I received an e-mail a week or two ago about a sketchbook project in Brooklyn. The aim is to get 5,000 artists to submit sketchbooks and the art show is made up of 5,000 individual and unique sketchbooks. Not one will be like the other. Just like fingerprints. Artistic vision and execution is a singular approach and not one other soul will execute the artistic process the same way.
I was asked to join this sketchbook art show. The opening is in June at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. My sketchbook must be completed and stamped by April 30th. I have yet to receive the sketchbook, but I have ideas floating around. I know what my central theme will be. It's a theme I carry with my everyday. It's a theme others need to learn about and understand. I am dedicating my art work to two artists in particular. Auguste Renoir and Edith Piaf. Renoir a visual painter master and Piaf the songbird of Paris. They both suffered from severe, and I mean severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. I always admired them before my diagnosis, but to know I share artistic vision and RA with two greats, well that gives me inspiration. I am looking forward to this cathartic process. Just like my blog is a verbal expression, my sketchbook will be a visual expression. Once I get started, I will update once in a while to let my readers (if I have any) how the process is going.
Please take a minute to see what Renoir's Rheumatism did to him at the end of his life. His RA did not take away his ability to paint. Instead, they created a device for his mangled RA eaten hands to hold a paintbrush and he continued some of his masterpieces.
Paintings by those great hands and mind...
Then the songbird, Edith Piaf
Here is a real clip of her singing
You can see how her Rheumatoid Arthritis severely mangled her hands, so much so they were just fists because they were so atrophied with disease.
Then, a couple years back, Marion Cotillard portrayed Edith Piaf and her struggles with the disease in the French movie, "La Vie En Rose". The movie showed how she was addicted to heavy duty narcotics just to deal with the pain and disability of Rheumatism (now aptly named Rheumatoid Arthritis). The movie was wonderful and moving. Marion won an Oscar for that role.
Here is the trailer of the movie: I might add that it chronicled her disease in a realistic fashion (even if they don't show that in the trailer).
The ending scene showing what the disease of RA did to a gifted woman.
I hope to make my sketchbook in the honor of these two greats.....well, something they would be proud of in modern times. Same disease, different era.
Here is my little box of sketching materials. Will it make an overall masterpiece? Only time will tell.
To look at the art project page, please go here.