It's been a while since coming on here, mostly because of the end of the school year being loaded with schoolwork and co-op interviews (and everything in between).
In June, I picked up a seriously awesome project for my English class, where I was actually able to translate a piece I wrote during the year into another medium, so naturally I chose to paint something. I used my initial blog post about Pop as my original piece and took a photo we had of him to paint, and turned it into this. It was a risk, but it was so worth it in the end.
After the school year ended, I hit a serious artist's block. I moved into a new college dorm for a 10 week self-driven research project. I designed and am in the midst of conducting said research project. And in the middle of that, I accepted my first co-op position (woohoo!!) and picked up some shifts with them during the week, all while facing the city heat and fun that not having classes brings. All of these are great, don't get me wrong, but I definitely hit an artistic wall.
I've done a few small things, though.
And just when I though inspiration struck, I began to paint this tribute to citrus...
And, after not touching this piece for two weeks after this photo was taken, I picked it up again. But this time, I just painted over it completely, accepting that currently my inspiration lies with something that is not this.
So here is my photographic inspiration from Lake Como in Italy from my trip there last summer. I came across this photo in my cameral roll the other day, and let me tell you it was like I struck gold. This photo is what monochromatic landscape dreams are made of- not to be dramatic or anything.
So I began painting this, and I was suddenly inspired again. I picked up a brush and was excited again. Yeah, maybe it took two months for me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, but that's just the way life works. What I realized is that while I wasn't producing anything I was in love with after I painted Pop's portrait, I became recharged for my next big project.
I'll be sure to post the finished painting, but for now, you'll just have to wait.
'Tis the season for high school seniors to commit to college. Last December I was accepted into Drexel University's nursing program, and how the times have changed. Yes, I committed to Drexel, but I did not commit to that whole nursing thing. Shortly before coming to school, I switched to be a health science major. Approximately four weeks into coming to school, I realized that maybe I didn't like being a science major as much as a thought I would, but I pay MAJOR respect to the science majors out there.
So, here I am, fourth week of my third quarter of freshman year as a marketing major, ready to apply for my first co-op which will begin in the fall and ready to take part in a summer research program here in Philly. I am where I am supposed to be and I wouldn't change it for the world.
I started making these shoes around April of last year, and I never would have though that I would make over twenty pairs in less than a month in anticipation for Decision Day. It's funny how my style has developed over time on the shoes. Where I once exclusively used Sharpies, I now use a mix of marker and paint. And here I am, somehow still making these shoes. It's so crazy how word gets around about things you create, let alone about a pair of extremely spirited shoes.
When several people reached out to me this year seeing if I was still making college shoes, my natural instinct was to say that I was. I was ready to have a really fun reason to procrastinate my own school work, but also a way to de-stress in a school on a quarter system. So, here they are- some college sneakers I've made for some really cool people who have committed to some great schools. I had so much fun making them and making each shoe so different from another, and hope they have as much joy representing their school as I did creating them.
There's no better feeling than knowing where you'll spend the next few years, especially if it is at a place you love. I know for sure that I am in the right place that holds an unbelievable amount of opportunity.
Here's to Philly, Drexel, and finding the place where you belong, no matter where that may be. There are just seven more weeks of my freshman year here and four more years to go. Four more years of some of the most fun I've had with some of the best people I've met. People always say this is the best time of your life, and where I think that statement is a stretch, college sure as hell is a great time.
Pop was clearly the coolest grandfather anyone could have. Who else could say that their grandpa was a racecar driver? Who else could say they launched flaming pumpkins into a backyard pond with a catapult built by their grandpa? Who else can say that their grandfather took them to a jazz club in the middle of no where in New Jersey late at night with the excuse of “maybe they have ice cream.”? No one else could. No one else had the Pop we did.
Pop always fostered my love for art. When trying to find something to paint over winter break, I found myself starting a painting, but not being able to get into it. Nothing was seeming right. But then, I came across a picture I took of Pop’s barn from late August- the first time I had been at his house since he passed that June. It was a gray day- there were spotty showers. We had headed down to the house to start up Moonglow, the Chevy Bel Air Hardtop he had built (also where the name of this blog comes from), in hopes of bringing it up to Lead East, the car show he had always gone to. In the instant the car started, there was a bright clearing in the sky. I snapped this photo with no thought, I just did. There was something so beautiful about this place- perhaps it was the fun we had there or maybe just the association it had to Pop. I’m glad I got this picture.
I began painting and everything needed to be perfect. Despite the pressure I felt to make this painting perfect, everything fell into place. It somehow ended up being the easiest thing I’ve done. Why did I choose to do it in black and white? I don’t know. It seemed right. Being someone who hates small intricacies, somehow, I found myself focusing on the smallest details, something Pop would do with his cars. For two weeks, I would work on this piece, taking it section by section. It’s a Wonderful Life played in the background. “I wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog!” The words that brought Pop to tears every year when he watched this movie. Like my cousin Erin had said, his eyes billowed with these tears because he knew he had a million dollars. His family was his million dollars. It was only natural that I would paint with this movie playing in the background- Pop’s legacy was my family’s million dollars.
Two weeks and countless hours later, the painting was done- it was Christmas Eve. Looking at the barn and the big trees, I could only feel Pop with me. Suddenly I could picture Pop sharing his ice cream with the dogs in the family. I picture Pop piling all of us, his grandkids, into Moonglow- no headlights, no seatbelts, just eight kids- to take us for a spin down the country roads. I could only picture Tony Feil, our Pop, sitting in the crowd at any performance or sporting event, tears in his eyes. I couldn’t help but think about the countless cards he had written to us, about how happy he was that I chose the college his mother had attended. This yard, this barn, this was all him. This was where he brought his family together. As much as every one of us would kill to have him back, the legacy he left is remarkable.
So, here’s to you, Pop. Thank you for always giving me the fuel to keep creating. Thank you for giving our family all you did and for always being at every event possible. Thank you for making everything fun and for teaching us to live life to the absolute fullest. Thank you for giving all of us endless support in everything we did. Thank you for being the incredible man you were. I hope this painting captures the beauty this place was for us, though nothing will ever do it justice. Pop, I hope you’re drinking a Rolling Rock, listening to good music, and racing up there.
We all miss and love you endlessly.