Saturday, February 28, 2015

Arabic Alphabet coloring pages...'Ayn is for 'Ankaboot

Wow, where did February go?

It feels like everyone I know is hibernating, staying close to home.  Our family escaped to spend part of the month chasing the sun on the beaches of Washington, and we found it!

Our beach house was the cutest thing you've ever seen in 1974.  And the girls are happy to report, was free of any 'ankaboot, which is Arabic for spider.

I did bring along the newest free coloring page for them to test out, the page for‘Ayn, the 18th letter in the Arabic alphabet, which is represented by Adil.

Adil spends his day making homes but they are never quite perfect in his eyes.

Other words that use 'Ayn are Eid (festival), ‘asha (dinner), and ‘asal (honey).

I hope you enjoy an 'ankaboot free weekend.  Here is where you can download 'Ayn Coloring Page.


You can also enjoy these Arabic letters and animals that have been done already -
Arrnab Coloring PageBatreek Coloring Page
Timsaah Coloring Page

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fragmented Libya

I was inspired by an oil painting by the great artist Ashby Reed, Jr. at the Onyx exhibit I took part in last year.  Something about his painting of a chair on the porch just spoke to me and made me look close at the technique he used, oil painting with a knife.

Intrigued about oil palette painting, having never done it before, I contacted Mr. Reed by email to ask for some tips on how to start. 

He sent me some excellent video examples in a lovely return email, and after a stop at my local art store, Danielle Smith in Bellevue which has the best staff ever, I got started learning a new art technique. I documented the process along the way on my Instagram account, taking photos of my taping and painting.

After months and layers and newly acquired paint splotches on my studio Turkish rug, I finished the piece last week.

I then contacted my local community Buy Nothing Project to ask for help in professionally photographing my finished artwork, Fragmented Libya.

A wizard behind the camera, Quintin Doroquez, contacted me and offered his camera services for free.

I will be forever grateful to these two men for helping me create this piece. 

This artwork has allowed me much cathartic release during these last few months. It has been a tiring, emotional  winter while I listened to the news of what is happening to my beloved Libya, watched helpless as people were being prosecuted because their religion after Charlie Hebdo, and then unfriended over 600 people on Facebook.

I have submitted this piece to the Ryan James Fine Arts upcoming exhibit called cARTography: Personal Metaphors and Mindful Maps.

This exhibition invites artists to use the art and language of maps, to create personal geographies that locate their place in the world, and include the real or imagined boundaries that define them.

I'd love to hear your feedback on it.
Fragmented Libya, oil on hardbord, four pieces, each 11x14.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Arab Authors Book Club - An Unnecessary Woman

Tonight my Arab Authors Book Club met to discuss An Unnecessary Woman by Lebanese American author Ribih Alameddine. This book was a 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Rather then met at our usual location of someone's home, this month we met at Gorgeous George.


The owners were very hospitable and the food was enticing.  Since it was a Thursday night, the place was packed and our table of eight were treated like royalty.  The entire place only holds about 15 people tops, so we were very fortunate to get reservations. As more people came in and out, I realized looking around that everyone was being treated like royalty.  It felt warm and friendly and I love how bright and colorful the walls were designed.

As a mother of three, I felt for the owner's wife, who is currently 6 months pregnant.  At one point, our table was low on water, so we tried to help by taking the water jug from her to hand it around.  She would have none of it, true Arab that she is.  Insisting on taking back the jug and serving each of us with fresh water, with blood orange slices, cucumber slices, mint and other delicious flavors floating in the jug.

We ordered the Nazareth Appetizers and a few Georges Combo Platters to share. We had so much food left over that a number of us were able to take home leftovers. I must say one of my favorite courses was the salad. The dressing was so good and I can't wait to have it again on a return visit.  Too sad for me there were no leftovers of that.

Right after ordering, we got down to business and discussed the highlights and what we didn't like about An Unnecessary Woman.  One member thought it was interesting that a male author decided to write as a woman, but she had a hard time relating to her character. But the analogy between Beirut and Elizabeth Taylor really spoke to another member, who felt that writing in a female voice did not hinder the piece.

Our group seemed to be split in half with the author's use of quotes from other books.  Some felt it took away from the story and seemed rather pompous, while a few thought that it added to the story and our protagonist's love of books and reading.

Another part of the book that seemed to really resonate for a number of us was the use of music in the story line.

Finally, we all enjoyed discussing how the women in the story took care of each other.  Even protecting each other in times of war, despite not liking each other at times of peace.  And some of us even shared stories of how the old building in the story was similar to other Middle East buildings we grew up in, where the women sometimes helped each other hid affairs and secrets.

I wish we had made room for dessert, but alas, we couldn't even finish the dinner, so we picked our book for next time and prepared to say our goodbyes.

But wait...

The table next to us had a birthday! So George the owner changed the music to an Arabic rendition of Arabic happy birthday, to which we all sang along.  I'm sure it made the young man's night to have a table of Arab women singing to him!  But the best part was when George came dancing out, to pour the birthday boy some wine in a most unusual way...
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