Thursday, March 20, 2014

"A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" Takes a New Turn with EBV-F

If you want  to capture the vision of EBVF and why I need to bring "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective", around the country as a not for profit business; this applies to what I see.

Last week, I had the privilege to be a part of and now, am a graduate of the Institute for Veterans and Families at Syracuse University.  The Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans Families (EBV-F) had an online class the month before, a residency week at the Whitman School of Management, and sometimes we slept at the Sheraton next door.  There were "25 Amazing Women and One Man"!  What an inspiration they are!  Every business idea was focused in one way or another to help our Veterans and the communities they serve from all over our country, one from Hawaii and another whose husband is now stationed in England.  As I was presented with my plaque and had a challenge coin slapped into my hand, I hugged it, went to my seat and just wept.  Thank you EBV-F; I am learning to do the business right and filling in the holes of what I do not know.  Another part of my journey is beginning.


This is what I discovered within me:  I am a "Social Entrepreneur", that means I have something to teach, to enlighten people about a cause.  Definitely I am a "bootstrapper".  Definitely, I am in need of funding and grants because there is no capital here!  And, I say it with whimsy because inside I believe, it too will fall into place with a lot of work and effort.  The decision to make this series a 501c3 not for profit organization is because I had met with resistance in planning certain events who wanted non profits only.  By having that status I will be able, in most cases to sell my "Heroes Among Us Poster Project", which are posters of the paintings in the series selling for $30.00 each to help partially fund and move the series around the country.  I will need to have sponsors and partners in helping "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective", so I will be incorporating that into the business and website (that is still under construction-keep hitting the blog to read more on the series as I go).  And thank you for all your support through the years.  It has been a pleasure writing since I started way back in 2011!

As a Social Entrepreneur, it is my passion to teach what it is like for our Veterans and their families currently serving and those also who have returned home.  There are Heroes Among Us and America, you need to know who your heroes are.  I am teaching through my 20 paintings their experience from a parents perspective because, as a civilian, I want to pull you into understanding the warrior who is coming home.  There are stories of courage, fear, sadness, joy, protectors, defenders of freedom, exhaustion, relentless commitment, and a sense of peace in the midst of chaos.

I didn't get into this for the accolades of a Portrait Artist or to be seen.  It wasn't born out of weakness, while I bit off my fingernails during Forest's deployments.  Not so much a way to make sense of this thing called War but as a way to express their experience so America can understand.  There are Heroes Among Us.  I bring them honor and a sense of connection to our country they have sacrificed so dearly for.  Some are in harms way right now, some are on a base, and many are back here in our neighborhoods.  Do you know them?  They are beautiful men and women.  Warriors, protectors who carry with them the fabric of all that makes this country so blessed.  And I, will tell their stories, I promise.

As Mike Haynie observed, I have to.  Please take time to watch an incredible Veteran, Teacher and leader, Mike you are my hero for your vision in how to make a difference for our Veterans.  Thank you, I am so blessed to know you and I see that big heart.  http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=2gt9Kc2W3IE&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoSWhIUiGang%26list%3DPLRn-1Cxfnb622BJNrj9k6iN77-3MYS9pp%26feature%3Dshare%26index%3D1

So, after Mike's talk and what you experience through "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective", connect with a Vet.  You won't just shake his hand now, but you will understand their need to be connected and welcomed back into the country they have so diligently protected and served.  Hire them, you couldn't ask for better skill sets.  Ask how you can make their life better?  That is an open ended question and you never know the incredible answers that may come your way.  Open your hearts and respond as best you can!

Next Month I will be at the 4th tank Battalion' event.  I will have more details as the 1st Sgt will be giving soon.  I cannot wait to tell their stories once again.  More to come

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Evening Presentation with a Marine Escort, Heroes Among Us Poster Project

Thank You, Thank you, Thank you all who came out last night to The Art Store where I presented "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective among so many friends, family, fellow artists and my Veterans.  I was escorted by Sgt Charles Toro, USMC in those beautiful dress blues up to our gallery space and I am so honored to have one of my heroes do that for me.  If you are reading this Charles, I thank you again.  I have to say I am such a fan of my Marines.  At Camp Lejeune the 3/6 called me a Marine Momma, it was earned and forever I will be. The exhibit will be up for the next two weeks.  On Monday I will have a synopsis of each story to post below each painting.

Below is the launching of a new "Heroes Among Us" Poster Project of each of the paintings available at $30.00 each.  Collect them all!  My giclee prints are also available, check out the gallery pages and order one. The proceeds will go to help the series move around the country.  There are several events that will be coming up in Mattydale, NY, Cayuga Community College and I am working on 1st Marine division's Reunion in Charleston, SC.

Heroes Among Us

1% of our population in the USA is serving in our 
military and currently in harms way at this very moment.  For the rest of the 99% of American Citizens, we hear and see news about the 14 year long war in Afghanistan.  Once aired, we generally put it away in our mind without comprehending just what they are doing out there.  I am a parent with a story, not just to tell, but a bridge to build by teaching about their sacrifice through my painting series, "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective".


There are heroes among us;
they are coming home America!

Do you know who your Heroes are?

You can also help me get this series out to
America about what our heroes have sacrificed for the freedoms they protect for you and I.  When you purchase a giclee or poster prints from my collection of
"A Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective", you will help bring these stories
around our nation. 


 

Time to focus on several paintings in the works.  I will be working on an acrylic of Lcpl Danny Thoryk, USMC and his dog.  How does "The Dog Handler" sound for a title? Danny's Grandparents Pat and Bunny were at the presentation last night. Remember the shark that made its way into the story "A Time For Peace"?  Pat was responsible for that shark.  Hmmm!  Maybe their ought to be a Susquatch for Danny's dog to find.  More to come on that story.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Presentation Jan 24th and "Heroes Among Us" Poster Project

On Friday, January 24th I will present "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective"  at the Art Store 935 Erie Blvd East Syracuse NY 13210.  This is a full presentation as I walk through all of the paintings and their stories.  Please come.  It would be an honor to have you there.
              You are Cordially invited to the
Presentation and Art Opening Of

“A Military Series—A Parent’s Perspective”






By Sharon A. Blair, Proud Mom of
Cpl  Forest Blair, USMC

Join in on the “Heroes Among Us”
Poster Project Sale and Share their Stories



I will also be launching my "Heroes Among Us" Poster Project.  More to come.  Invite day and I will be running around to invite people.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Look Into The Celebrations of our Young Warriors




My Marines have taught me so much through these years since Forest earned that title.  Their families shaped and developed the warriors heart without realizing the part they played.  A young person takes a look at a great big world to step into and decides there is a difference to be made.  Someone has to step up to take on the task. Somewhere deep inside themselves they answer a call that quietly beckoned the warrior within to the final leg of a challenge called the Crucible.  In the end these young men and women earned the title Marine.  Now is their time.  What was instilled by their families becomes something to protect.  This warrior will shield, protect and   Thier battle cry: "Oorah" and always "Semper Fidelis" (always faithful).  I chose this picture to be one of my portraits because I want America to know know that these warriors are young and Lcpl Borio is the perfect example of the average age that starts in to represent our country.

At the 2013 Veteran's Day Parade and Expo their stories were shared again and the Marine Corp Ball was a celebration I will not forget.

Sorry I have not finished this post sooner; (it sat in a draft for the month of December).  Christmas and New Year have come and gone.  I have been very busy with the season and the commission work. We have a new year upon us and a very full one indeed.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So Exciting! A Week For Our Heroes

Yes this is an exciting week for me.  First of all look at this! http://npaper-wehaa.com/syracusenewtimes/2013/11/06/?article=2065516   Forest is on the front cover of the Syracuse New Times during this week of remembering our Veterans.

I have been interviewed by many journalists in the past; this one, is the best. I am so grateful to Larry Dietrich, the editor of the Syracuse New Times, my good friend and great artist Meaghan Arbital, designer and all the staff.  Thank you from the bottom of this Marine Momma's heart to all the staff who helped get my deepest heart message out to America.

Many times people want to know why I did "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective", assuming I did it as a way to cope with my worries of Forest being in a war.  That is not the reason I painted these.  It is about their stories, their experiences and how a parent sees a warriors service.  Not just her own son, but the many warriors and the resilient families that proudly stand behind them.   To be "coping with the worries of Forest being at war" would be cowering and weak.  You learn to seek the things that make you strong. My faith kept me strong, even during my darkest hours I was not alone.  My Syracuse Marine Parents listened to me when I feared and built me up. There were many hours spent talking with my 3rd Marine 6th Battalion parents, relationships that are strong and steadfast. My son and every Veteran old and young that I have met, who by example taught me to be brave.  In the midst of all they were going through, I learned to walk tall; I had nothing to complain about.   I painted out of strength and purpose, learning so much about Forest and myself during this time.  What this painting series mission"s purpose is done is out of gratitude for my warriors and the bridge I am building to teach America about their service.  Thank you for all you do.

Come to the Veterans Parade and Expo at the New York State Fairgrounds Saturday the 9th from 10 - 3 with a parade at 10 and the expo all day!  I will be debuting "Our Kids Meet Their Kids".  Check out their ev everydayness in a warzone taking time to stop and share a little one on one fun with the local kids in Afghanistan.  You wonder what kind of job skills a Machine Gunner might have to fit into a job here in America?  Try Embassador, Teacher, Interpreter, Negotiator and think about all the possibilities. Their stepping into the lives of children who live in such an impoverished war torn country sets a tone that I pray lasts generations.  You change the world for the better one step at a time.

So America come see who your Heroes are today.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

"America, Do You know Who Your Heroes Really Are?" and New Events Around the Corner

Have another painting coming in the future.  Take a look at this picture of Cpl Arthur Lucero, USMC "Hi Fiving" one of the Afghan children.  They just flocked to these men because they were a cause for sharing joy and hope.  I just want to catch the spirit I see.

Just finished The Apple Festival's 5k run and I am looking at some other runs coming up.  Proudly wore my Hope For The Warriors jersey.  I'm working still at raising more monies for them so, if you would like to donate, my link is still working at http://rpx.me/1/HJrp.  They do so much for our wounded warriors, and military families.  It is time for all of us to get out the message about our Military "America, Do You know Who Your Heroes Really Are?"

The painting "our Kids Meet Their Kids" is almost finished and the other Acrylic painting "A Dog Handler" will turn the corner with its details.

The upcoming event for "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" is just around the corner for a busy November.  The Veterans parade and Expo will be on November 9th at the New York State Fairgrounds to say Thank you to our Veterans from every branch to every conflict our Military has gone through to protect our freedoms.  The Parade starts at the Grandstand at 10:00 just outside the Center of Progress Building.  Following the parade, the full series will be at the Expo with many groups and organizations with a message close to my heart, "America, do you know who our heroes really are?  Heroes under 30 have been nominated for recognition, and there is a job fair for Veterans.

On the evening of The Marine Corp's 23 Birthday, Central New York will celebrate with the traditional Marine Corp Ball.  And I will get more info posted here as soon as I can.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Final Stages of "Our Kids Meet Their Kids" - What My Paintings Teach Me

"Our Kids Meet Their Kids", is in its final stages.  And so many times my paintings teach me for they are not mere photos that come my way in which I just add paint and mimic the image.  America needs to know their heroes.  That is what this series is about in teaching the average American Citizen what our sons and daughters are doing, what its like to be in a war zone, brought their to serve.  They stand in the gap, protecting our peace and freedom to make a difference in this world.  So remember, not only a difference here in the USA, they also provide a protection for the new found to the freedom of the people of Afghanistan in this 13 year long war.  It is my hope "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" tells their stories.


Lcpl Michael Parris, USMC was on a local security patrol, had stopped with his his camera to mingle with the local children.  Part of that patrol, Cpl Chris Leonard, USMC took this shot.  As I have painted so many portraits, it the natural part of the artist in me that wants to fix anything that is not proportionate.  Notice the shoes on the child with his back to the camera.  I struggled with them because they are so big.  Why is he wearing such big shoes.  They live in the growing district in the Helmand Province, so most likely these are farmers children.  It is dusty and dirty out there, yet their shoes are so white?  Then it struck me, remember this is Afghanistan and these children live in such poverty that getting a new pair of shoes is no small feet - literally!  Many times our sons would write back asking for us to send along clothing for children.  Those shoes are now in true proportion.  They are three sizes too large and he may need to wear those for 2-3 years.  The children of Afghanistan have come to love meeting up with our Marines.  Our kids meet their kids with such fondness.  Many are reminded of their own sons and daughters, younger brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews back at home.  It sure is a pleasure to take time with these children.  Can't help but ponder how our kids have impacted their lives in a positive way.    

Many people ask me "How long does it take you to finish a painting?'.  My quick reply is approximately three weeks if I were to paint constantly without interruption.  The group paintings do take much longer approximately a year in the process, such a wonderful opportunity to learn and bring out their stories.  .