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child sledding helpful father nostalgic harvey print art

Stay Helpful — A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey

child sledding helpful father nostalgic harvey print art

It doesn’t take billions of dollars to be helpful and carry a child’s sled uphill. It does, however, take a level of caring and time. A Child’s Hero, limited edition print by G. Harvey.

You don’t have to be a wealthy philanthropist to be helpful. Indeed, it’s questionable how many of them actually are. Helpful, that is.

“They’re so rich,” people sigh. “And they must be smart, because they make so much money. Not only that, but they give it away!”

Most of us, ordinary people, feel small in the face of the millions and billions of dollars, funneled through tax-free foundations, that wealthy philanthropists pour into their chosen venues. But the world is made up of ordinary people, the kind who understand other ordinary people, and the small things we do are bigger than we think.

Anyone who doesn’t know how to change a flat tire on the side of a remote highway knows that a helpful hand, at just the right time, makes an impact that is lasting, memorable, and meaningful.

Indeed, the degree and scope of helpful things we can do is vast, and our creativity — unlike our wallets — cannot be exhausted as we find ways to do acts of kindness for other human beings. In some ways, it puts money into perspective when we realize how many of these acts of kindness, how many helpful actions, do not require billion dollar foundations.

The Value of Time

In the artwork, A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey, a little boy is spending the day outdoors in the cold winter air, sledding. Long before he is ready to quit, he tires, his small body unable to keep up with the physical exertion of dragging the heavy sled uphill.

To his rescue comes, who else? His father (parents: you are the everyday, totally unrecognized heroes). Bigger, stronger, and caring, the father does the heavy work, traipsing down the hill that his son glides over, ready to pick up the rope for another trek uphill. As they walk together, he and his children, they talk, and the day becomes much, much more than sledding.

What did it cost to be helpful like this? Time, and the willingness to care.

Stay Helpful — It Adds Richness to Life

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is A Child’s Hero by G. Harvey. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by G. Harvey are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

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Painted Rocks: Spreading Joy and Encouragement

painted-rocks-jacquelyn-silvester-dayton-random-kindness

A series of painted rocks by Dayton artist Jaqulyn Silvester, who has been painting rocks for more than 25 years — long before today’s trend.

Rocks, these days, really rock.

Long overlooked because they’re so ordinary, humble rocks are newly feted as works of art that carry an inspiring message.

painted rocks dayton smith random kindness art

Focusing on the light — a series of lighthouse themed painted rocks by Dayton rock artist Mary-Jeanne Smith

“I love the idea of putting little random gifts of art out into the world, to bring joy to a stranger,” says Mary-Jeanne Smith, a resident of Dayton who has been painting rocks, and hiding them throughout the community for others to find, for a little more than a year. She is one of thousands of people around the nation who have joined the painted rocks grass roots movement, inspired by life coach Megan Murphy from Massachusetts. In 2015 Murphy wrote “You’ve got this” on a rock and left it on a beach in Cape Cod. After a friend found it and told her how the message had lifted her spirits, Murphy started the Kindness Rocks Project, encouraging others to paint “random acts of kindness” on rocks and leave them out for others to find.

Painted Rock Facebook Groups

“I painted my first  rock, a dragonfly, in 2016 and it was so terrible I put it away and decided rock painting was not for me,” says Ashly Beebe, also from Dayton. Two years later she discovered and joined a Facebook rock painting group from Dayton and participated in its monthly challenges which honed her skills and techniques. Now she hides her rocks throughout town, focusing on busy streets and parks — especially in and around statues — because she wants people to find them easily.

“The best place I have hidden rocks was all over my mother’s garden when I went home to visit,” Beebe says. “It was so fun hearing her find them all weekend long and she still displays them.”

painted rocks felice henderson dayton random kindness

Silhouette magic — painted rocks by Dayton artist Felice Henderson.

Part of the rock painting movement is posting found rocks on the local Facebook rock painting group, and many cities and geographical areas host one of these. Rock painters regularly check their local groups to see who has found their rocks and where, delighting in the stories and the smiles.

“The pictures I see posted of children finding my rocks have been particularly heartwarming,” Smith says. “They look so happy and proud, holding up their found rock. Knowing that my little random gift brought a smile is a lovely reward that keeps me painting more rocks.”

Hiding the Painted Rocks

For Dayton resident Felice Henderson, hiding the rocks is as much fun a painting them. On family walks through town her two children, 9 and 4, decide the final hiding place, which is sometimes really really obvious (the four-year-old’s choice) and sometimes not. Henderson remembers their own discovery of a special rock while vacationing on the coast, and it drove home to her how meaningful the ordinary rock has the potential to be.

“The rock we found was painted with the ashes of a deceased 2-year-old mixed into the paint,” Henderson remembers. “Her name was Cami Grace. Her mother painted the rocks with her ashes to have others find them and take them all over the world, since Cami died before her time and never got to travel.”

hummingbird painted rock ashly beebe dayton artist random kindness

A touch of spring and hope from a painted rock by rock artist Ashly Beebe of Dayton

That story pierces the soul. Others are more lighthearted, such as Walla Wallan Nathan Martnick’s reason for starting to paint rocks in the first place.

“I did it initially with the intent of impressing a most beautiful woman who paints rocks, but then I realized I actually enjoyed painting rocks.” He also likes hiding them, and while he recognizes the need to make the hiding place not too difficult, sometimes the temptation is strong:

“One of the more unique spots I’ve chosen is an umbrella hole on a patio table.”

“I once hid a rock in the pocket of the Waitsburg Founding Fathers’ statue,” Waitsburg rock painter Sonya Taylor says. She gravitates toward a “theme” when it comes to hiding places, with Jubilee Lake designated for nature images like kayaking, ducks, and fishing, and the Dayton General Hospital Therapy Department housing her Pokemon rock during last year’s Halloween theme.

Finding Painted Rocks

“I don’t hide rocks super well,” Dayton resident Savonnah Henderson (Felice’s sister, to whom she credits the introduction to rock painting), says. “I WANT people to find them and enjoy them.”

That’s what it all comes down to: taking an ordinary item; transforming it into a thing of beauty; and placing it someplace where a total stranger will find it. The combination of all these elements is what keeps many people painting and hiding rocks. It’s an individual mission of spreading kindness, encouragement, and goodness.

“I love creating something beautiful that someone else can find,” Felice Henderson says. Or, as Beebe sums it up,

“I feel so grateful to have found not just a hobby, but a piece of my heart, and to share that as a random act of kindness with others.”

Wenaha GalleryRock Artists is the Art Event from Monday, January 28 through Saturday, February 23 at Wenaha Gallery. A number of regional rock art painters are displaying their work — in plain site — at the gallery. Rocks will be available for purchase for $10 each.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

teal umbrella child country girl cat show kindness steve henderson art

The Art of Kindness — 2019 Canned Food Drive

teal umbrella child country girl cat show kindness steve henderson art

Even the grumpiest person knows they should show kindness and patience toward children and animals — but inside, we are all as vulnerable as children, and could use some extra kindness. The Teal Umbrella, original oil painting by Steve Henderson

Anybody can be kind.

You don’t have to be smart or rich, technologically savvy, rugged, scientific, or glittery — attributes our society admires so much that we confer a state of godhood on those who possess them. Faces are famous basically because their owners make a lot of money, and this means — experts explain — that they are also good and friendly and likable, generous and giving, so totally wonderful that ordinary mortals cannot possibly affect the world in the way they can.

virtue kindness beauty woman holding candle james christensen

Kindness is a virtue. We’ve all heard that, but it’s true  — kindness is a thing of beauty, reflection, and worth. Virtue, fine art print by James Christensen

Their philanthropy and good works, we are told, make a REAL difference.

But how so very, very untrue.

Aside from the misconceptions that monetary success goes hand in hand with moral virtue, that those who wield power are intrinsically benevolent, that intelligence equates wisdom, mass media’s fallacious teaching also implies that ordinary people do not possess anything meaningful enough to be worthwhile: we are not rich enough, smart enough, powerful enough, beautiful enough, funny enough.

But anybody can be kind. And kindness always makes a difference.

Small Kindness: Big Impact

Think about it: on a day in which you were feeling low, discouraged, tired, bitter — what was the impact of a stranger’s kindness: a smile, their waving you on to the parking space they were aiming at for themselves, their handing you the dollar you lacked to pay for your purchases? While the action was small, it made a subtle alteration to your day.

Or what about the acts of kindness toward you that you don’t know about — those times when your name and situation arose among a group of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, in which someone’s voice dropped to say, “I heard that they . . .” while others exchanged sage nods and knowing glances? But someone there said to themselves, “I don’t know their situation, and it’s not up to me to judge,” and aloud, “Regardless of whether it’s their ‘fault’ or not, they are hurting, and that’s nothing to laugh about.”

near indian caves country meadow pond landscape Bonnie Griffith kindness

A world where kindness prevails is like a peaceful landscape, one where there is silence and beauty. Near Indian Caves, original pastel painting by Bonnie Griffith.

That small act of kindness defused a situation in which you were being harmed.

Opportunities for Kindness Abound

No huge check was involved, no photo op, no praise from a talk show host. Just an ordinary person chose to do something kind in the course of his or her day. Such a person, making a habit of this, adds small jolts of goodness to various people’s lives each and every day. A number of such persons makes an impact large enough to be noticed, altering the environment around them from one of criticism, judgment, and indifference to one of caring, compassion, and thoughtfulness. Kindness.

canned food drive kindness dayton community food bank wenaha gallery

Through the years, community members in Dayton, WA, have shown incredible kindness by donating to Wenaha Gallery’s Annual Canned Food Drive, benefiting the Dayton Community Food Bank

The opportunities to be kind are boundless, the need so great that we don’t have to actively look for them, but rather, be ready to act at a moment’s notice: smile, defer judgment, refuse to be baited into an argument, defend a person who can’t speak for himself, donate a can to the food bank, bite our tongue instead of use it as a lash, give to someone who asks without worrying about whether they are trying to cheat us. It’s not a matter of being doormats — we definitely need to stand up for ourselves against powerful establishments whose motives have nothing to do with kindness — but when it comes to dealing with individual people, we rarely err on the side of too much kindness.

Kindness and Leadership

In short, we act toward others in the way that we wish others would act toward us. And just because we feel they don’t is no reason for us to wait until they do. Determining to be kind is a true act of leadership — not the pseudo-leadership of false confidence and blustering swagger — but a decision to do what is right, to speak what is true, to be a person of integrity in a world that laughs at innocence and equates it with stupidity.

Anyone can be kind.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone were?

Wenaha GalleryThe Annual Canned Food Drive is the Art Event through January 31, 2019 at Wenaha Gallery. For every canned food item brought into the gallery through January 31, the giver receives $2 off their next custom framing order, up to 20% off total. All proceeds benefit the Dayton Community Food Bank.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.