Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Thoughts on The Shawshank Redemption, Andy or Red...

So I watched The Shawshank Redemption last night, I know, it's rated R, so it took me a while to decide to watch it, there are only a few R movies I have ever watched in my life, another one is The Pianist, and the Passion of The Christ, both of which I highly recommend, The Pianist being a movie that is set during the Holocaust, and it shows some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis, which is how it got it's R rating. The Passion of the Christ shows all of the abuse that Christ underwent, it's quite bloody (understatement), but basically shows what it was most likely actually like for Christ to go through that for us. I highly recommend both movies.

Back to Shawshank Redemption, It's a great movie, but it has a lot of language, as I can only imagine would be the case in a maximum security prison. However, it was nothing compared to many days in High School that I remember, and I feel like in this case it helped to illustrate the situation as it probably really would have been, which was necessary to the message of the movie.

It's a hard movie to watch, but in the end it shows how the indomitable will of the human spirit cannot be broken if one wills for it to not be broken. It also shows how one who's will is broken, can be restored through hope and kindness as shown by another. In other words we can make a difference. It also shows pure evil, the warden, I have no words to describe how I felt about that character. The fact that he covers it over with the Bible and Christianity, creates basically a rouse around religion that hides his insidious under side. This is what gives religion today a bad rap. So many hypocrites have used religion to hide their true selves, their bad choices, and their pure evil.

As for myself, I can honestly say that I have made mistakes, I have messed up and made poor choices in my life, AND I have paid a high price for those mistakes. I continue to pay a high price, AND I have done my best to clean that up and make changes in my life. I have grown closer to God through all of it. I have also learned not to judge others, I simply don't have enough knowledge about life in general, and about individuals to ever be able to pass a good judgement. So I will leave that to God. The great thing about that is that now I understand more what unconditional love means. If I don't have to spend time judging, I can just love others for who they are. I can love them for all their good parts and see them through all of their bad parts. It's my bad parts that have helped me to become better. Making mistakes and learning from them, choosing better paths when I don't like the outcomes, and working to be the man I want to be, and them and God knows I can be.

I love the final scenes where Red is looking for the obsidian rock, and digging up the tin. I love that the note was obviously placed there by Andy after he escaped, I love that he had the forethought to watch out for his friend, plant the seeds for his friend's redemption before he escaped. I think the Shawshank Redemption is not about Andy, I think it's about Red, and his redemption. MEN CAN CHANGE, many don't, but ALL have within them the capacity to change, and sometimes it just takes another, crossing their path and walking with them for a while, to make the change possible, for them to SEE that it is possible. We all can help each other out on this journey called life. It's so full of hard things, but we are not alone, and most of all, for me, my trials have found many friends, and most importantly, they have helped me to build a strong relationship with God and Christ.

I want to say too, that I feel like every soul on this planet is known to God, he loves every one, and he knows what each one needs in order to get back to him, and he helps them to have what they need. In other words, I do believe that there is truth, and that we will all find that truth, but every person has their own journey to that truth, everyone has their own path, and I believe that God is there ready to lead each soul on their individual path, we all get to choose whether we will follow or if we will choose our own ways. That is God's gift to us, the gift of choice.

As the movie ended I found myself talking to God, asking him to help me, and to allow me to be an Andy to someone. To make a difference in as many lives as I can before I die, in whatever way God wants me to make that difference. My thoughts turned to my kids, I can be the best dad that I can to them, and help them develop their own relationships with God, in their own time, when they are ready. I can help them on their path to find truth, and most of all I can make sure that they know that their dad loves them. I can do the same as an Uncle, Brother, Son, Friend, etc... Someday I hope that I can also do that as a Husband, we will see what God has in store for my life.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I wasn't in a place where I had internet yesterday so I wasn't able to post so here are 3 more progress pics on my drawing, I wanted to include a skull like the Kuksi drawing does, so I chose a turtle. For this drawing the turtles traditionally are a symbol of long life because they live for so long, so I chose to use a turtle to represent endurance, or more finely put, enduring to the end. It's a personal challenge that I have accepted to be connected to God and to endure my life well until the end. I was originally going to go with a more curling filigree motif for this but I decided that I had enough of that going on in the filigree wave so I decided to go the direction of Maori face paint, which was definitely the right choice. I love the way the turtle turned out for this one. Incidentally, the Fleur de Lis is significant in many cultures as a representation for such things as Royalty and the Holy Trinity. I used it here as a representation of both, I believe that we are all children of God, and who is more royal than God? AND endurance in this life can only be achieved if we are connected to a higher power, for me this is my Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. So the Fleur de Lis is a very fitting symbol for this part of the drawing. Incidentally, most of my art has deeper meaning like this, not all of it quite so deep, but I often include symbolism because for me, I want my art to have a message, should the viewer be willing to engage my work on a deeper level.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I've always loved candles, especially drippy ones, and I am really intrigued with the idea that a flame can be a fish. For me there is a lot of meaning in the metaphor. I really wanted to capture the "glow" in this, the fish is the source of light for the entire drawing, so it has to be the brightest image on the artwork.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Here is the next stage of the drawing, I added the dark background and started in on the light charcoal look. Remember, this is digital, completely drawn on my iPad Pro with the drawing stylus which as to be one of God's greatest gifts to artists who like to work in digital format, other than the smooth drawing surface which I have adapted to, and the angle of the stylus not perfectly mimicking a good old real pencil, (which I have also adapted to) this iPad and stylus is the closest electronic equivalent to the real thing out there, and I love it.

I wanted to have the ship riding a filigree wave on the turtle's back so here is my personal interpretation of a filigree wave and water droplets. I will experiment with both soft curves and harder angles in this painting, which plays on the dichotomy of Male and Female strengths, that both contrast and compliment each other. (in other words, curls for girls and hard edges and angles for boys, and yet they work together beautifully, just like in a successful marriage).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Endurance, Mastery and Light, are the themes I am working with for this new piece I have been working on while I have been traveling here in China. All three themes are very dear to me as I have been on this journey of recovery from the things I have been through over the last few years. The Ship is Mastery, (reference Invictus poem) The candle light and knowledge that I have received from God, and the turtle, endurance with the idea of enduring to the end of my life, and enduring it well, discovering the man that I want to be and the man that God wants me to be and joining the 2 together. The style inspiration for this new piece is from this white charcoal drawing by Kris Kuski, I want to put lots of detail into this piece. I'm drawing it on my iPad and I will try to update this post every day with progress shots.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

RIP Chester Bennington 2017

I was down in Phoenix AZ for my grandmother's funeral when I got a call from my oldest son asking me if I had heard the news, "Chester Bennington is dead!" He committed suicide this morning (my grandmother's funeral was July 20th). I listened to my son as he talked about it, and I grieved with him because I liked Linkin Park, have for a long time now. Numb has been a staple in my list of go-to emo songs when I am feeling down, but Chester Bennington dead? and to suicide no less? What is this world coming to, there are so many suicides, SO MANY SUICIDES! And I know, because I had a friend commit suicide, and I have gone through a lot of depression through my divorce and choices I made leading up to the divorce. I felt like dying many times, I contemplated what it would be like to  kill myself, and ultimately, because of my friend and my faith in God, decided that, for me, suicide would be cop out. Suicide is easy, one act and you are done, facing life and living is hard, it requires a thousand acts every day, and learning the balance between my spirit and my body. Keeping that balance is hard, and I have to work at it every day. I have so many thoughts and feelings about this, I am really glad that I got to go to Vegas with my son to see Linkin' Park in concert, I considered asking him if he would go to the concert when they come to Utah, I'm glad that I didn't, because there will never be another concert to go to. I don't know what the future holds for Linkin Park, but I'm betting that it looks a lot different now considering the major roles Chester played. I love his music, I love the thought and meaning that he puts into is lyrics, music and videos. I wish he had not killed himself. It is an interesting difference between how the death of my grandmother and Chester feels. Her funeral was a celebration of a life well lived, of a strong woman who endured, and believe me she endured a lot. Chester's death feels tragic and very sad, a light snuffed out of his own will way too soon. This photo is my tribute to Chester, his new song, One More Light keeps playing in my head over and over again as I try to reconcile the reason for his or any suicide, what purpose it plays in the grand scheme of things. I considered for a long time how to paint it, in the end I did this montage of drawings and a photo of him I found online. Even though I never knew you personally, I will miss you thank you for all you have given me through your music and the chance to spend a great weekend with my son going to your concert. Who cares if one more light goes out?...well, I do!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Faith Crisis

The subject of a personal faith crisis has come up 3 times for me in the last 24 hours. The idea that sometimes God tests us by leaving us to stand alone for a period of time to choose to endure, or not to endure without him is so profound. I personally believe that He knows, in his infinite wisdom, that each one of us needs to know on a very deep level whether we will be faithful to Him. He already knows what I will choose, he knows me better than I know myself, I am His son, he knew me personally before the foundation of this world. He knows my strengths, and He knows my weaknesses, but I don't know all of them, and He teaches me through hard experiences. There have been profound moments, seemingly long periods of darkness, in my life where I have felt utterly alone. I have made mistakes, I have not always chosen the best paths, and in doing so I have distanced myself from God, and those times have been dark, and there have been times where it seems that God has stepped back and distanced himself from me, even when I am striving with all that I know how to do to approach Him. It's during these times that I have to reach down deeper than I ever have before and look for Him. He does not always immediately respond, and I have thought at times about how easy it would be to choose to do what my selfish carnal mind wants me to do. AND I also realize that I can choose in that moment to be faithful, even if I don't "feel like it". I also realize that those are the true defining moments of my life, when I learn that I myself can and do choose to be faithful even when I don't feel it, that I can be true to what I know and believe even when I don't really feel the presence of God in my life. Those are the moments when my personal choices really matter, when I show my Heavenly Father that I am willing to stand up and be counted. It's easy to be "true and faithful" when God is making himself known, but the moments when He is withdrawn, when I have to stand on my own and make a decision which way I will go, those moments teach me that God really does keep His word that we can choose for ourselves. That happiness is mine to choose, and that my weaknesses can be made strong, yes, my weaknesses are ultimately what will help me to return to live with Him, because they teach me the most about myself, and I can rely on God to help me make them strong, thus bringing me closer to Him. This article about Micheal McLean is really good, wherein he talks about his own 9 year struggle and faith crisis:


Monday, August 29, 2016

Suffering and Pain and God telling me to "stop it!"

So much has happened over the last few years, I don't know exactly where to begin, but let me start by saying that I am getting a divorce.

Now let me continue by saying that this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life. I keep looking back on my life and comparing it with what I thought my life would be and I just about want to throw up every time I think about where my life is right now. On the surface I think it looks rather grim, and believe me I have spent a lot of time, and some sleepless nights going over and over again in my head what is happening, looking at what my life is like right now, what it used to be, and what it may be in the future.

Yesterday I was at Sam's Club, not because I really needed anything there, but it's close to work and it was Friday night and the only place I had to go was home to my new bachelor pad, where I knew I would be all alone on a Friday night. My kids only 2 miles away from me, but unable to see them because its not "my weekend" (blech, my stomach wants to hurl just thinking about it). While I was there I picked up a gallon of Skim Milk and a big huge bottle of laundry detergent. I remember picking up the 115 load bottle and thinking, "this is going to last me forever since I'm the only one doing laundry at my house" (truth be told, I get to go to the laundry mat since my paycheck is now having to cover 2 households and lawyers aren't cheap). As I was walking around I looked down at my cart full of 2 items and thought about how just a few months ago when I came to Sam's Club I bought tons of food, filled the cart for my family, I loved grocery shopping for them because it gave me a sense of purpose, of doing something for them, it made me feel needed. It hit me that that was a former life that is no longer a part of my life. That life that I had become so familiar with was then, and this is now, that chapter is over and this is my new chapter. It was a very strange feeling. I reflected the first time Sara and I went to that exact Sam's Club together when we came to Utah. It was Winter 1995 and we were in a strange place, but I remember that somehow the Sam's Club felt like home because it looked and felt the same inside as it did in Phoenix. Fast forward 21 years and I was walking alone through the Sam's Club (I have been to Sam's alone many times, but this alone is a different alone. This is the I am really alone, and when I go home I will be alone, I will eat alone, and sleep alone, and do everything alone). I looked at my 2 items and realized that I didn't need anything else so I meandered (in no particularly hurry) toward the register and it struck me how ridiculous the 2 items were, how pathetic it was to not buy a lot of food to take home to my family. I felt sad in that moment and had to surrender it away to God to handle for me or I would cry right there in Sam's Club. What would my 21 year ago self say if my current self could go to him and tell him that in 21 years I would be getting a divorce? I did not ever expect this, it's so hard.

I have spent so much time beating myself up over it, to the point that God actually told me to stop it! That's right, I asked and he told me to stop beating myself up for my past. Somehow I thought it was noble to beat myself up about it, like somehow inflicting pain upon myself for my past would help to make it known that I am truly sorry and that I deserve what I get and that it I suffer enough just maybe I can be forgiven...someday. Well, that's not what God wants at all, he wants me to stop it and move on. It's been hard to stop. Somehow, there is a comfort in beating myself up, like somehow that has become an old friend. I had become accustomed to pain and I found that it was hard to let it go. Insane huh? I had always thought that what I truly wanted was happiness, and in the end what I really felt like I wanted in that phase of my life was to sit in my heap of pain and wallow in it because somehow that justifies me. God was not pleased, and now I understand why, I was allowing my own emotions to rule my actions instead of taking the reigns and being in charge of my own life.

So I started surrendering my right to beat myself up. I surrendered each time I denigrated myself in any way, every time I called myself stupid or told myself that I am such an Idiot, I had to stop and surrender that to God and let it go. I have had to learn to let go of the comfort of my own pain and choose happiness. Oh, it's not as easy as that, and it has taken a long time to see changes in my attitudes and thoughts, but it is a slow steady change. I have come to learn that happiness is not something that we simply choose. It is something that we work for. I cannot just decide one day to be happy and "viola!" I am happy. No, happiness is a lot of work, it's like Love, we can get glimpses of it given to us, but lasting love requires a great deal of work on our parts. If we want love, we have do do the work that cultivates love. Likewise, if we want happiness, we have to do the work that cultivates happiness. It's like there are laws that, if followed, lead to different virtues that bless our lives, but living those laws requires work. When I was younger love and happiness were generally easily come by, but now that I'm older I have to work harder at them. I think that this is by divine design, God allows us to feel these when we are younger so that we know how desirable they are, now that I am older, it's not so freely given, I have to work for them. I have thought for some time that there must be something wrong because I don't just easily feel love or happiness any more, I thought maybe there was something seriously wrong with me. But now I understand that God expects me to work for these things, and as I do they are both right there for the taking, so long as I am obedient to the laws surrounding these virtues.

I am actually glad that I discovered this because it makes me feel like I understand better why things are the way they are. I understand that I really do have choices in my life, I can choose attitudes, thoughts and actions that lead to anything I want, and life is so much more than what it appears to be on the surface. The end result is simply that, an end result, the true miracle is really in the journey. Happiness is the end result, the journey to living a life of happiness is the real miracle.

So I am not sure what all to say about the divorce right here, I will probably expound on my experience in later posts, but for now my heart is full of what I have written. Divorce is a very unfortunate outcome of a complex maze of choices, of sins of omission as well as sins of commission. I am guilty of both, and have beat myself up for them over and over again, to the point that (like I said earlier) God told me to stop it. I have wished that I could go back and have do overs, perhaps if I had just done this or that, or said this at just the right moment, or perhaps if I had not done this or that, then the outcome would be very different. But alas, the outcome is what it is and it's important for me to surrender any thoughts about what might have been

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago, that we are all linked, past present and future, that those of us who are alive today keep those of us who have gone on before alive by sharing their thoughts and ideas, because the thoughts and ideas are really one eternal round of thoughts and ideas, not uniquely our own, but expressed again and again by everyone who discovers them. In this way, we are also linked to all of those who have yet to come and discover the same truths.

I had this realization that we are all linked this while reading a book, and it applied to this quote because I looked up the author of the quote, Art Linkletter, who is now passed away. He said this truth, and therefore he is credited in my piece of art with having said it, and because of that I have kept him alive so to speak so he and I are now connected by the bands that connect the past present and future. I acknowledge that the idea of choosing one's own attitude is not unique to Art, and that he did not create the idea, it has been discovered and re-discovered billions of times probably by each person who has ever been born on this earth, which links us all together, past, present, and future.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

There's A Bat In My Belfry by Julie Gillett, illustrated by Jeff Goodsell
There's A Bat In My Belfry is my first Illustrated Children's book. It was a fun challenge to take a character that I drew for the first time almost a decade ago, and re-explore it. Julie did a phenomenal job of giving him a personality, and I had the opportunity to add additional facial expressions and poses, I had never really drawn this same type of character over and over again before for it was also a great learning experience. This book will go on sale within the next few weeks so if you would like to be notified when it does, please email me at jeff@jeffgoodsellart.com, I will send an email with a link to purchase it online, or if you live close by you can buy it directly from me!