Friday, September 7, 2018

Elias' Art: Getting ready for his big exhibit

Art is something you breathe with a different kind of happiness.  --Anni Albers


The incredible Anny Ku from Kaohsiung, Taiwan who has lovingly, patiently taught Elias and me so much about art the past two years. She is a very gifted artist who paints scenes from all over the world, but mostly about Qatar where she has lived for 13 years. Anny Ku Artworks

Sometimes I wonder now what my life would be like if autism had not come on my path. But perhaps, the most important questions are, "Who are the people I would never have met?" So many mentors have almost magically appeared. Elias's first art teacher, Gabriel Deerman, saw more than a 12-year-old boy with autism in 2014 when Elias entered his class. Instead, he saw a boy who desperately wanted to create and connect. Perhaps, also, he saw a new expat mom who needed some sore assistance too. Blog about Creative Connections Since that time, art has gathered friends and brought purpose to a young boy (and a mom) over some difficult bridges. As I have said before, autism and adolescence are not an easy mix. The past four years have been more tranquil and joyful than, I believe, they otherwise would have been without creating art together.

Art has increased his self-confidence, purpose, and curiosity. Elias is willing to try any medium, any project. This summer he took up wood carving--with some kind mentorship.  He is always pushing to the next horizon with me panting, trailing behind. Ha! If I am honest, and I try to be, I know he has brought me, with his art, to other places and people I would have never seen. I know better now how to wait for the unfolding process of not only art but of life itself. I am more patient with the improvision--not expecting immediate results.

Indeed, there is a power and enfolding when we do art. We see again as children, in the splendor of all colors and textures. We again believe, if we ever forgot, that anything is possible. Every time we do a project, we create something new that has never been known before. We are reborn again and again--feeling the exhilaration and renewal of creating. We talk, answer questions to each other. Life and the world makes more sense.

Elias's art has reminded me that yes, he, as a kid with autism, has boundless possibilities. 

Doing work with Adell, curator of exhibits at the Fire Station in Gallery, who is helping Elias have an exhibit. If you live in Doha, you have to go to this place Adell has asked Elias to have his own exhibit this year so we are busily preparing and painting. Initially, I thought it would be too much for him to do an exhibit by himself--maybe share the spotlight? But Adell insisted that he wanted Elias to do a solo exhibit.
Here are are some older paintings from a few years ago. But just a sneak peek of a few that will be in his exhibit. We have a busy year ahead, for sure! 

First exhibit in May 2015 here in Doha at the Malthaf Museum. Encouragement of his first art teacher, Gabriel Deerman

He Lon Bay, Vietnam Painting a place we visited for Christmas three years ago with Seurat style dot painting. Questions as you paint, "Do you remember how big the mountains were? Do you remember the light shining in the ocean in the morning? Do you remember the caves in the mountains?

Qatar desert. Painting with texture and sand 

Qatar desert Questions: Tell me why you like living in Qatar. Let's learn about the animals that live there. What would it be like to journey in the desert long ago? 

Tossing Waves Questions: What does it look like under the water? Let's go and see some pictures. What colors and light are under the water? How is global warming affecting the ocean?


Beach Swirls--painting about 50 different small pictures turn into a mosaic. Lots of small pictures make the whole. Elias and I talk a lot when we paint--telling stories and asking questions. With the conversation and the image in front of him, he begins to understand and see the world in a deeper, more detailed way. For example, asking "Do people have a lot of parts in them? Do you have a lot of pieces and parts in you?"

Idaho/Utah Fall Aspen Trees
Asking questions like, "Did you know that the aspen trees feed and give nourishment to each other under the ground? They help each other to stand. Elias and I never tire of painting aspen trees, the trees that flutter in the wind.

A Raven--With Printmaking, done with his first teacher, Gabriel Deerman
Printmaking is always spontaneous. You watch and discover what appears on the page. A lot like life. We talk about that too.

Painting a commissioned painting for a friend in Utah

Keith Merkely with Elias in our "home" gallery."

Some fun ways Annie taught Elias how to mix various techniques

"Teton Spring"--A commissioned painting that now hangs in Utah
"All the Fruit to hold"