-mart gas station on the right hand side and a small shopping plaza with about ten stores and Little Caesars pizza. My husband decided to go ahead and get gas since it was a good and we were right there. So there in between the parking lot and the gas station, on the curb sits a family...a man, a woman, and two small children both probably under the age of 3. The family looked really poor and the kids were very dirty and not well dressed at all for the cold weather out. Now to me this was very disturbing. As we sat, while my husband pumped gas, I watched in dismay and a knot filled my stomach. I'm not really sure why it bothered me so much, I mean it is not uncommon to see homeless men/women from time to time on the interstate exits or in front of stores holding signs, but to see an entire family, I've never seen, especially with two small children out in the cold sitting on the curb. It was very sad. So when my husband got back in the truck, I showed him and said to him, "lets see if they are broke down...its the least we can do", and he agreed. So we pulled over to that side of the parking lot and he rolled his window down and asked them if they were stranded? The man said no, that they did not own a vehicle but that the kids were hungry, and could we spare some money to get them some food, he said he wasn't worried about him or his wife, just the kids, and he did not offer any more information than that. I looked at my husband and shook my head, and he handed them $7, which was all the cash we had left on us at the time. The man said Thank You, and that was that. The woman never even really looked up at us which I kinda thought was due to shame at the time. We then pulled away and proceeded to head closer to Wal-mart and parked. I felt really good about the situation, and hoped they would buy those kids some food with the money, but all I could do was hope. So we ended up in Wal-mart for the next two hours, it was nearly 11 p.m. when we checked out. So as we were coming out, my husband decides to get a drink from the coke machine and the kids wanted to ride the merry go round which is right there at the entrance. As I am standing there with them, I see the same lady from earlier walking around in the parking lot towards the front of the store. The ride ends and we proceed to walk to our vehicle, as we are doing this, she is walking towards us. She walks up to us and starts telling us how her vehicle is broke down, that is is out of gas and her older daughter and two small children are stranded in it right up the road, she wanted to know if we could spare a few dollars for gas? At this moment, it is just blowing my mind, I'm thinking to myself, does she not recognize us from earlier, we just gave them money. So I could not just let it go, and I said to her, ma'am...we just gave you all money about 2 hours ago and your husband said that you all had no vehicle. She just put her head down and said o.k., thank you and walked the other way. At this moment, I am just literally amazed. We got in our vehicle and I told my husband, lets just sit here a few minutes and see where she goes and what she does, so we did. We sat there for about 15 min, while the kids watched a DVD to keep them occupied. I didn't really want to have to explain in detail what we were doing and why, they are still young and probably wouldn't understand. As we now sit and watched this lady walk around the parking lot walking up to different people as they were going in and out of the store asking them for money. Some people looked to just be ignoring her, but some on the other hand, well many in fact, were reaching in their pockets and purses to give her money. About 15 or so minutes passed and we seen an older white van pulling up towards her, and she got in. They came up the next aisle in front of where we were parked and we could see that it was indeed the same man too. I just looked at my husband and said, "so they did have a vehicle". I guess they were just trying to get as much money as possible, any way possible. But to use kids in the scenario was very disturbing to say the least. I still didn't regret giving them the money though, because of the children involved. It is a fact I'm sure, that this family is definitely living in poverty but the reasons why are unknown. It makes me wonder, are the parents alcoholics or drug users? Do they have mental issues? Do they have little or no education and can't get jobs? Or....are they just scam artists that choose not to work? I will never know the answer to that question. All I can say is that is is a real fact of life. Very sad but true. There are many homeless people around the world and I am sure they all have very different stories of why their lives turned out that way. My heart goes out to anyone that has no choice in the matter due to upbringing in life, mental or physical abuse, mental illness, etc. but the ones that choose to live that way, because they are sorry and just want pity and handouts from everyone....well shame on them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh's painting entitled "The Starry Night" is a magnificent piece of art work that is known and loved by many different cultures. I have a great appreciation for Van Gogh, I think his artwork is incredible. Starry Night is by far my favorite. I started researching Van Gogh many years ago and the love just grew over the years and even more when I had to take an art class in college. Although Vincent Van Gogh actually only sold one painting before his death, he was still well known for his great work as an artist. "The Starry Night" was actually painted in September of 1888 while he was staying in Arles, it was then produced in mid September of 1889 following a heavy crisis that lasted for about 2 months. People may view this painting in many different ways and no one person knows exactly what was going through Van Gogh's mind when he painted it. My impression of "The Starry Night" painting is amazing. It is a beautiful and colorful piece of work. When I look at this painting, I see a portrait of a small town on a windy, maybe somewhat chilly moonlit night with many clouds in the sky, and wind blowing through the trees. The town looks peaceful and the one thing that stands out the most is the church and bright full moon lighting up the town. In my opinion, it is a beautiful piece of work and I admire it. It makes me feel peaceful and calm inside when I look at it. I see a small village and the weather seems cold and windy as if you can almost feel it blowing on your face. The stars are shining bright and the moon is beautiful with enough light to light up the entire village. When I look at it, I feel as if I can almost step into the painting, and feel the tranquility of the scenery. The painting portrays a magical night to me, or at least that's what I feel when I look at it. But after reading and doing so much research on Van Gogh and his life, and the struggles he endured with personality and psychiatric problems, I have come to think the painting was reflecting the way he was feeling inside himself. I feel like he was indeed a sad man of which he was trying to escape his emotions in his artwork. I feel this painting depleted his feelings by the whirling winds and the clouds in the sky. Maybe he felt as if his own life was a whirlwind and that there were many dark clouds hanging over him, that he was trapped in a village with no where to go. As I said before no one knows exactly what is meant by this painting, but the quote by Van Gogh "The diseases that we civilized people labor under most are melancholy and pessimism" are strong, so maybe he was somewhat melancholy and pessimistic himself, maybe he was just a sad man trying to escape the pressures of life, we will never know for sure but the one thing we do know and can appreciate is that he was a wonderful artist with a brilliant imagination. I will definitely from time to time write about other paintings of his. To me they are all awesome and each tell a different story to each. Take a look at it closely, and see what you see, everyone is different, so your opinion might not be the same as mine, but even so, this piece is amazing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"To Make a Difference, Feels Good"

Last night, I received a phone call about 9p.m. from the lady that owns the house next to mine. This was actually only the 2nd time I have ever spoke with her. Anyway her name is Mrs. Jenkins. She is a 62 year old widow who lives alone in Cobb County. The funny thing is I have never actually met Mrs. Jenkins in person and we have been living in our house for almost 7 years now. Her house has always been a rental home since we purchased ours. There have been numerous families in and out of the house, with the last renters living there approximately 1 1/2 years which was nice. Mrs Jenkins son always comes down after any renters move out and examines the house and then has workers come out and do any repairs such as repainting, etc.. Well the house has been vacant since a little after Halloween but still I have yet to meet Mrs. Jenkins. About 2 weeks ago, her son was down again to check on things and came over and introduced himself, and wanted to get mine and my husband's cell phone numbers just in case they needed something beings they are about 3 hours away. So I gave him the numbers and told him if we could help in any way, just to let me know. So the next day Mrs. Jenkins called me. We talked on the phone for nearly 2 hours. She inquired about the neighborhood, how we liked living here, about the job market, and also asked lots of questions about me and my family as well. She seemed like a very sweet person. I learned through our conversation that she herself is in real estate, and that is actually how she stumbled upon the house next to me 9 years ago. She said she bought it with intentions of moving in herself and relocating. But sadly, before she could move her mother got really sick and she had to stay put to take care of her. So in turn she has been renting it out all of these years which she said has been alot of stress. She told me her mother has now passed and she is having mixed emotions about moving in herself, she stated that she has some possible renter prospects but still wasn't quite sure what to do. By this time...I felt like I knew her pretty well and she was a really sweet and kind person. So....last night she calls me again, I wasn't sure what she wanted at first because she just started talking in general about the weather and things like that. Then she went in to tell me how much she had enjoyed talking with me previously and what a nice person I seemed to be. That made me feel really good inside. She said she wasn't really calling for any particular reason, but just wanted to let me know that she had made the decision to finally move in the house and relocate to Tifton. She said " I am going to be your new neighbor, finally". I told her that was good news and asked her what made her make that decision now? She kindly said..."Well you helped me make that decision dear, you played the biggest part in that". She went on to tell me how the kindness in my voice and our long conversation two weeks prior had helped her make that choice. She told me that she could tell I was a good person, and she would love to have me as a neighbor. So last night and today her words have impacted me as well and I feel really good about myself just from the things she said to me. To know that I made that much of a difference really make me feel good. I guess the moral of this story to me is....Making a difference in someone else's life feels good. I am very happy my words helped her make that longing decision that she has been pondering over for months now. I also feel as Mrs. Jenkins and I are off to a great start with one another and I can't wait to finally meet her in person next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Sometimes....Friendship Hurts"

I have recently learned in life that you cannot trust everyone. Friends will come and go, and people change. There are not that many people left in this world that one could call a real friend. I have recently went through a terrible ordeal with what I thought to be one of my "best friends". She and I were friends for about 2 years but had a wonderful connection. It was as if we could finish one another's sentences and we laughed no matter where we were or what we were doing. But here within the last two weeks, I have pretty much cut all ties with her. The biggest problem we had were lies. I myself, try to be, to the best of my ability an honest person and I feel that honesty truly is the best policy. But with my friend, that we will just call Sarah, she could not be honest with me. There were so many lies that ruined our relationship, nothing really big, just small lies over and over again. At the end, I felt as if our friendship was based on little lies and I could not trust her at all. heart aches for her. I can truly say that I feel as if I have lost my best friend because in all reality, I have. People can only take so much of the lies before they just get tired of it, and do not trust at all. That is exactly what happened between she and I. So now I wonder, how does one get past that aching feeling?? Will it linger forever? I hope not. It is hard to just completely let someone go. But I have gave her numerous chances to make our friendship work and I feel like I am the only one I am done. I guess what I want everyone to know and think about is this: Be honest with yourself and others. If you have a there for him/her at all times but most of all be honest with them. Don't tell lies, even if they are small. Small lies hurt in the end just as much as big ones. Friendship is a blessing.