Friday, February 17, 2017

I've Always Got Your Bag on Illustration Friday

     Yay! It's Friday, Illustration Friday, and Love is in the air... Well, actually the smell of coffee is in the air as I type this.  It's the end to a long week for myself, and many.  It's also the end of the Valentine's Holiday as it was earlier this week.  I was inspired by this week's topic, TEA, to create something that was holiday related, but also something that reflected my true thoughts on what Love really is.

     I can't help but get a little sick in my stomach over the over-commercialized elements of this holiday: Bunches of flowers, chocolate, expensive dinners, hideous over-sized stuffed animals, cards that attempt to squeeze the strongest and most powerful of human emotions into a few quaint sentences, etc.  I don't  necessarily hate these sort of things, but I can't help but see through what they really are. They are a surface, a superficial band-aide of sorts and I don't think that they can convey enough meaning to communicate the emotion they exist to represent.  It's essentially just the Halloween of Love.  I try to do something unconventional and fun. For example, this year, B and I did a Hot Glass work shop. We both made Glass Hearts out of molten hot glass.  It was a very cool experience.  We also had a nice dinner with, M, B's daughter.  So, I do participate in the frivolity of the Holiday also.  I'm not above it.  It's just not what my mind gravitates towards during this time of year.

     As Valentine's Day approaches each year, I find myself watching all of my favorite Romantic films and the one's that resonate with me the most are the films that portray Love in a realistic less superficial or surface way.
Don't get me wrong, I still watch the fluffy, romanticized, over the top stuff also.  Some of my favorites in that category include Only You, The Proposal, Moonstruck, Amelie and Who's That Girl.  These movies are nice and fun to watch, but they are ultimately unrealistic, because human relationships don't work that way, not really.  I'm glad they don't.
They over-simplify a range of emotional depth to a shallow kiddie-pool.   Years and years and years ago, these films might have portrayed something more real to me.  I used to believe that there really was maybe one or two people out there you could connect with, or maybe I was just in love with the idea of that.  Predestination and Soul Mates are very attractive concepts with a heavy gravity.  I can see why many people get pulled in by it, including myself.  However, as I get older, I realize that you could form a connection with many people; not just anybody, but there is more than just one other possible pea that could fit the same pod.  The difference is the what and the how you make of the choices you encounter.

     The films that I really connect with are the ones that follow more along the lines of what I have come to know that Love really is. I find myself thinking about that around this holiday also.  in my humble opinion, I believe that Love is just work, alot of work and effort.  It makes more sense this way.  After all, anything that is worth anything takes alot of handwork to achieve.  I think you appreciate the things your strive for more so than the things that come easy, it's just human nature.  The best example in a film that I could give is in When Harry Met Sally.  It's the most romantic film ever made, in my opinion.  The reason I say this is that the 2 protagonists are also each other's antagonist and they have a connection but it takes effort and work on their part to make it work. Even all the intermissions between the scenes of the film, you get to hear the stories of real couples and how they came together and stayed together.  It's the journey that makes the difference for them and its the core of what means something more than just the surface trivialities that are celebrated by the Valentine's Holiday.

     I know that I can personally relate to the characters in When Harry Met Sally, because I see that in my own relationship with B.  We have had our struggles and troubled times, but we also have some amazing times and it's the balance of those moments in our lives that create the "real stuff" that we call love and that gets portrayed in films and edited down to a few sentences on Valentine's Day Cards.

     So it was important for me to extend that sentiment into this week's illustration.  True love is not your soul mate, it's your running mate; the one who is going to stick by and the one you will stick by through all of it. Some one who has your bag (back) and you have theirs.  It's a choice you make and an effort you are happy to labor for.  When those old wrinkly couples, real couples, in WHMS talk about being together and going through all their ups and downs and they are sitting side by side on that couch and telling their story to the camera, it touches me more than any romanticized perpetuation of Falling in Love could ever do.  I admit that I tear up when I watch those interviews.  I can't help it. I'm truly touched.

     To sum things up this week, in the wake of the Valentine's Day festivities,  I find myself thinking more about the Finish Line than the Starting Line.  I want to be one of those two old people sitting on that couch, finishing each other's sentences, remembering details my other forgot or they remembering details that I forgot because those things happened so so long ago for the two of us.  Just two wrinkled old men, telling our story. That's what I think about on Valentine's Day, being old, very old and still sitting next to the same person that I have shared a lifetime of memories with.

     SO, however, you spent the holiday this week, take some time this weekend to love those around you,  whether it's a significant other, your family, your children or even your pets. Show them that you have their bag (back.) The Beatles say it best when they say,"All you need is love."

Until next time, friends,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, 
keep making art.

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