And just like that here we are in December, the whole year gone by in a blink of an eye. I have been negligent of this blog for a number of reason one of which, I am not proud to admit, is procrastination. Nevertheless I have decided to share with you the highlight of 2019 - my watercolor exhibition.
Little over six month in making with the support of my family and friends it ended up being a truly great experience.
The decision to show my work was fueled in part by my life in a world of modeling, more specifically the rejection aspect of it. We all know the feeling, it is less then unpleasant, but it is an innate nature of modeling, like it or not, but if you choose to connect your life with the world of entertainment, you would be judged on a daily basis…
Growing up I never thought of myself as attractive or beautiful, and I sort of made my peace with it, then I moved to Saint Petersburg and was approached by scouts, I was told I could be a model - for the breath shinny moment my confidence soared “I could be a model’ what a lovely notion for a young girl’s self-esteem, the victory, however, was shot lived, because right after I found out that “my face is unbalanced”, “my torso is way too long” and “my legs are not long enough” the list goes on and on… Very quickly I realized that the industry I am joining in not as rosy as one would hope. This is rather complicated subject and I wouldn’t want to go in depth about it right now, I would just point out that the main problem for me is that modeling in many ways places the value on the way you look and it is becoming hard to separate your own “self" from the “self" that is being judged and chosen or not chosen.
It became important to me to try and find alternative ways of expression, to do something where importance lies not only in the way I look, but in what I can do - so I have decided to share my watercolor works. I need to mention that I was fortunate enough to find people that supported my idea and were so helpful during the whole process and gave me an opportunity to share my ideas.
I have been fascinated with flowers for the very long time. Seemingly fragile, they remain very strong: you can see flowers growing on a side of the mountain, at the highest altitudes; making their way through concrete in a steel jungles, that are our cities; they are striving in the harshest environments and still keep their ability to bloom.
To me a blooming flower symbolizes sheer life force, raw power of creation. There’s many lessons we can take away from it. The flower does not care if you (the beholder) think it is beautiful, the flower will bloom, no matter if you watch it or not, the flower blooms simply because it is in it’s nature… I think we can try to be the same, we can learn to do things, without the need for validation from the outside world, we can be ourselves, simply because it is our nature. So as you can see flowers became central subject for my exhibition.
The idea that something can be both gentle and strong at the same time came through many of my tea ceremony practices, that I have been studying, under graceful guidance of Souheki-san, for past four years. Tea ceremony shows you that in order to make things look seamless and effortless you need to have strong “core", you need to be grounded and balanced. If you find your “tanden”(丹田) and trust in it, your practice will flourish.
Flower celebration and tea ceremony exploration are interconnected to me, that is why I decided to hold two tea ceremony demonstrations in conjunction with my watercolor exhibition to make it more of an immersive experience. Being able to share my passion for Japanese tea ceremony and to talk about my art work, to hear what struck the cord, what people got connected to and inspired by, was surreal, in part because up until the very end I was not sure if anyone will care, if anyone would show up and if what I have even worth sharing.
Through out all the uncertainty and doubt, organizational challenges (and If you ever tried to plan anything you know that things will fall thru at the very las moment ), financial predicaments this “Flower Dreaming” project ended up being the most incredible thing that happened in 2019.
I was amazed by the support I got from my friends and loved ones, turning the idea born out of pain of rejection into the celebration of appreciation - what a great lesson for the year.
So I am guessing the point of this post is this - "do not be afraid to put yourself out there”, “take a chance” and “fear not”. And right now I am talking to myself even more then to anyone else, because I am the most scared person there is.
For 2020 - let stop being afraid, let’s live and bloom just like a flower, simply because it is our nature.
Happy New Year.
P.S. You can see my watercolor work in here www.dinarachetyrova.com/watercolor.html
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Even though I have been living in NYC for the past seven something years Christmas is still a bit of a mystery to me. You see growing up in Russia New Year was always a bigger deal… Oh how Russian people adore New Year, everything gets special attention, from foods, to decoration, to new year’s outfit, everything is in accordance with the New Year symbol (the year of rabbit and what not, I think this coming year is the dog one) we are superstitious this way… So many holiday traditions and make a wish techniques. Christmas is on the other hand gets blurred in. In Russia Christmas is January 7th - so if you are celebrating since December 31 by the time Christmas rolls in everything is a blur…
Oh and Christmas tree, in Russia the tree is meant for the New Year. It gets the same decorations and everything, but the main purpose of it is to be there so Ded Moroz (Santa) can put gifts under the tree and that actually happens on 31st.. So it’s always so surprising for me to see poor, rejected, perfectly normal Christmas trees lying on a sidewalk as early as December 26th… Every year I am thinking of saving them, but I live in a small apartment on a 5 floor walk up … so it is not going to happen.
I had many Christmases in U.S. but somehow, I always feel like I might be doing it wrong, like when are you supposed to have big dinner? Christmas eve or Christmas Day? when do you open the gifts, what do you cook? one year I ended up having dinner at Chinese restaurant ( which was pretty good), the questions are plenty. Since all of my american friends are going home for Christmas, I never get to find out how do americans do it, the proper, traditional, family way, so I make up my own…
This year me and bunch of friends rented a house upstate, around Woodstock. Thanks, airbnb… The place was beautiful, spacious and airy, surrounded by nature, something we all need to escape to after concrete jungle that NYC is… We enjoyed some quiet time, fire place/cabin living and played board games. Your girl lost miserably in the monopoly game, I manage to lose all my streets, houses and got to jail a bunch of times, the only card that was always mine was - “you won 10$ in a beauty contest” ironic, huh, despite that I had tons of fun, plus I finally get to decorate gingerbread house. It is one of those random things… I have been looking at those gingerbread house decorating kits for 7 years now and I always wanted to do that, but no one ever wanted to do that with me, so this time, I decided to do it on my own, got a bunch of helpers with demolition/eating part tho. So happy I finally get a chance to do it! Next thing on a list - piñata! hopefully that won’t take 7 years …
We also explored the area a bit and found Tibetan Monastery in a Catskills. The setting was simply beautiful, afternoon sun beaming thru the trees and prayer flags waving in the air, being a Buddhist I took it as a good luck sign…
Christmas day we woke up to the a Winter Wonderland situation outside the window, it snowed all night and everything was covered with a nice, crispy, sparkling snow. A white Christmas indeed, good luck signs all around.
I still believed it was a good luck sign, even tho, it turned out that our car got a flat tire somewhere along the way and we were faced with the challenge of dealing with this on a Christmas day. Riding all the way from upstate to NYC on a “doughnut” was a bit of an adventure. And here is a curious part - people were generally concerned with us and our car, when they would see us on a rest stops, they’d offer us a pump to put more air in the spare wheel ( everyone seemed to think we need more air), they’d shake there head in concern and wish us a safe travels and this was really nice and sweet of them, but when I called many many many tire repairs and body shops along the way, no one was willing to help, granted most places were closed due to the holidays, but even those who picked up the phone, did not want to deal with me, they would generally try to shake me off, give me someone else’s phone number or just flat out say - there’s nothing they could do. My, in my opinion, golden argument - “but it’s Christmas” and we got a flat tire and it’s cold and we need to make it back to NYC did not work at all… Most people were generally annoyed by me asking for help… I got so upset by all the rejection that I had to ask my friends to take over googling/calling duties. Finally we found one place in East Harlem. Thank you LUGO flat fix guys, you da best! So this story after all got a happy ending and we made it safe and sound.
Funny thing is that being exposed to Christmas culture mostly thru hollywood movies I really thought that - "it is Christmas" argument would work and someone (probably 6 foot handsome) will show up and help us all :D. Life is not a movie, of course, but you know what, I think we can make it better.
So no matter what you celebrate and how you celebrate, I hope you do it with the people you care for, I hope you are happy and peaceful and I hope we all be a little nicer to each other Christmas or not.
and as an admitted “Home Alone” lover - I live you with this:
“Merry Christmas, you filthy animals! and a Happy NEW YEAR”