Food Aid at a Baghdad Mosque or A Day in The Life of an Iraqi Housewife in gallery now

Food Aid at a Baghdad Mosque

acrylic on canvas painting

Thanks to all for so much great feedback.  I took some suggestions.  Yesterday I decided to take it out of the studio and hang it in the gallery.  It stopped me from continuing to work and work at it and feeling it would never be completed.  I can call it “done” and it is done, I guess.  I usually do that.  I still don’t know about this one but need to move on for now.  I will do a new painting immediately to get my head out of the “stuck place” I have been in.

I thought I should add what I said about the first post since it is several pages back. .

First post

Well, I have been working on this for a few weeks.  It changes drastically each time I dab at it.  I will share what I have so far with my fellow bolggers. It is inspired by a photo that appeared in a magazine called In These Times.   I could not find the name of the photographer.  The photo is very moving.  I wanted to see if I could translate it into paint and more mood than illustration. The full title, “Food Aid at a Baghdad Mosque or A Day in the Life Of an Iraqi Housewife” is a subject that has haunted me for this entire war.  What in the world would it be like to be a woman in that country, trying to raise a kid or two, keep house, feed your family, do your housework and shopping, provide your kids with a carefree childhood that every kid deserves?  I just can’t imagine. I was so into the rearing of my two.  I was a soccer mom, a PTA volunteer, a Den Mother, an Explorer leader, and I chauffeured them to everything they wanted to participate in. Every mom and dad must be as hopeful for their children. Now every report of a bombing of an Iraqi residency or search of an Iraqi home by our troops in the middle of the night, every bombing in a marketplace leaves me staring into space thinking about how I would have survived that kind of life when I was a young mother. I am not making a statement about any of the politics (though those who know me know I have some definite opinions about that) but rather, a statement about the human conditions of the “war”. While watching the Ken Burns documentary The War I have been horrified over and over….. especially at the plight of civilians. so I wanted to see if I could paint my emotion somehow. I am not sure I am achieving it, however.  But it was worth a try. I may still pull it off.  I am not finished with it.

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~ by Sandra Lynn Gray on October 16, 2007.

10 Responses to “Food Aid at a Baghdad Mosque or A Day in The Life of an Iraqi Housewife in gallery now”

  1. I really like this piece…I have returned to look at it several times. I love the composition, your colors, and the energy of your brush strokes. I think it belongs in the gallery!

  2. Wow. I love it. I have it up as the profile picture on the Buschovski website.

  3. Thank you Hoobeediha. I am pleased to be featured on you MySpace blog.

  4. Suz, you comment gives me a sense of accomplishment that I needed. Thanks. I wrote you an email too.

  5. If it helps any I’ll tell you what I really get (emotionally) from this painting. I think the photo (and this is just my impression) speaks of drugery, methodical movement, along side of sadness – but like most complex emotions the yellow seems to express some form of hope. (Not just the yellows but the leading ladies facial expression too and even the blues as well.) It does speak of what you talked of and still conveys to me a form of hope as well. I like this because it’s is complex just like we humans are… anyway that’s just my opinion. I think you did a beautiful job here.

  6. It is just great to get this kind of feedback. Thank you for taking the time. I would like to think there is hope too though I tended to feel a great sense of hopelessness when I first saw the photo and I then painted it. I should scan that photo and put it on the blog too. It is a great photo and I can’t find the name of the photographer in the magazine. Anyway, I was tring to create my feelings about it with the color and textrure. I am glad to hear that the color speaks to you no mattter what it says. I hope I live to see that country become a peaceful and productive place to live. After all, it was the “cradle of civilization”.

  7. This tells a story. I love the colors, they set the mood which is of despair and hopelessness.

    I remember when my children were growing up and I was a young mother, I used to dread Christmas because I was afraid there would not be enough money to give my children the things they wanted. I’d picture their little sad and disappointed faces and feel inadequate.

    How much more heartwrenching it would be to not be able to give your babies necessities.

  8. Exactly. It is the inability to see a bright future for you kids that I would find overwhelming and I would eventually become rather numbed and, as aullori stated, that sense of living a methodical existence woud take over. My kids made the whole world seem bright and new looking at it through their discovering eyes. How awful to miss that renewed sense of wonderment and joy at just being alive.

  9. This is a fine painting. It says so much, on so many layers. The contrast of the fine detail of the mother’s face with the less defined brush strokes draws my eye to the woman, and her expression holds my eye, makes me focus on her feelings, her place in life as a struggling, mourning woman (mourning for normalcy,) yet there is also the complexity of determination, perhaps to provide the very best she can for her family, even if it is a bowl of soup kitchen soup. Her eyes express sadness and concern, but not resignation, not despair. She is strong as are the primary colors of the painting. And the contrast of the blue clothing (current plight) balances with the yellow background ( a sense of purpose, and yes, perhaps hope for the future.) The painting makes a strong statement; it is not to be glanced at, but studied.
    And Sandra, thank you for the in-depth comment on my photo. It helps me see it, helps me know what works and what doesn’t. So much more helpful than ‘nice’ though I do like to hear that too, of course. My photos express emotion and a story to me, also, but I still think I am such a rank beginner, that people see them as only a ‘pretty picture.’ This expression of an emotional content I need to learn with experience.

  10. What a wonderful comment! Thank you, Barbara. It is great to get a good critique. The feedback from a viewer is worth just everything to an artist…as you have stated. I would love to use this as a quote in my portfolio and maybe even post it in the gallery beside the painting.

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