The Stories Behind the Story – Navigating Sibling Rivalry – OCEAN

OCEAN (ohk-YAH-noos) | pastel-graphite-colored pencil, 22" x 30" | $ 3,000

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

I am delighted to introduce the 2nd installment of "The Stories Behind the Story" series. I have ten more tales lined up, and I can't wait to continue this adventure with you. This story delves deep into OCEAN and “Hidden Treasures: Navigating Sibling Rivalry.” 

"In a moment of calm, we discussed feelings about growing up, and I discovered three different stories. Their perceptions are different from mine."

As the series continues, I will share more personal stories related to the theme of concealing and revealing, which inspires my artwork.

Don't worry if you miss any part of this series. Every single story will await you on my website in this NEWS section.

Let me know if this story resonates with you. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

HIDDEN TREASURES: Navigating Sibling Rivalry

Do you have a meaningful possession? And if so, who do you need to conceal it from?

Since childhood, I have collected and saved several treasures, and yes - I have concealed them from my siblings. My family's annual summer vacation meant heading to one of the beaches on the East Coast of the USA. The ocean's vastness always amazed me, and I loved being tossed around in the surf as the waves crashed onto the shore. I vividly recall the water's rich shades of green that would change with the swells, and I knew that hidden treasures lay within its depths. My siblings and I would search the water line for shells, competing for the best and oversized ones. As you can imagine, a conflict would happen when we all saw the same shell simultaneously and scrambled to see who could get to it first.

Is it worth it?

During those years, hunting for shells was not as popular as today, so many examples of marine life's former homes littered the beaches. The reason we fought over who got which shell was pointless. My way of coping with my sibling's insistence on ownership was to back off. It was two against one. I didn't like conflict, and it was easier to avoid it. How many of us do the same thing even today? Would getting further into a quarrel over something as plentiful as a shell be worth it?

Resolving conflicts may be challenging

Resolving conflicts with siblings may be challenging. For example, as a child, I worked around the dispute over possessing shells by being aware of when my siblings were tired of playing with them. So when one of them tossed a beauty aside, I would fetch it when they weren't looking. Out of the three of us, I was the most dedicated collector. I could see the natural beauty in a shell's forms and colors. Some of my most cherished finds were moon snails, colorful coquinas, calico scallops, and especially the large whelks. I would carefully conceal them from my siblings. The shells had more significance for me than for my brother and sister. It didn't matter to them if the shells they found made it home. Knowing that my siblings might see what I had, I feared they would take the shells, play with them, and break them.

A basket in my studio is filled with some of the shells from my collection.

Hiding my shell collection avoided conflict but didn't resolve the rivalry. The past discord may not have happened had I not initially been so competitive in the shell search. That energy set the tone. Had I been more willing to share the experience, it could have been a memorable adventure for us. I don't say that with deep conviction because I don't know if the situation would have changed. I am speaking from my point of view. Throughout adulthood, there has been continued conflict with my siblings that I have been struggling to understand. The attacks, unkind words that come out of the blue, and my fierce reaction to fight back only worsen it. I am hurt, and I retreat.

Finding peace

Today, I sit back and am more aware of who my siblings are. In a moment of calm, we discussed feelings about growing up, and I discovered three different stories. Their perceptions are different from mine. I know they will not change, but I can focus on avoiding conflict or hurt feelings. My actions will determine the outcome, with the instances becoming less frequent.

Memories

Over the years, the boxed shells have traveled with me from one home to the next. In my studio, the smaller examples are displayed in baskets, with the larger ones placed on open shelving. I proudly share them and recount where I found them. Despite holding onto my childhood souvenirs, I don't worry much about them getting damaged. The shells have taken on the symbolic meaning of a time in the past. They became the subject of a series of drawings. And, when I look at them, I think about the ocean and the vacations on the coast.

Drawing from my shell collection series. Jigsaw Puzzle 2 | 2015, graphite pencil, 9 3/4" x 12 3/4"

More questions about why there is a rivalry?

As for our meaningful possessions, it's worth considering why we need to keep them hidden. To avoid rivalry, can we find a way to diffuse emotions to bring calm? Are we aware of the other's viewpoints regarding the situation? For example, if it's out of fear that our unique things may be taken or damaged, can we find ways to protect and preserve them while still sharing their beauty? If we want to protect our collections from damage yet still share them safely, do we find a way to do that and include the others who may have felt excluded from the experience? In the end, could all the conflict be about feeling left out? It's worth investigating this more.

P.S.

As I worked on this drawing recently, these memories returned. And I began thinking about another hidden treasure: the coral reefs. The pinks peek out, hinting at their existence below. So, the pinks act as an interesting counterpart against the rich shades of green that change within the artwork.

THE NEXT STORY

True Passion: Artistic Family Perceptions - ORANGE

…my art teacher recognized my talent and nominated me for a Saturday morning class at the local museum. It was a relief that I could be as passionate about this as they all were about music.

My family members had bonded with music; I was the outsider with my art. Nevertheless, my parents supported my talent and did their best to help me nurture it.

There are reasons you can be out of step with someone. Are your perceptions of the expectations different?

 

ORANGE (kah-TOHM) | paste-graphite, 22" x 30" | $ 3,000

REVEALED FAITH STATEMENT: The big story behind all the drawings

Who are we? How much do we conceal? My inquiry begins with the history of the Crypto-Jews who outwardly converted during the Inquisition but continued to practice their religion, disguising it ingeniously from the authorities. Yet, even in secrecy, traces were revealed to those who knew where to look. This is just one example of how people have historically hidden their true selves. Even today, individuals often mask their identity out of fear of rejection.

Through my artwork, I explore and reconcile the uneasy feelings associated with revealing my chosen faith, Judaism. How much should I make known? When you examine my drawings, you will notice concealed Hebrew words peaking out from their abstract surroundings. I hope my artwork will encourage others to feel comfortable expressing their true selves.

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