Monday, November 21, 2011

The Dragon Year and Artist Joanne May

This is a bit of a long post, but sometimes you just have to tell the story. :)

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I have a deep passion for handmade things and art with meaning. These pieces just don't "decorate" my home, they "make" my home. Things made by some faceless person on an assembly line in China, I can sell in a yard sale in two seconds flat, while things created by the hands of my friends I can never bare to part with. They are my treasures.

The story behind the art...

Back in January, just for fun, I had my Chinese Astrology Chart done by Narrye Caldwell. I've always been intrigued by the magic of it all and wondered what the stars had to say about me. Well little did I know how much of an impact and how much I would learn about myself from this experience. It wasn't some horoscope reading in the newspaper, it was truly fascinating and incredibly eye opening!

Some of what I learned is that I was born in the year of the monkey. I learned that I am most compatible with rats. Guess what David is? Yep, a rat. Explains why we have been happily married for 20 years. The person I hold most dear and I'm closest to in my family is my sister. She too is a rat. I also learned that I'm very compatible with dragons and that monkey's and rat's together thrive in dragon years. As Narrye said, "They are very auspicious years and filled with good things."

I decided to go back and begin looking at past dragon years and was surprised by what I found. In 1988, I got my associates degree. I grew up very poor and my childhood was terrible. I worked very hard and put myself through college. Even though it's only a 2 year degree, I was very proud as I'm the only one in my family that went to college. Then 2 weeks after I graduated, I got a job as a payroll clerk where a dear lady named, Margaret Schnell, became my mentor and helped to shape my future. I learned more from her than I ever had in school or home. I also moved into my first apartment and.... I met David. It was love at first site. Yes, a thriving year indeed. A dragon year.

Next, the year 2000. I was working at a horrible and stressful State government job. I'm just not cut out to work in a place where everyone gets paid the same whether they do their job or not and where hard work and good ideas are never rewarded. I was miserable and felt trapped. Out of the blue came a job opportunity. I was hired on the spot and became a project manager for a custom home builder (where I worked until I was laid off last April). I finally had some freedom and was rewarded for my ideas and hard work. Then, David and I purchased the land where our home now stands. We always talked about building our dream home one day and now we had the dirt on which to place it. We didn't know how we would afford it, but somehow we did it. Then in November, my first niece, Laura Michelle, (yes named after me) was born. It was love at first sight with her as well. My little dragon.  :)

So now here comes 2012 knocking at my door. Another dragon year. Narrye told me that it is indeed going to be a good year. Into my head popped an image of a dragon with a monkey and a rat. The next thing to pop in my head was my friend and artist, Jo May. Jo's style of art was the perfect match for the image in my head. I have several pieces of jewelry from her that I simply adore and now I wanted to own an original painting from her.

I contacted Jo about making this piece for me. I simply told her I wanted a dragon a monkey and a rat. I explained a little about me being a monkey, David and rat and the whole significance of the dragon.  I didn't give her anymore details than that as I wanted the painting to flow from her imagination. If I were to state colors, style, etc., then it would be from my imagination and in my opinion that takes away from the artist. I wanted art from Jo, not me and I trusted fully that she could do it. I wanted her to have creative freedom. She was a little nervous about painting a dragon and a monkey as she had never really done so, but I knew she could do it and I believed in her talent.

Jo started working on the piece in March. I told her I wanted it by this January. She would send me little sketch updates etc. and ask me my opinion. Each time I would simply say, "Go with your gut. I trust you."  Well last month my painting arrived from England. I went to the post office to pick it up and then sat in my car and opened it. I was brought to tears. Thank goodness she had plastic on it to protect it! Jo placed gold rings around the necks of the monkey and the rat celebrate our happy years of marriage. How cool!

This is the beautiful piece that Jo painted for me. It's called, "Follow your Star in the Year of the Dragon." It couldn't be a more perfect title.

Thank you so very much dear Jo for making the imagine in my head more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. I knew you could do it!  :)

xx, Michelle


MelMel said...

I've always had a soft spot for dragon pictures, your friend is very talented...lovely picture!x

Sherri said...

What a lovely story and what a lovely picture!! Your friend in England has alot of talent! I love the rich colors she used! ENJOY it!!

Jade said...

Great things almost always have great stories behind them. So do great people. :)

Jules said...

Thank you for sharing that lovely and very personal story. You really have done brilliantly.

Jo has really captured a wonderful vision of the dragon, monkey and rat. Perfect person for the job!

PS(I am a rat!)xxx

Lisa said...

Oh, Shell, what a wonderful story and what a fantastic picture! Thank you so much for sharing! We can't wait to hear bout all the great things that come to you in the year of the dragon!

Sheila said...

Absolutely fascinating, loved reading every line of your story as astrology has always been something I had an interest in and the painting your friend did for you is wonderful ,she has a great deal of talent and from what you told us she conveyed the image in your mind perfectly . Thanks so much for sharing and I hope this year is a wonderful year for you ./
hugs Sheila

Christina said...

The is just a fantastic painting Shell. I love it and thank you for sharing that story. I am with you, something homemade/handmade is always better.

I am the dog.

joanne May said...

Dear Shell,
Thank you so much for featuring my work here. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the lovely kind words from you and your blog friends. I have been smiling all day today! ;-)
This is a great post and a wonderful read, I enjoyed reading about your good luck during the years of the Dragon and about Chinese astrology!
Also, like you I had a sad childhood and believe you have to make your own good fortune in the world with a positive attitude!

I wish you and David much happiness and luck next year.

Love and always follow your star!

Jo, xx
P.S. I am a Fire Goat or a Sheep. We are not very dynamic creatures! ;-D

Jeanette said...

Lovely story Shell. Love the picture. I'm partial to dragons being born in the year of the dragon. Hugs,

CHRIS said...

Great story Shell I love your painting what a treasure. We love dragons around here and guess what I'm a monkey too !

DebbieM said...

I was born in the year of the Monkey as well, but I don't know if my Hubby is a rat or not? Where do you go to find out? It was love at first sight for us too! Go figure, he must be a rat? :)

Connie said...

Beautiful artwork! Your story is so neat and your chart sounds wonderful and it shows that your life is really working well! My grandmother did mine years ago and it was so different than what you read in the newspaper also. Beautiful!

Rosi said...

Guau que bella creación, estas criaturas tan llenas de misterio, felicidades, de verdad es original, saludos.

elliek said...

Beautiful story and a truly amazing piece of artwork. You will always treasure it.

Anna Sonata said...

Very nice, thanks for sharing. rental mobil

Jen said...

Great story! Lovely art. Here's to a wonderful 2012 for all of us :)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Shell,

The Artwork from Joanne May is so beautiful and such a special story behind the art.
Thanks for sharing and wishing you, David and the bunnies, the most wonderful year ahead with much happiness and love.