Monday, November 4, 2013

The Final Countdown

Tonight I am to be set apart as a full time missionary and my quest to serve the Mexican people will begin.  Needless to say, I'm just a tinsy-winsy bit excited!  It also reminds me that I never finished my stories of Israel, something that I have been seriously lazy about and has now come to bite me in the keister.  So I have created a sparks note version of my adventures for your enjoyment.  

  1.  Fourth best field trip ever... (inside joke)

The week after Galilee we had a field trip that took us to Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea, and another place which name escapes me now.... but it had a waterfall!

We couldn't resist showing off a little skin
Qumran: "Qumran, Qumran, just a little older than your mom!" offense.  A harmless rap that one of our classmates came up with.  We know mothers are wonderful, but that's besides the point. In case you were curious, Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Visually, not the most incredible place.  Everything is tan and covered in dirt.  So while the history is great and significant, we didn't stay long.

Masada:  A facinating site filled with history.  Looking at what is left of the ruins, it's mind-boggleing to imagine how great the fortress was pre-destruction.  We divided up into small groups and set off on a scavenger hunt for knowledge, a.k.a. filling out a questionnaire with facts from signs.  It was fun to explore and according to legend, Micael Jackson himself once came to Masada.  To commemorate the moment, I put my beats by dre around my neck, pumped up the volume, and created portable speakers to blast every King of Pop song on my phone.

Don't worry, I wasn't disrespectful.  Sure, dancing to "P.Y.T." in ancient cisterns was fun but the history was far more interesting.

Dead Sea:  One of the coolest places in Israel!  Most definitely in my top five places to revisit.  But if you happen to be planing a trip let me advise you on a few precautions you should take.

1. Don't drink the water.  Don't even lick your lips after they get wet.  That water is 30% salt and no matter how salty you like your french fries you will NOT like how this tastes.  It's horrible and never leaves your mouth.  I had to chew on some mentos to finally get rid of it.

2. Don't get the water in your eyes.  If you do you will go blind... or that's what I'm told the experience feels like.  I took great care to stay away from any splashing so I don't know what it's like first hand.  But those less fortunate than me did not have pleasant things to say about it.

3. Don't jokingly splash anyone in the face.  No matter how nice of a person they are you will get yelled at and be put on their "to murder" list.  Seriously, it stings that bad.

4. DON'T have any open wounds.  Paper cuts, hangnails, it doesn't matter how small, the salt will sting like crazy!  Despite the rare opportunity to show off our legs, us girls stopped shaving about three days prior just to be careful.  I'm sure the guys did the same... in regards to their face, not legs.  Sadly I had acquired two gargantuan sized blisters on my feet the Saturday before from a long day of walking in the wrong shoes.  Even though several days had passed, scabs had yet to form and so the wounds were still fresh.  My clenched fists and locked jaw could not prevent squeaks of pain from escaping through my teeth as I stepped into the ancient sea.  But it wasn't as bad as I expected.  Sure, it stung like a thousand hornets at first, but it soon numbed and I joined my friends.  Each time I let my feet bob above the water and then submerge them again the hornets came back.  But it became the type of pain that felt good... or maybe I was slowly loosing my sanity.  Moral of the story, do everything you can to not have any open cuts, but if you do, relax.  As long as you don't have a cannon ball wound, I think you'll live.

Despite all the above, you'll still have a lovely trip.  Floating, without effort, in water is a surreal sensation.  We could have stayed there for hours and I would have still been amused.  Unfortunately we didn't have hours to spare so our swim was short in order to make time for mud baths.  Once we had taken satisfactory pictures of each other completely covered in black mud we washed off and headed to our last sight.  Two excellent waterfalls with disregarded "no swimming" signs.

   2.  Sunset Club

I've always loved sunsets.  What good natured human being doesn't?  They can transform the sky, clouds, buildings, trees, and peoples faces in the space of an hour, or just a few minutes.  One of God's daily gifts to us.  Each one is incredible no matter where you are, but I have a favorite place.  The 8th floor balcony of the BYU Jerusalem center.  The last few weeks of our stay saw the formation of the "Sunset Club."  Membership was open to all and meetings were not mandatory.  After dinner, whoever wanted to could make their way to the balcony and join in the fun.  It was always a sweet time in which we would reminisce over all that we had experienced together.  Swapping stories and feelings and sharing a mutual dread for what we all knew was close at hand... leaving.  Sometimes a few of the guys would carry up guitars and we'd sing/mumble along with whatever they played.  But the best part was watching the sunset.  Always.  The way those reddish hues were painted across the sky and fell upon the old, limestone buildings of Jerusalem created a timeless image that I sorely wish I could see again.  So beautiful and unmatched.

   3.  Palestinian Soccer

There was a couch randomly left in the middle of a
empty filed/playground.  Silly Israelis...
A circumstance that I will not soon forget and possibly the most awkward moment out of the entire semester.  Taking a break from studying from finals, a group of us went out to play soccer with some of the neighborhood kids.  I was looking forward to a fun, casual game of soccer and it looked like that was what I'd get.... until they picked teams.  It's not what you think, I wasn't traumatized by being picked last.  On the contrary, I was one of the first to be selected.  But as each team grew, so did my anxiety.  In the end we had three teams.  One all boys, including our Ben and Skylar.  Another with all of the BYU girls and a few girls from the neighborhood.  And last, but certainly most odd, my team which consisted of yours truly... and a bunch of Palestinian boys.

Me and my new best friend Bassam
How did this happen?  Beats me.  Had the team captain acquired knowledge of my impressive defense skills from my elementary days?  Not likely.  Was it my riveting beauty and charm?  Even less likely.  All I know is that one moment I was surrounded by familiar girl faces and the next they were replaced by strange boys with an unfortunate amount of acne.  But that shouldn't affect me, after all, back home I would wrestle with my brothers all the time.  And the acne thing?  Been there, done that.

The problem was that I had been brainwashed.  Flashback to the very beginning of the semester:

They separated us, girls from the boys, and lead us into different classrooms.  Unfamiliar with the girls surrounding me, I clung to my sketchbook, absorbing myself in the stylization of a school boy's tie in order to escape monotonous small talk.  The instructors began to talk, I continued to doodle, and after an hour we were all eating lunch.  Yet in that small space of an hour, all we had previously conceived about the confusing yet intriguing gender of man had been replaced with a new, more terrifying image.

A superb flashback was it not?  I should have been an english major.  Regardless, how about some background info on the background story?  In that little meeting us female students were informed on  safety precautions for living in Israel.  More specifically, how to avoid unwanted attention from the local men.  In doing so, they shared stories from previous semesters that, quite honestly, scared the bejeebers out of me.

Despite a few... creative cat calls, no harm came to any of us those four months in Israel.  Nonetheless, I was still didn't want to break culture protocol, which hindered my playing ability quite a bit.  Every time the ball came my way, so did all the boys causing me to pull back last minute in order to not run into them.  It was a big ol' mess of awkwardness and the other girls teased me relentlessly.  But we did have a good laugh and in-between games the guys filled me in on all the Palestinian political wrong doings... it was interesting.

Needless to say I wasn't MVP that day.  I'm glad I went though.  One more awkward story to add to my long and ever growing list.  I also got to meet Bassam, our team goalie.  Since the rest of our team did an excellent job of keeping the ball away from me and on the other end of the field, Bassam and I were left with plenty of time to chat and get to know each other.  He is fourteen and reminded me a lot of my brother Garrett, both in love with the sport soccer.  
They managed to capture a rare moment when I actually participated.

   4.  Talent Show

Previously in the semester we held a "Formal Talent Show" in which we were treated with violin, piano, guitar, and vocal performances by our fellow students, as wells as some poetry reading and Irish clogging.  So the rest of us goofballs didn't feel left out, another "Informal Talent Show" was held.  In other words, anyone in possession of little or no talent, but enjoyed making a fool of themselves was able to walk on stage for a little lime light.

There was dancing, rapping, singing, whistling, and even origami folding.   Being my... overly theatrical self I couldn't resist putting on an outfit and doing a jig of my own.  With the combined powers of my lovely roommate Amber and myself we created our own spin off of the song "Loathing" from the fabulous musical Wicked.  Our personalities as well as appearance (minus the green skin) fit perfectly with the characters of Elphaba and Glinda.  While our performance was far from Broadway worthy, it was a blast to do.


 5.  President Uchtdorf

Possibly one of the most amazing experiences of the semester.  We had a visit from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  He and his family were visiting the Holy Land and we managed to convince them to stay with us for a few days.  It became a not so uncommon thing to see them eating breakfast or lunch with us in the Oasis, or heading out for a day in the city.  Several times I or a group of us would run into him in the hallways and have a little conversation, then skip away squealing to ourselves "did that just happen?"

On two occasions he spoke to us formally.  Once in our District Conference and again in a program dedicated to the events of the Upper Room.  Both times were wonderful.  In District Conference our choir got to sing for him and, with some careful maneuvering, I managed to claim the seat right in front of the podium for myself.  So when President Uchtdorf stood up to speak I was just two feet away from him!  If he was a spitter, I would have felt it!  But he's not, unfortunately.  The second time he spoke I wasn't nearly that close to him, regardless, he, as usual, spoke very inspiring words filled with the spirit.   I would describe them further, but I'm afraid I don't have the time.  All in all, it was a surreal experience to have him in our presence.  Not something I will soon forget.

     6. Roommates

I realize that I rarely ever mentioned my roommates in my posts.  Let me fix that now because these girls were/are amazing.

Kirsten Anderson (far left):  ABBA's dancing queen in flesh and blood.  A film major and dancing minor.  She was also my "nook buddy" which means our bed were in the same corner of the room.  Many nights we'd stay up late talking about anything and everything. 

Paige Bartholomew (middle left):  Before Jerusalem she went on another study abroad in Vienna.  Also a dancer (but not majoring) and extremely down to earth.  Can get along with anyone and loves everyone.  

Amber Feigleson (far right):  Madam President of the Jerusalem class of Winter 2013 and Mother Hen to all.  She served her mission in Finland and does a mean Velociraptor impersonation.

In no way do these descriptions do justice.  There is simply no way that I can write out all of our adventures, talks, and feelings that we've shared.  We might not have been the most cuddly of roommates, but we loved each other and we all knew it.  We always had each other's back and a listening ear when needed.  They each give me tremendous support with my decision to serve a mission and were ecstatic when I first shared the news, but we all regret not having the opportunity to room together again.  Being the youngest in the group, by the time I go back to school they will all most likely have graduated or been married.  Hopefully by then I will have some old companions to house with...but still,  I will never forget theses three angels.  They helped make my semester great and I expect many reunions in the future.

     7. T-shirt Contest

Did I forget to mention I won a t-shirt contest?  Every semester the students submit designs for the semester t-shirt.  The competition was heavy this year since there were four art majors in attendance. There were two voting's.  The first to select the top three designs, the second, to pick the winner.  I don't mean to brag, but two out of the top three were my designs and after everyone voted again, I won!  You see the end result below.  The design incorporated the three significant buildings/places we went to that semester.  Turkey and the Blue Mosque,  Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock, and our beloved Jerusalem Center.  Home.

      8.  The Last Week

When I first learned that we would not be retracing the last week of the Savior's life during Holy Week I was extremely upset.  How could they not realize that it would have been the perfect way to enhance an already spiritual week and give us new meaning to the biblical stories?  It was still an amazing week and you can read about it here, but I thought it could be just a bit better.

As usual, I was wrong.  Not in the fact that it would have heightened the spirituality of the week, but as to when it would be the best time to reflect on the Savior's life.

By walking in the steps of the Savior's last week our last week, we remembered why we were there.  Why this place was so special.   At each site students could sign up to say a few words.  I was lucky enough to do so at one of my favorite spots, Dominus Flevit.  We ended our stay on a spiritual high, with a greater love for the land, people, gospel, atonement, Savior, and each other.  We ended our "journey" back at the Garden Tomb.  Ironic that that was also our very first field trip.  After hearing a few more words from teachers and students, time was given for a testimony meeting.  If ever there was a time the Spirit was so strong it was tangible, that was it.  How could they possibly send us home after that!?!  Again, there is much more I could say on the subject, but due to time, I must hold back.
Garden of Gethsemane
"Oh Jerusalem Jerusalem"

   10.  One more day

It didn't feel like our last day.  We set out like we did any other free day, but we made sure to stop by all our favorite places.  Hezekaia's  tunnel, Shabbon's shop, shawarma in the old city, pastries in the Jewish quarter, gelato in West Jerusalem, and Magnum bars at the 7/11... notice how everything involves food?

Even though the gelato is to die for, our main reason for the long trek to West J was to support our fellow JCrew members.  Lexi and Lizzy had taken their violins to the middle of the square, left their cases open, and were playing for shekels.  It was awesome!  They are really talented and it was super fun to watch.  When they finished they were able to buy everyone gelato with their earnings.  Score!

It was very strange when the day ended because it did not feel like goodbye.  It was hard to imagine that we wouldn't see each other the next day.  No one wanted to think about it so after we were all packed, we went outside for one last sunset club meeting.  Mother Nature didn't disappoint.  It was beautiful.  We shared hugs, emails, and swore to write each other on missions.  Eventually the time came to leave.  It was hard and I became shockingly less talkative.  No other time in my life will be like Jerusalem.  If I could, I would have stopped time with all of us there.  Sadly I lack that supernatural power.

This past summer National Geographic came out with the movie Jerusalem. When I first saw the trailer I could hardly hold in my excitement.  I haven't been able to see the actual movie, but whenever I start to miss Israel, I just watch the trailer to feel a little better.

I can't really think of any words to further describe my experience and love.  There are no words really.  Not unless you've been there.  Not unless you're in the JCrew.  We all have a mutual understanding.  So I guess that's it.  Time for my next adventure in Mexico.  If you're curious, check out my mission blog.

Jerusalem, if I forget you...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Galilee Part 2

Don't worry, I didn't forget to finish writing about my adventures in the Galilee... I just wanted to build up the suspense.

My Galilee roommates:
Kari, Aubriegh, and Sarah
On the Sabbath we attended church with the Tiberias Branch right on the Sea of Galilee.  It was their testimony meeting and it was great to be able to see all the different types of people brought together in that one tiny Branch.  Four different languages were spoken amongst these people and we were able to here the sacrament blessing given in Hebrew.  What must have been very similar to what the Savior spoke when He initiated it in the Upper Room.  Now that was pretty awesome.

   The perk about going to the Holy Land with a Biblical name is that you find it everywhere.  I tend to forget that I have an odd name which made it hard growing up.  You see, in elementary school all of the cool kids had pencils, backpacks, magnets even with their names on them.  And while Walmart always had a surplus of pencils with Emily, Elizabeth, and Emma on them, I could never find an Eden pencil!  Trust me, it's a devastating experience for a third grader to go through.  So I've learned to treasure the rare moments when I see my name on a street sign, or as the brand for some gardening product.  But in the Holy Land I couldn't escape it!  Everywhere I looked I found my name on signs, buildings, perfume bottles, etc.  I loved it!  My personal favorite was when we were on the bus leaving Assos in Turkey.  I looked out the window just in time to see "Eden's Disco" fly by.  How I wish we could have stopped the bus to take a picture!

Get it? ARMageddon.  ARM wrestling.

Sunday we visited Mt Tabor, Nain, and Megiddo.  Most believe that Megiddo is where Armageddon will happen.  An epic battle that signals the  end  of  the  world!!!!!! Just in case you were wondering, that battle already happened and yours truly participated and won!  For your convenience I have included a picture.

Since we all were excessively hot and sweaty from battle we made one last stop at Gan Ha-Shelosha and went for a swim in the natural spring.  It was a charming little hideaway with  soft grass, shady trees, singing birds, and tiny waterfalls.  The water was just the right temperature and everywhere you looked you could see all sorts of people, children, parents, teens, BYU students, and an alarming amount of extremely harry grandpas, lounging about.

My favorite part had to be the tiny fish that would come up and nibble our toes.  At one point, there were ten or more of us standing on the steps into the spring, trying to see who could last the longest with the fish munching on their feet and not flinch away.  And as we try to outlast each other, we are all laughing/screaming our heads off.  It is such a weird sensation, yet the sight of a bunch of 20+ year olds giggling (including the men) and crowded on the stairs probably beat it.  I learned a valuable lesson that afternoon: If I'm ever entered into a tickling fight against a tank of tiny fish, I'm putting my money on the fish.

That night, like the one before, we all gathered together to watch General Conference.  Due to the difference in time zones, the ten o'clock morning session was seven o'clock p.m. our time. The night before we were able to project the broadcast  in one of the basement rooms at Ein Gev.  However, the room was booked for another group Sunday night so someone suggested that we try projecting it on one of the buildings outside.  It took a lot of work to set up and the internet connection broke often, turning a two hour session into three, but if you were to ask anyone of the students there I guarantee that we would all say that it was possible the best session of General Conference we ever have or will experience.

What an amazing opportunity it was to sit along the sore of the Sea of Galilee, a place that the Savior Himself often taught His disciples, and be taught by modern Prophets and Apostles of the Lord.  Imagine our delight to hear Elder Anderson say, "Can you imagine the scene of the eleven Apostles on the mountain near Galilee see the risen Lord come to them...?"  Uh... YES!  We were actually there!  To think how long it must have been since disciples of Christ were taught gospel principles, by a Prophet of God, along those shores.  And I got to be there.  I got to participate in that Spirit, that moment, and let me tell you it was beautiful.  The sun set melted into the waters of the Galilee, creating a gorgeous backdrop along with the palm tress bending with the breeze.  A sweet and peaceful memory for all of us to share.

It was such a grand experience, even the Church news wrote about it.  If you'd like to read the short article click here.  It even showed up in the September edition of the Ensign.

To continue, Monday, April 8th, we traveled through upper Galilee: Hazor, Tel Dan, Banias, Nimrod's Castle, and Har Bental.  The morning began with rain clouds and shivering students, but as the day progressed the raincoats and sweatshirts were shed and we ran about taking pictures in every possible location in typical tourist manner.

Best. Class. Ever.
@ Tel Dan
Following Jerusalem Center regulations, each site we went to was interesting and on most occasions, spiritual.  However, my personal favorite of the day was Nimrod's Castle.  After unloading the busses our teachers set us free to run, jump, and cartwheel amongst the ruins for the next hour.  No lecture, historical background, or assignments to hold us back.  Just our cameras and curiosity.  I ran around like a three year old, climbing on anything I could with my phone blasting out classic rock.  Everything sounds better with background music.

One of the crumbling towers of the castle 
You can't see it, but it point's to Washington DC
on the other side.

By the Mediterranean with my
lovely roommate Kirsten.
Tuesday was dedicated to visiting western Galilee: Chorazin, Sepphoris, Akko crusader Fortress, and Old Akko.  I'm not going to go into much detail about these sights because they weren't necessarily places where events might have occurred, rather they helped us to gain historical/cultural background on biblical parables and the like.  Akko was simply a really cool old fortress along the Mediterranean sea.  P.S.  I really like the Mediterranean sea.

We ended the day with another bonfire.  The pig-skin was tossed, s'mores were made, and spooky stories shared.  Some of my favorite memories of my time spent in Israel are when all of the students were just chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool (pardon the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reference).  But in all reality, I love people, and I love getting to know them.  So I could never be happier then getting to spend time with amazing individuals like the ones I met in Israel.

Our last day in Galilee we drove along the Mediterranean, stopping at sites like Muhraqa, the Haifa Overlook, and most important for me, the Haifa Templer Cemetery.

I had been looking forward to going to Haifa ever since a year ago when I received my acceptance letter into the Jerusalem program.  Now why, when given the opportunity to walk through Jerusalem, ride a camel in Jordan, and swim in the Dead Sea, would I be most excited to visit a tiny little cemetery?  I'll tell you.  There is a man by the name of John Alexander Clark buried there, and I'm related to him.  He's actually my great-great-great half uncle... through polygamy.  Sounds like the character backgrounds for a Soap Opera right?

John A. Clark was teaching school in Minersville, Utah, when he received a mission call to serve in Turkey for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He first travelled to Liverpool, England and then on to Beirut, Syria, where he studied the Arabic language.  He then served in Haifa where he worked mostly with a group of German settlors who had emigrated from Germany.  He subsequently contracted small pox, which was epidemic at the time, and died Feb. 8th 1896.  He was, as mentioned before, buried in the Haifa cemetery.

I will admit that throughout my stay at Jerusalem I didn't feel much of an emotional connection whenever thinking about our up and coming visit to the cemetery.  I was excited for it nonetheless.  Don't forget that I had been looking forward to that trip for over six months.  I was excited for the pictures that would be taken, for the momentous occasion of a family member visiting John's grave (considering it's distance from home I assume it's not a common occurrence), and the ability to say that one of my relatives helped enable the building of the Jerusalem Center.  But no, there was no emotional connection for me.  After all I had, of course, never met him.  It was a very distant relationship through polygamy nonetheless.  I felt justified.

As we entered the cemetery I appeared very calm, but my insides were as anxious as a beehive.  There were other LDS graves to visit first, but to be honest, I didn't pay much attention to what was said about them.  Despite all that, I was grateful Elder Clark was saved for last.

Knowing my connection to John Clark, Brother Judd (my Old Testament teacher) had me speak to the rest of our group concerning his background story.  I was shocked to find my sight blurred with tears as I shared what little information I knew of my distant relative.  Despite my original emotions in regards to Elder Clark at that moment, to my immense surprise, I felt as though we were the same person.

It didn't help that Brother Judd then pulled out a letter from Elder Clark to his sister, an item that I didn't even know existed, and asked me to read it to the class.  It was a simple letter, nothing earth shattering enclosed, just a brother wishing a sister well at school.  She was attending Brigham Young University, a school that he had desired to go to but gave up in order to serve his mission.

Only a week or so before this moment had I come to the decision to serve a mission myself.  A decision that I had struggled immensely over.  While the words Elder Clark wrote to his sister concerning mission work could probably be found in any letter from a missionary, his pierced me.  He was family, and he gave up all, even his life, to serve a mission.  To stand at his grave and ponder my own resolution to serve... words cannot express.  And while many other thoughts ran through my brain, the significance of that precious slice of time I will never forget.  Haifa did not disappoint.

Caesarea was the perfect way to end the day.  After a short history lesson we were free to roam the ruins.  A few of us had our own race in the ancient Hippodrome which was followed by the Crippled Run.  We had two members of our class with broken/sprained ankles who "rode" on the backs of others... soon everyone wanted to race piggy-back style, creating the Crippled Run.  Afterwards, I and my lovely friend Susana moseyed about, discussing life, exploring the decaying structures, and taking glamor shots of each other. 

Add a bathroom break, ten minute stop at the Roman Aqueducts, a few hours drive back to the Jerusalem center, and that makes the end to a wonderful day and our stay at Galilee.

The Roman Aqueduct
Myself, Susana, Ashley, and the smoldering Spencer.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Holy Land Watercolors

As I prepared for my semester abroad in Israel I went to my Illustration professors for advice as to how to keep up my artistic practice while away.  I didn't have much extra space in my luggage so bringing canvas and an easel was out of the question.  After congratulating me on the incredible opportunity I had and sharing stories about friends who have gone in the past, they directed me to some excellent websites and fellow artist blogs from which I gathered enough information to put together an artistic travel kit of my own.

The goal was simple, keep a sketchbook like I do every year, but also, take this rare opportunity to paint scenes and images on site at places that I will very likely never get to go to again.  Before this past semester, I had only painted with watercolor once and I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at it.  With each painting I have no idea what I am doing and, therefore, have to experiment until something looks alright.  My paintings are nowhere near professional looking, but I am able to look at them and remember the moment I made them.  Where I was, what I was doing, who I was with.  Yes, you can do the same thing with a picture, but there is something different about being able to say that, "I painted that sitting on the shore of the Sea of Galilee."  It is my personal take of what I saw and what I found important enough to put on paper.  My journey, not only through Israel, but through art.

The beloved Jerusalem Center

En Gev's view of the Sea of Galilee

The Garden Tomb
Now I must apologize for not finishing my Jerusalem posts sooner.  Once I arrived in Michigan I gave myself quite the list of projects to complete, sadly, finishing my blog was not near the top.  After filling out my mission papers, art was my highest priority.  I wanted to challenge myself further by painting more detailed images then the quick on-site paintings I did while in Jerusalem.  Not needing to worry about homework or class readings certainly gave me the clear schedule and mind that I needed.

It's a funny process that I go through each time I start a new art project.  When first beginning, I look at what I'm trying to recreate, visualize what I think the end product will look like, and think to myself, "Oh yeah, I can do that easy."  Then as I get further and further into it I become more discouraged.  I take frequent breaks, stomping away in frustration because I just can't figure out what to do to make it right and I can't look at it anymore.  I'll stare at it incomplete, telling myself how inadequate of an artist I am and that I will never be able to make it look the way it should.  But then I do finish it and I can't believe it.  Every time I look at it I have to remind myself that I was the one who made it.

Do you ever forget that you have talent?  You are used to using it all the time and it comes so naturally to you that it doesn't feel special at all, just  average?  That's how I feel with art.  It's no big deal to me.  I just do it.  When people tell me how amazing it is that I'm an illustration major I can only respond with a, "Yeah... it's fun."  But there are rare moments, usually just after I've finished a project, when I step back, and take in my work.  Only then does it dawn on me that I am pretty amazing at drawing.  Actually, the thought is more like, "Holly Fetch I'm GOOD!"

Jerusalem from Mt. Scopis
Church of St. Mary Magdalene and Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Don't worry, more on my adventures in the Galilee to come.  I promise!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cartoons and FHE

Well here they are, some of my final sketches from while I was in Jerusalem.  Even though I didn't have any art classes this semester, I feel as though keeping this sketchbook has really helped me grow.  I wanted to challenge myself in the stylization of my characters,  giving them more emotion, movement, and stories of their own.  Looking back and comparing last semester to my previous sketchbooks, I am very surprised and impressed by the improvement.

This past semester my calling was to be an FHE mom.  I had the best "family" to work with.  One night, they convinced me to draw each of them, originally to make t-shirts but that plan fell through.  We then came up with titles for each member and what their role was in the family.  I think we were pretty accurate in the descriptions.  Please say hello to my little family.  I love them all dearly.

Skylar: The Absent Father
Eden: Mother Hen
Paige: The Prodigy
Meg: Punk Teen
Katie: The Forgotten Child
Jacob: Golden Child
Anne: A Classy Grandma
Aubreigh: The Kookie Aunt
Sarah: Flower Child
Jenessa: The Pet Bunny