>Leaders and Followers

>Leaders get put on pedestals and are expected to change things for entire populations. Any one human is going to fail at this. It isn’t fair to the leader or the follower, and it isn’t loving to either party. I wonder if the time of leader and followers is past. Maybe it’s time for each individual to embrace their importance and their inherent ability to change what is right in front of them, their own sense of gratitude, responsibility and love, first for themselves, then family member to family member, friend to friend, lover to lover, neighborhood to neighborhood and country to country. I believe we are our answer I believe responsibility for personal action is required for effective change. Wisdom would ask input from many for each and every one of us, not just a leader, but you and me. I’m not against the idea of leadership. I’m for the idea of personal responsibility to change our worlds into what we would have them be. Does not a single smile bring light? I think individually, and undivided each of us as one will lead…..not followers, but lead ourselves to enlightenment. Walk beside us if you choose, but pray, do not ask me to lead. I make mistakes. I am capable of the best and the worst in humanity, let me only be at your side.
tina jones

>Art and Your Sofa: Rant to an Anonymous Socialite


Art and Your Sofa
A Guide for Non-artists, Socialites and Other “Poor Misunderstood” People to Art and Artists
Art is never created to match your sofa*
*Sofa, for the purposes of this document shall refer to your sofa, any and all of your belongings from your wall paper to your welcome mat, and from your tie collection to your dentures, from your other art works to your life in general, and from your tastes to your opinions. It was not created to amuse you, to aid in your social activities or for you to understand, incorporate into your being or speak of in any way. Doing so incidentally may result in your coming across as a pseudo-intellectual bore to artists in general, but an ill-informed, pompous prick to those whom you may aim to impress. Art, by the way was not meant to impress or to help you impress.  This is not limited to the list so far stated, and the artist reserves the right to amend at will.  
   With utmost respect to your sofa,* art was created for some reasons that have nothing to do with you. ( No, really. It was.)
    Art was created for the pleasure of the artist, be it to express, to have fun, to indulge in senses or to let off some steam, be it to practice, to hone, to learn, creation is a selfish process, and it is quite likely that the artist did not think of you in the least when it was created. Occasionally, much like masturbation, the artist may think of another person, still the act is entirely self pleasuring.
     What you can do: You may ask the artist questions about the art like where to hang it. Do not ask if you don’t want to know. Having received their thoughts, it’s best to lay the conversation to rest, reserving debate for others who know as little as you do. The artist has given their knowledge and opinion. You are in their area of expertise; you are conversing with (albeit, often overworked) alchemists, and not in a place where you stand a chance. Save face. Take the high road, and let it go. You may of course, hang where you like. (Double entendre intended.) While most artists are more than willing to toss pearls before swine, they are not likely to defend their point of view, in effect, doing it twice. Pushing this, will likely result in the phenomenon known as “the artistic temperament.”  You’ll have better luck checking with your mailman, house keeper, pedicurist or pet shampooer for debate. Art by the way, was not created for debate. If we wanted to yak endlessly about it, we wouldn’t bother painting it.
      What you need to know about art:
You need to know if you like it and if you don’t. Take your time with that one.
      What you don’t need to know about art:
Everything else. You can study the best of the best of writers, and use large art words, but God created buckshot for just this purpose. Please do not annoy the artist with any gathered information. We know, and while it’s heart warming that you’ve read a book, we could basically care less. We’d rather be making art. Guests, who you’d hope to dazzle with artistic word savvy, would likely rather be eating the main course. You also don’t need to know about our “deep inner angst.” Most of us don’t have any, and I personally am not going to make any up to please you. We don’t have time for angst. We’re working.
       What artists are: We are people who like to create and do so.
       What artists are not: We are not your pets. We are not to be put on display at social gatherings as a new addition to your collection. We don’t need to be “discovered” by you. We already know we’re here. We will not dress to match your sofa,* and we are not decorative accessories. Most of us do not enjoy being poked, petted or otherwise molested by strangers, be it in the name of showing our art or for the purpose of raising your social status. That’s the stuff of personal adds, not art. However, should you fancy posing, I’ll be happy to paint you poised for recognition on and of your sofa*. It’ll make your interior decorator go all a-flutter, I’m sure.
       We appreciate you:
 It’s nice that you like art, as many of our galleries are full and we could use the storage space. We appreciate it. We are not, however hanging art at your place in infantile ideas that it will get us anywhere socially or financially. Social and financial issues are for socialites and accountants. Again, we are artists. Hanging our art out of our site is always a risk, and one that is not taken lightly. Hours, months and years have sometimes gone into the making, and we do not relish the idea of uninvited fingering of our creations. As all museums know, acid of the hand will in the long run damage art, besides someone might sneeze on it.
     Why Artists take the risk: There is a good reason that we hang our art in other places.  In all likelihood, we are hanging our art at your place, because we like you. Most of us have no need to be shown, so that argument is mute. One artist (myself), has been creating art for 35 years, painting for 24 years,  is known worldwide and has sold hundreds of works to many more countries than I can presently count. Basically, the favor you present is being done for you.
     Any and all opinions, yeah buts, whys or other noises will be respectfully heard and promptly dismissed, unless I tire, then they’ll be dismissed before hearing, and you’ll be asked to refer to your dog shampooer.
At Your Service,
Tina Jones

(Who at times, “shares the love” while toting a cat of nine tails.)

“Don’t Look Back”
Acrylic on Canvas
(sold with attendant rant which they tell at social gatherings, including their audacity to rename the work. My title, which stands, wasn’t provocative enough to make for chit chat, so the painting is also known as *Electric Nude.* Sighs…so the story grows….so I nap.)

>Messing With the Masters: Leonardo DaVinci Video

>If you’ve been reading, you know I have a thing for Leo. This is my first effort at painting him, but I’m sure I’m not done. This is a roughly two hour work, just to show what can be done.

“Waking Leonardo”
Acrylic on Canvas

Following is a video I made of this piece with a short commentary on the gifts of Autism.

>Diagnosis: Asperger’s

> I was recently formally diagnosed with Asperger’s, a subset of Autism. 19 years ago, when my son was diagnosed with Severe Autism, I began asking questions, and I read Temple Grandin’s first book called, “Emergence. Labeled Autistic” As I read, the denial that there was nothing different about my son, that he was only like me, began to fade. I was partially right. He was like me, and by the end of the book, I knew I had many characteristics of Autism myself.
   Being a parent takes 150% of whatever you’ve got, and when a special needs child is involved, there is little time, or I didn’t make time, for me. It was hard and remains the most rewarding thing in my life. My son became one of my best friends, and often my teacher and my hope.
  Last year, after surviving cancer, I had a deeper sense than ever about how quickly life can be over. We don’t know how much time any of us has. There was something I felt I’d left undone both for myself and for my children or any other person that might seek help one day. I wanted them to have a precedent of someone who willingly walked through the diagnosis process even with hands shaking and heart racing. My son was only two when his began. Professional diagnosis is not for everyone. It’s the path I needed to take. I needed to let my son know he was not by himself in Autism.
   I began making phone calls and early this year, I found a psychologist at a local University who specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism. The whole process took about four months, as part of my evaluation was part of the study of post graduate students working along side the Psychologist/Professor. I was pleased to able to take part in their education to one day help others with Autism. I met once a week for a while, then the last month or so was waiting. I’m a very patient person, and I knew inside already, so this was not a big problem for me. Any moment that I felt discouraged, I just thought about my children, and I was ok.
   There were many tests, all of which were given in a helpful spirit. I was treated with respect, tenderness and thoroughness. It was difficult, challenging and some days even fun. Some days I cried, some days it took everything I had to get out of my car and walk into the clinic,  but I kept the mental image of my brave son and daughter in my mind to let me know, I was not alone either.
   On June 14th of this year, 2011, I went to receive their findings.
 “Diagnosis: Asperger’s Disorder”
    For my children, my grandchildren and their grandchildren:
You are not alone, you never have been, and you never will be. Should any fear come to you, I believe in you, and you can do what you need to do. I’m always with you.
    My son, my daughter and I used to take turns singing lines of a (perhaps silly) song together before he could talk. I heard my son singing a line softly, and he stopped when he realized I noticed. I sang the next line, and he continued. For the three of us, singing was our communication before conversation. We used it as a lullaby among others. They had such amazing voices! Barry and Eve, this one is for you…..You’re my heroes! Thanks for comming into my life!
“Anything,” smiles. Love, Mom (tina jones)

“First Kiss”
(my grandchildren)
18×24″ Oil on Canvas

>Why I paint

>Sometimes I come to ideas by nonconventional routes.
   A few weeks ago, I’d defrosted a 5 pound package of ground beef, as I’d not taken the time to separate it before freezing. I thought once it was soft, I’d shape it into patties for hamburgers. When the time came, I was occupied and couldn’t take the time needed to pat out and cook all of that. In a pinch, and in fear that the beef would go bad if I didn’t cook it, I came up with an idea.
   I added a few spices, nothing fancy, just onion powder, salt, pepper and whatever else I grabbed. I think it was something green, dry and leafy.  Next, I thought I’d just chance it. I put the whole 5 lbs in a baking pan. It used to be a roast before it was ground, so I just stuck it all back together in a sort of cake fashion or a big thick patty. I set the oven on something that seemed like it might work. It could have been 350 or 425. What do I know? Anyway, I put it in the oven.
  I got the feeling of being somewhat proud of my idea after I started smelling it cooking. I thought, “You know, others might want to benefit from this discovery! They’d never have to mess with hamburgers again! No standing over grills or popping grease! This could revolutionize the burger industry!”
  Basking in my ingenuitive brilliance, and about 45 minutes into the baking, I had a moment of clarity. It came to me quietly as awakenings often do….
Meatloaf! sighs
I had made accidental meatloaf.
That’s why I paint.
tina jones

>Autism and Asperger’s: Defiant Children

>I’m sharing a personal story in hopes of providing insight to parents who are having trouble getting their autistic child to cooperate in social activities including educational ones.
  I received a failing grade in physical education my Freshman year of high school. I heard terms like, “defiant, uncooperative,” etc. I was never very coordinated or athletically inclined, but that wasn’t the problem this time. Our physical education for that quarter was swimming.
   I went to a large high school. My mother had bought me a bikini that covered well, because at the time, one-pieces that fit on one end didn’t fit the other. I could buy two-pieces in the two correct sizes. I liked the color of it. It was a dark maroon, feminine but not flashy. I was 14 years old, and had reached my adult size a few years earlier. To provide an accurate picture, I was 5’8″ and by sight, completely a woman. Physically and in many intellectual ways, I could match anyone. At 14, however I was still very much a child emotionally. I had no idea how to process or respond to the reactions of others.
   From the school, once dressed in our suits, we had to traverse a grassy front lawn that was roughly 1and1/2 city blocks, then cross the highway, then walk through the public park to get to the swimming pool.
   No one seemed to have a problem with that, so I doubted my self conciousness (that is natural at that age or any) and went along. Did I mention the boy’s swim class was at the same time as ours?
   I swam or tried to. I was tired and cold when we got out and wrapped a towel around myself to ward off the chills. Boys, being their normal teenage selves, teased and taunted saying that I was hiding under my towel. They wanted it off, or so they thought, and that’s normal too. Well, exhausted, trying to stuff embarassment, and not willing to put up with the teasing, I put my nose in the air, dropped the towell and drug it behind me all the way across the school’s front lawn. The brazen boys went mute and many had to wait a while to begin walking again. It was a very quiet walk for me.
   Nonetheless, I knew they’d arm themselves with something to say the next day, so I simply refused to dress for physical education/swimming from that point forward through the quarter of swimming. It seemed like an obvious, simple solution to me to stop the activity that scared/bothered/embarassed me. From that point, I got scolded by the teacher and stared at oddly from the other females. “What in the world could be wrong with HER?!” seemed to be their question. I thought they must be slow, and couldn’t figure them out. Couldn’t they see this was treated as a jiggle-show, and didn’t the boy’s taunting bother them. Apparently, not. They didn’t seem to mind blind following, and some even seemed to enjoy the attention. That’s *normal* too, I guess.
   Ready for a trip inside? I can’t tolerate the feel of grass, extreme heat from walking in the sun exhausts me, I loathe being the center of attention, was actually terrified of the attention of the males, cold, the chatter and jeers along the way……SENSORY ISSUES, and the need for coping skills I simply didn’t have left me unarmed.
    If your interested in experiencing something close to these feelings, on a very hot day put on a bathing suit, walk roughly 6 blocks through populated areas with extra weights of about 80 lbs strapped to your shoulders. Stuff prickly thistle in your shoes to get the full grass experience.  Get some friends to go with you, and have a few of them clang cymbols in your ears for the duration. Swim a bit while listening to the cymbols, enjoy a moment’s respit for as long as you can hold your breath underwater, if you like. Get out, and have a few friends drench you with ice water. Better yet, make it acquaintences instead. Add a full marching band out of tune along with the chills on your way back. Have several of them make lude comments about your body and loudly.
    Want to do it again tomorrow?
    Whenever someone showed what appeared to be aggression, I’d go mute. It wasn’t until a few years later, when three of these boys confronted me on a walk home with my younger sister, that I went off. I had to protect her. I screamed at them to get out of their car and face me, telling her to run. I’d grabbed the door of the car as if to come in after them. I’d taken all of the taunting I could, and this day it was going to end. I knew full well I couldn’t beat up three boys, but at least I’d save my sister.
   Well, apparently these young men had never seen a female act quite like that, or not me anway. I was quiet, helpful and a generally mild kid. They stopped laughing, refused to leave the car, and got real….ummm…submissive. Interesting how that worked out. I wasn’t taunted by them again.
   Now, let’s look at it from my parent’s point of view. Their daughter wouldn’t dress for P.E. She must be “defiant,” right?
   As a kid, I loved rules. Knowing what was wanted of me made my life easier, whenever I could figure it out. I couldn’t, just could not go against the wishes of my parents….unless I had to. Often I forced myself to do things involving sensory overload just to please them, and that being untrue to myself made me very sick a lot of the time.
   When your child refuses to do something, especially when it doesn’t make sense to you, be aware that there is probably a very good reason for it. Be aware that they may not even have the vocabulary to explain it to you. They may not even know, as I didn’t, that this wasn’t a perfectly normal situation that they just have to put up with.  Importantly,  be aware that scolding, bribing them to do it, punishing them, and rewarding them to do it, only exacerbates the state of being untrue to themselves, putting themselves in possibly dangerous situations and at the very least going through a sensory hell to please you. PAY ATTENTION to your children. They may well know more of what’s going on than you do. They are handling their world to the best of their ability. They are not bad kids or defiant. They are not trying to make your life difficult. They are trying to survive.
  On the upside, you’re lucky. You’ve got a child who will not follow the crowd when that crowd gets into things the child feels is wrong. You’ve got someone who can think for themselves and act on what they feel is right. You have a child with integrity. You have a child with ideas all her own, or as my adult daughter said of her own children, “If any stranger ever tried to offer them candy to get in a car, they’d tell them to go to hell, and walk on!”
   I love a defiant child, and bravo to them!
tina jones

>"Thinking Outside of the Box" I Spit!

>The surest sign that a person is unoriginal is the use of the cliche, “Thinking outside of the box.”
The instant I hear it, I get information , information like the fact that they rely on cliches, want those cliches to make them appear innovative, don’t know what the box is, and don’t know what was in it in the first place.
  What was in it? A bunch of cliches.
   Get original. Use your mind. Don’t be afraid. Try replacing a single word.
I’m begging!
  How about
   “Pondering outside of the box?”
   “Thinking outside of the cubicle?”
    “Pontificating the perimeter of the rhombus?”
    “Looking at the various stackabilities of box ideas?”
     “Turning the box inside out?”
     “Opening the gift?”
How about getting crazy with it? Be dangerous! Say something direct, meaningful and powerful that has the same meaning.
     “Be Original”
tina jones