Saturday, June 19, 2010

Affordable Art

"It is the greatest of all mistakes
to do nothing because you can only do a little -
do what you can."
Sydney Smith

Like most other people I have been horrified by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, yet feel helpless to do anything about it. It's so big. And let's face it, in the larger scheme of things, especially when it comes to oil spills, I'm so small. Thinking I could my part to help the last time I got my hair cut, I asked Charles if he was collecting hair to put towards the mopping up efforts. Alas, he was leaving that up to the dog groomers in town so my shorn locks went into the trash can. And I'm left to wring my hands and rail against modern man(and woman) for ruining the earth. [Apparently dog hair stuffed into pantyhose make a pretty good oil sucker-upper. Who knew?]

Then I read Tessa's blog, which led me to the Ripplesketches blog. It's a place where artists from all over the world are contributing small original works of art which, for a donation of $10.00 to one of two non-profits to help the animal victims of the oil spill, can be yours. Ten dollars doesn't sound like much compared to the millions already spent and still adding up. Ten dollars is just a drop in the oil bucket. But in the short amount of time the blog has been up and running, the total contributions have gone over $3000.00. That can buy a lot of panty hose. Over at Bedlam Farms blog, Jon Katz is always talking about making art affordable for the everyday person. The Ripples site has done that, plus they are raising money for a good cause.

I've been watching the blog for a few days, scrolling through the pictures and marveling at the number of different images all saying basically the same thing ... the turtles, pelicans, hermit crabs, dolphins, and other sea creatures are the real victims of the spill. Most of the pictures I covet have already been sold. But new ones are coming in every day. You really must check it out.

On that same note, my father and I took a drive today. I wanted to do some running around, i.e. chase away the cabin fever, and he didn't want to stay home alone. So we compromised. He tagged along and I promised not to dawdle. It wasn't quite what I had in mind, but it worked. Half way to the beach we passed this humongous construction site where they are making an overpass that looks like it's going to have 6 lanes of traffic. That's bad enough. But what really got to me is the mess that they are making for as far as the eye can see on one side of the intersection. The road we've have been using to get to the beach since forever (or at least since I've lived in Jacksonville) is no longer two lane, and no longer lined by piney woods teeming with Florida flora and fauna. The trees have been mown down to make room for what looks like another parking lot. It isn't an accident or even a natural disaster. In my book, it's even worse ... a big man (and tractor) made mess. I felt a bit nauseous and a lot sad looking at all that brown and missing the green trees and the different colored birds.

My dad seems to think it wouldn't have happened if there wasn't some commercial market for it. He's probably right. Somebody, somewhere has enough money and enough say so to defoliate, de-populate and de-beautify another of Mother Nature's masterpieces. No matter that there are apartment buildings, houses and shopping centers sitting dormant and decrepit down the road.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for progress. If the city is expanding and we need to build new things fine. But it seems like for every new shopping center that is built, the same company should have to dig up the cracked asphalt and re-forest an old one.

With all that on my mind, this is the Ripplesketch picture that spoke to me this afternoon. Isn't it awesome? And it's mine for just $10.00. Woohoo! I love red birds!

It is done by Susan Sanford, an illustrator and animal lover in Northern California. Her blog is and her illustration website is

I've learned that when you give, you usually get as much or more back. Today, I traded ten dollars for a smile. A small donation but a big reward. And hopefully, in the near future there will be some less oily pelicans because I did small thing with great love.

Wishing for you the knowledge that ... "We don't have to feel helpless. We can help. Our small actions together will ripple outward."*
Merry ME

* from the Ripplescketch website


Fire Byrd said...

each small stone gathered, one day becomes a mountain.

Fire Byrd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.