Same Same, but Different

Rafe and Alexa show off their paintings

Having recently returned from SE Asia where the term “Same Same But Different” is a common in Thailand as “eh “is in Canada, I found this the perfect name for this set of 4 paintings for Andy and Fiona. The reason being is that I already did a set of 4 for them back in 2005. However, sometimes people’s symbols change. That was partially the reason for the repaint. The other was Andy and Fiona moved. Again (this being the 7th house they’ve lived in in the 9 years I’ve known them). Thus, colours and styles have changed.

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4 Elephants – Meals on Wheels silent auction

I started this painting last summer, only recently finishing it this past January. This was officially appraised at $1,500 and donated to the Meals on Wheels silent auction gala on May 12, 2007.

An auspicious animal and the largest creature to walk the earth, the elephant is seen in many cultures as a symbol of energy, strength and power. It is a creature blessed with superior intelligence and a very long life span. Because of this, it has become a symbol for knowledge and dignity. The Zulus revere the elephant as a symbol for wisdom, patriarchy and hallowed relationships, and countries like Thailand have made it one of their national symbols. The Elephant is one of Buddha’s sacred treasures, and Buddhists believe the white elephant symbolizes patience and insight. In Feng Shui the Elephant is known to be a symbol of good fortune. The elephant is thought to be the granter of all wishes.

This painting depicts 4 elephants, all representing the different sides of our personality, all mirroring one-another, inherently the same, yet but with opposing principles prevailing, requiring that conflict within in much the same way one needs the occasional sudden loss of perspective in order to draw us to a new level.

This is a well traveled painting, having accompanied me to Africa on my recent trip.

Elephant Toronto

I actually had this painting completed way back in August, however, could not put it up on the website until now as it is was commissioned by a previous client to give as a gift to his mother on her birthday in December.

While initially I was squirming at the idea of adding blue to this
colour scheme (I’ve always used green), we were trying to match a
certain blue already present in the room it was going to reside
in. Of course, matching colours is always a challenge, even moreso
when you live 3,000+ kms away from your client. But luckily I’m
connected enough with Ralph that I knew what he wanted, and I created
the right blue that made the painting work, and matched the room perfectly.

MWR – Endearing India

I had the absolute privilege of travelling to India this past February and volunteering at the Jagshanti Udayan Care Orphanage in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh – approximately 45 minutes outside of New Delhi. I spent five weeks living at the orphanage with 31 amazing girls aged five to 18. While my main “duties” were offering some art therapy, English lessons, and homework assistance, the entire purpose of my being there was to simply “Be Human” (thank you David) with them all.

While I state in the About section on this website that I never replicate my paintings, I made an exception in this one case. I painted an exact twin of Rafe’s elephant, which I created in a set of 3 to his parents back in December 2005, and gave it as a gift to the girls at the orphanage. I thought when Rafe gets older, he might think it is cool that the painting of his elephant has an exact mate hanging in an orphanage on the other side of the world. Of course, he’s much too young to understand the significance of my gesture right now. I know that for the next few years, I’m going to be seen as “one of those Aunts” who keeps giving him “another one of THOSE presents” when he probably just really wants a Tonka truck cement mixer. In his eyes it will be the equivalent of receiving socks.

Of course, I also thought the girls would like to know their painting had a twin all the way over in Canada… innately connected with someone they’ve never met.

Many people have had a tremendous effect on me in my life, but I’ve never been sure I’ve had the same impact on others…until now. Never in my life have I felt I’ve had the impact on people’s lives that I have here. The smallest gestures garnish the biggest rewards. Most importantly, I didn’t go down there to teach. I went there to learn.

I promise girls, I will be back.

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Teresa Elephant

I don’t know much about the recipient of this painting, as it was requested by someone for a gift to someone else. I did know that the recipient loves elephants and has them adorned all over her house.

I also knew she loved blue, and that the elephant’s trunk had to be lifted (that is a symbol of good luck).

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Ghana – donation

Just after Christmas, Simon Clarke, the Vice-Principal of Jennie Elliott Elementary School in Calgary, approached me to see if I would be interested in donating a painting to his school’s silent auction which, in partnership with the Calgary Zoo, is helping to raise funds to build a school in Ghana. I was thrilled to be able to help out, it’s just my kinda thing!

Of course, it would have made sense for me to design a hippopotamus of some kind (as building the school is a joint venture with the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary project), but unfortunately, hippos weren’t on my radar at this moment, only elephants (having designed 4 elephants in the last month or so).

An auspicious animal and the largest creature to walk the earth, the elephant is seen in many cultures as a symbol of energy, strength and power. It is a creature blessed with superior intelligence and a very long life span. Because of this, it has become a symbol for knowledge and dignity. The Zulu’s revere the elephant as a symbol for wisdom, patriarchy and hallowed relationships, and countries like Thailand have made it one of their national symbols. The Elephant is one of Buddha’s sacred treasures, and Buddhists believe the white elephant symbolizes patience and insight. In Feng Shui the Elephant is known to be a symbol of good fortune. The elephant is thought to be the granter of all wishes.

With Ghana in mind, I have incorporated several Ghanaian “Adrinka” symbols throughout the iconic imagery of the elephant.

This will be placed in Jennie Elliot’s private silent auction at the Calgary Zoo in Februay, 2006.

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Long Way Round

When Andy and Fiona purchased their new house, I suggested the layout and colour would be ideal to go with a sort of British Colonial (African) theme. They completely agreed, and told me to come to the house before they moved any furniture in to “pick a wall” (any wall) to paint something on (aren’t they GREAT clients!!!!). However, it wasn’t until they moved all the furniture in I knew exactly what I’d be painting. They wanted something they could actually frame (and aside from one other client (see Spirited Beings) stating he was going to frame my wall hanging, I don’t believe any other hanging has ever been framed). I’d always loved colonial African art, and was excited to take on this next challenge. I knew the 3 images I wanted to use, and they all were tied to different quotes in my head.

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