Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You've Got to Have a Dream

   "Dreams are like the paints of a great artist. Your dreams are your paints, the world is your canvas. Believing is the brush that converts your dreams into a masterpiece of reality."
Anonymous

 
My canvas started with a collage of book paper, marks with warm colors and then cool colors, a sketch of a woman in flight, and the words "dream" and "believe," which I'd made out of polymer clay.  My thoughts traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, where we sponsor three families and are the liaisons between two schools in New Jersey and two schools outside of Antigua that are trying to educate the poorest of the poor.  (Here's a prior post about our connections there.)


When I do assembly presentations in New Jersey about children in Guatemala, I ask kids to think about what it would be like to grow up and never dream about the future; to grow up with only one dream -- survival.


First, I ask all the kids to stand up.  Education in Guatemala is only free through grade 6.  So I have 1/2 of them sit down to represent kids who don't go middle and high school because they can't afford the tuition.  Then I explain that children in primary school still have to pay for their own uniforms, transportation, school supplies, pencils, books, paper, erasers, etc.  This costs on average $25 a month per child -- well beyond the means of most poor families in a country where the average annual income of an indigenous worker is $1600 a year.  Only 30% of the children who begin primary school in Guatemala actually continue through grade 6.  So I ask 2/3 of the children who are still standing sit down.  Finally, I tell them that many poor families need the sons to go to work in the coffee plantations with the fathers (to augment the $2 a day that the father makes), and the girls to stay home with the mothers and watch the younger children.  So I have 1/2 of the remaining children sit down.


Now there are only a few kids standing.  Only a handful of kids in the poor communities can dream of doing anything except having babies, cooking over a fire, and washing clothes by hand if they are girls, or picking coffee beans or doing unskilled labor if they are boys.  Unlike American children, the children we see in Guatemala don't dream of becoming teachers or doctors or lawyers.  Dreams are luxuries.


In the musical South Pacific, the character Bloody Mary sings a song called "Happy Talk."  The lyrics are:  "You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true." 

On Tuesday, we are going back to Guatemala for the week, to see our families and the beautiful children in the two schools, and try to do just a little bit to help these children dare to dream, and believe that their dreams can come true.


The process:  I mixed mica powder and glass bead gel to make a textured paste to scrape through my border's stencil to create the metallic texture on the right and left of the canvas.  The words and heart are made with polymer clay, thanks to Judy Shea's amazing Buttons n'Bellishments class.  Her curls are made with twine, and embellished with fluid acrylic Iridescent Gold paint.

Linking to challenges at Paper Issues (twine),  Simon Says Stamp & Show (metallic); Frilly & Funkie (layers and words). 

She is also my face # 16.  Here are faces 17 -21!


Thank you for visiting! I read and treasure every comment and will answer any questions as quickly as I can.

See you at Paint Party Friday and Art Journal Every Day!

40 comments:

  1. What a stunning piece, Jessica. Totally beautiful. As is your generous volunteer work!

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    1. Thank you Marjie - it really is more of a gift to us than it is to them. It really makes us energized and feel like our lives have a higher purpose! After all, how often do we get to feel like we're angels?

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  2. Look at all that yummy texture, I just want to dive in and hang out! Please keep us posted on what's happening in Guatemala and send hugs all around. Take lots of pics. xox

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  3. Fantastic canvas - so much gorgeous texture! Thanks for the info about Guatemala too! Good Luck with your trip! Chrisx

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  4. what a beautiful piece you have created! i enjoyed seeing just pieces of it until the end of your post - such suspense. :-) i hope you have a wonderful, productive trip.

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  5. Really Gorgeous Jessica! WOW!

    xxx Susi

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  6. What a wonderful post Jessica! I love the visual way you explain to the American children what it's like to be a child in Guatemala. Your faces are beautiful, all of them. I hope your trip will be great!

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    1. thanks Denise! I look forward to sharing all about it. I find that doing this with the American kids is the only way they kind of get it!

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  7. Beautiful canvas and post! Gorgeous colours and textures on the canvas. I hope you will have a good trip. Thank you for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

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  8. What a beautiful and giving soul you are Jessica-not to mention your artistic talents. Your canvas is a wonder to look at -such visual eye candy with wonderful spirit! Have a wonderful trip-safe travels.

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  9. I totaly adore the way you bring texture into your paintings, marvelous!

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  10. Beautiful canvas Jessica. Love how you have poured your heart and soul into this. Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Hugs, Jenny x

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  11. Hey there Jessica, my goodness what a fabulous piece of art you have right here, love all the bright colours and the image is fabulous loving the heart you placed as a necklace, thank you for sharing with the DT from Frilly and Funkie, hugs terry xxxx

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  12. Awesome, Jessica!

    So much to discover and such a burst of energy coming from these vibrant colours!

    die amelie x

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  13. Your words are as powerful as your art- what an impact you have! Once again, there is a part of your spirit in the art (and your amazing words too)!

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  14. She is so lovely, what bright happy colors, gorgeous piece!

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  15. How deeply sad that there are children with no dreams. I believe there are children like that right here in the US, too. Kids with no hope to get out of there present situations, no expectations for the future. It breaks my heart.

    There is nothing sad about your vibrant lady soaring through the clouds, though! Love the textures you got with the different media.

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  16. Love all the texture. Fantastic piece. Thank you.:)... and yes all 29 faces are complete.::whew!:::)

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  17. That's a powerful way of sharing the message to the children. I bet they hadn't thought about it that way before.

    Love your piece - especially all that texture.

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  18. you are an inspiration, Jessica. I love how you explain it to American children in a way they can really visualise and comprehend. It is incredible to think that all the things we take for granted in the west are possibly only pipe dreams for these Guatemalan children.
    Your art is stunning - I love the colours and the textures in this piece. I hope you have an amazing time back in Guatemala next week - they are very lucky to have someone like you.

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  19. Beautiful texture and color palette! HPPF!

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  20. You are an inspiration Jessica with your works abroad. I love all the texture in the first piece and love all your ladies. Happy PPF, Annette xx

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  21. You create lovely texture in your work!

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  22. look for this gorgeous canvas to be featured tomorrow morning on the Paper Issues blog! Thanks for linking us up!

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  23. An amazing and touching post. A beautiful piece of mixed media art. Be safe on your trip. HPPF

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  24. that is a wonderful post and a great way to make the students aware of the lives of others... sure it has quite an impact on them... and your page is lovely and represents your words so well...xx

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  25. Stunning piece with wonderful color and texture...love it!! Your teaching skills are to be commended! No matter how bad things get I am always reminded how much worse it could be!!
    Wonderful heartfelt post!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Hugs Giggles

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  26. Wonderful post, Jessica. It was a real learning experience. Your painting, as always , is gorgeous.

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  27. So love your textures and colours, an inspiring piece and post.

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  28. Love your colors and textures and everything about this post! <3 And your pretty faces! :)

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  29. Your work is wonderful, your colors lovely. What you do for others beyond compare. Chickens to change someones life. Amazing.I am fulfilling my dream of having them. thanks for your comment on my post.

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  30. I love your art as always...but what I love even more is the thoughtful and the kindhearted soul that you are :) God bless !

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  31. YEP! You did it again - another awesome work! And, another one pinned ;)

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  32. Jessica, your work in Guatemala is WONDERFUL!!!! It must feel good to be giving in this way, a real mitzvah ! I applaud you and all the others like you who do this work!

    Your way of showing your students the Guatamalai children's reality so clever.

    And last but certainly not least your art work is stupendous too!!

    Safe travels!

    Koll ha kavod!

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  33. Your art piece is glorious, Jessica. The colors and texture are fabulous but best of all is the message you have shared in your post. Kudos to you for the work you are doing. As I read your post about the assemblies you do and how you get the message across to the children, it made me think of all the work I used to do for Catholic Relief Services when I lived in Miami. I used to do a Hunger Banquet with the middle school kids where child was given a country when they came in and they were fed based on what the conditions were in the country they drew. A few kids sat at tables with linen table clothes, china, flowers and got unlimited amounts of food but most of them sat on the cold floor and got a paper plate with a couple of 2" squares of pizza and then we had a discussion about the unequal distribution of goods and services. My family also sponsors a child through the Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging.

    I hope you have a great trip and it's always wonderful to have you joining in at Frilly and Funkie!

    Hugs,
    Linda

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  34. I love your bold use of color, Jessica. Blessings!

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  35. Beautiful and bright colors. I hope your trip is wonderful and your dreams come true :o)
    I want to thank you for being part of the 29 faces challenge!

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  36. beautiful colors Jessica, only met by the beauty of your story. Hon, are you Jewish too? And where (links) will I find your Judaica? i'd love to see it! The freedom in this piece of art is so apparent. I love the BELIEVE....it feels in anything! {heart} samara

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