Friday, May 26, 2017

In Memoriam

What can I do today? That is basically the question I ask myself all the time. So, in art, today I am working on a portrait of a Native American WW2 hero Ira Hayes. I plan on eventually presenting the portrait to the Ira H. Hayes American Legion post #84 in Sacaton, AZ.
As a disabled American Veteran, I made the mistake of placing limits on myself a few years ago when I was finally diagnosed with my physical disabilities and PTSD. I finally feel like I am breaking through the limits...
Do you ever feel like JenniBellie is speaking right to you through the internet? I do. Especially lately. And lately I have created some amazing art as a result. Life has also pulled me in an interesting and unexpected direction this month. I thought I would never work again- that is, have what society deems 'a real job'. And while I am still not sure if that is true I just got very busy.

Back in January, I lost my dad. It was particularly hard on me because I have been his caretaker for the last several years. He was only 65. I was just beginning to move on when on April 15th my father in law passed quite unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm. He was only 62. The day before my father in law passed we had been discussing the idea of me  running for office in our club. I remember feeling how proud he was of me. 💙
A few months ago after my dad passed, I had set out to start an etsy shop but now, I don't feel like that is the direction I am supposed to go just yet.  This month, I was voted in as the first female senior vice commander of my American Legion post #35. While most American Legions are dingy little pubs- mine is not. My post is large enough to hold 2 weddings at the same time (one inside in the hall and one outside in the garden)and that doesn't even include the clubhouse where the bar is. Of the few hundred legionnaires at my post, only 3 were female- and one of them passed away back in February. With the American Legion, our primary objective is service to the community and other veterans. For the last few years one of the primary organizations our post has supported (monetarily) is a veterans service dog organization called Soldiers Best Friend. I also happen to have a very close connection to this organization. My service dog and I were certified through this org and graduated back in 2014 from Soldiers Best Friend. So this year, I have decided to make this our (excuse the pun, lol) pet project. Due to the size and location of our post I have set out to offer it as a part-time training facility to our dog and vet teams who live on the east side of Phoenix, Arizona. I have a meeting set up with the SBF trainer next week! In two weeks, she and I will be presenting this possibility to my posts executive board for approval.
Creatively, the past few months I have been going through the courses I purchased through JB & Art Bundle for Good. Amazing stuff. I have also been playing with my pastels this week. As Memorial Day in the US draws near I have been painting and drawing poppies non-stop. As I mentioned before, I am also working on a portrait of Ira Hayes. My hope is to be able to present it to it's namesake American Legion post on Monday. I have dont have a lot of experience painting an American Indians but have done it for my own posts namesake Mathew B Juan before and am working from a black and white photo so getting the skin tone right in watercolor has been a bit tricky. I have been working on a small test painting first to get it right. The rough portrait is still in progress.
Mathew B. Juan mixed-media portrait
When I did the portrait of Mathew B Juan I did it in pastel. I might go that route again, but am not sure yet because I haven't figured out how to get that army green color with the colors I have at hand. When I drew his picture back in 2014 I was a total novice with pastel and it was an even older very blurry photo from 1914, but I look forward to trying it again with Mr. Hayes. Update to follow.
Mathew B. Juan mixed-media portrait in progress.
Mathew B. Juan

Ira H. Hayes portrait in soft pastel.
Ira H. Hayes
I recently got a new "job". I am now the Sr. Vice commander at my local American Legion and am loving it.
Current Commander Jeff Varga, Trustee & Navy Chief Jerry Joaquin & I at our local Legion.

Past Commander Hank Reibold of the American Legion Post 35 and I

My Service dog & I at the vet. She's got a clean bill of health and ready to certify as a service dog for another 2 years!