I will be at the M1-5 Lounge in Tribeca. I am really looking forward to this show. I have been to New York only one other time and that was for fun. This is going to be great to see another side of the city. I am also really looking forward to seeing all the other art. There should be so many wonderful artists, I can't wait to see all the creativity. Art is so apart of me and apart of every artists. I feel that when you look at a piece you see what is behind the artist's eyes. That when I connect with a piece I connect with the artist.
I am not going to lie and say I am all calm and cool. I am really nervous. This is far outside my comfort zone and it is a bar of sorts so that is going to be a bit for me. Since I got sober I am continually surprised by how much alcohol is around me and built into society. It's all noise to me now but, occasionally that noise gets interrupted by a loud sound. That sound is me slipping a bit and the demon of drink is able to ask to be invited in. I hold firm but, man is that demon suductive sometimes.
crush the day!
The resort we stayed at (link here) kakslauttanen was magical. It was so snowy and cold, I have never been that cold in all my life. It got down to -4 C. I am so glad me and my girlfriend got snow gear. I personally spent what I thought was too much money for cold weather gear. Every penny spent was worth it and yet I was still cold. I purchased these ugg boots for men called Butte ( I didn't catch em on sale). These boots were warm and yet the reindeer ride I was so cold. When the clouds parted and the aurora was shining I had to periodically get into the tent that was set up and get next to the fire.
I have lived most of my life in southern California where it doesn't get that cold. It gets pretty cold up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Mojave desert not so much. When I was a kid it snowed a foot deep out in Lucerne Valley CA but still nothing like Finland. The coldest I ever got was 0 degrees -20 with the windchill in Ft.Sill Ok. Kakslauttanen is just cold all the time in February.
Preparation and seeing the Aurora made it all worth it. Venus was in the night sky during our adventure in Finland. It was so bright I thought it was a man made light tower on some mountain. It seemed like a distant spot light. The night sky in Ivalo was majestic.
We only stayed one night in the glass igloo. Then we switched over to the queen suite for three nights. It has a private sauna and this SoCal guy was in it a lot. It has this shower by this very large bathtub. I have never felt so pampered in my entire life. The doors on this place (actually every place) are those big freezer doors. It keeps so warm in there. The room has a jacuzzi on its own private deck. Me and my girlfriend went in it at night when the temp was a -1C. We couldn't stop laughing it was so cold. The water was nice at 80F but it was just ridiculously cold. We kind of had to do it in our birthday suits to say we did it. We ran back in as fingers were sticking to things from the cold. I had to quickly shut everything off and put the cover back on and get back in the warm cabin.
All the hotel staff made it so easy and fun. The staff at Kakslauttanen made it so easy to book adventures and activities. The food was different from what I am used to and it was great. It was buffet style breakfast which is scrumptious. The berry juice isn't too sweet and oh so good. The dinners is a pre planned meal they have a few choices in the plan (meat, fish, and vegetarian). You can order from a different menu and it will cost. To be honest stick with the preplanned menu it is fantastic. I ordered a menu item and it was just ok but, I had a salmon dinner from the preplanned and oh my was it good.
I wish I had an ability to keep my memories fresh because I don't want to forget anything that happened on this trip.
My girlfriend showed me this picture of glass igloos in the snow. It was a brochure to a glass igloo hotel deep in the arctic circle. We started talking about how cool that would be and how much I wanted to see the Northern lights. We ( my girlfriend and me) flew in to Helsinki on the 12th of Feb.
Helsinki was the best. We stayed in the Hilton located right here next to the ocean. It was amazing to see as the sea would freeze people would walk out onto it. According to one of our cab drivers "crazy" people.
We took a ferry to Suomenlinna, which is this island fortress. It is so pretty and the museums are as fantastic as their restaurants. The sunset was just jaw dropping. The ferry ride back as it was becoming night time was incredible. The ice on the water being broken and pushed aside as the lights of the city started to come on.
We continued our journey up north, way up north. We landed in Ivalo. Oh my word you should go to this hotel they have glass igloos so you can watch the Aurora at night. It was snowing on that night for us but, the following night as we were on a reindeer sleigh ride when the sky cleared for a display of the northern lights. It was magical. We went on a dog sled excursion which was fantastic. I got to drive first then my girlfriend. We were allowed to pet the dogs at the end. The smile was on my face despite the cold. Oh and protip when they tell you to take the extra heavy clothing do it. I had on so many layers of high quality snow gear on that I didnt think I would need it. The staff politely insisted and so many thanks that they did. I could feel the cold thru all their equipment and mine.
We went back to Helsinki for another day before the return trip home. We went to a grocery store there and quickly learned how different things are even as they are the same. This was a once in a lifetime journey for me, spending it with my girlfriend made it epic. If you have are planning a once in a lifetime trip go to Ivalo and see the Northern lights. The people there are the friendliest it was contagious. I wish I could thank each person I came across they made it special. Oh and the guy that runs the Northern Lights Tank excursion, awesome dude you have to meet him.
What an amazing adventure, pictures here.
Me and my girlfriend were talking and I mentioned I have never been out of the country other than Mexico. I mentioned how I had a new passport with no stamps on it. She asked if I have ever been to Niagara Falls. "Uh nope, always wanted to go".
So we drove up to Canada oh and it was so much fun. The drive was great, I got another state under my belt. Buffalo is a very pretty city all the brickwork, it truly is amazing. I still like St. Louis more but that is another story.
I booked a hotel with a large bathtub (cause I love big bathtubs) which was at the Wyndham. Really nice hotel, the staff was great and the view was ok. It is a short walk to the falls and really good restaurants.
I missed my opportunity to go on a helicopter when I was in the Army (long story), so my girlfriend mentions that there is a nearby company that does this. She isn't the biggest fans of helos. The Niagara Helicopters had quiet aircraft and very fast. They are flying several all day so the wait time isn't that much. The views (look at my pinterest pics) are stunning. The pilot takes long banking turns so even my girlfriend had fun. You can purchase a photo at the end which of course we did.
We had lunch at Elements on the Falls which has a wonderful menu. My girlfriend and I tend to eat lighter meals and their menu had an assortment of light and great tasting foods. The view is magical. We had a table near the windows and the falls are a hundred feet away.
Canada was great. This trip made me want to see other parts of Canada like Toronto. From the Skylon tower you can see it.
Sometimes when I am creating I put on youtube and have some background stuff going on and this week I have gone with The Hot Ones. This is one funny interview show. I enjoy some hot sauce but, damn. Sean interviews some of my favorite celebs and super stars.
Check it out here
Seriously after watching how hot some get watch Rachael Ray and how she tastes each one with a spoon and doesn't even phase her. Some especially chefs are seemingly impervious to the hotness. Seriously watch the Padma episode.
There are so so may staircases and steps in Pittsburgh it completely caught me off guard when I moved out here from San Diego. I have climb more steps in the 8 months of being out here (as I am writing this) then my entire adult life living in Southern California, Arizona, and Oklahoma. I was a health nut before moving out here always taking the stairs now being here oh man I take an elevator every chance I get.
I sold this painting at the night market event I had on Friday the 21st. I was talking to this guy by the name of Dave who was captured by it. He too struggles with alcoholism, he was having a rough time with it. He told me he couldn't afford the painting but, loved looking at it. We talked about sobriety and how hard it is to maintain it at times. I asked where he would hang it, he said above his bed so he could look at it and draw some power from it. I told him to come back when I was closing up and to give me however much money he had in his pocket and it would be his.
Sure enough he came back later and told me he only had 20, I shook his hand and gave him the painting with the poem and asked if he would call me if he was ever feeling tempted and wanted to stay clean.
I invite anyone who is having a hard time staying sober or just wants to talk about how great life is sober and hell how it isn't that great sometimes to contact me. I may start a group up here in Pittsburgh where we can celebrate sobriety.
Dave I hope the painting helped and thanks for talking to me.
I had such a great time in Philly, it is so pretty and at night it is even more so. The other artists at the show where phenomenal. So much talent packed into a gorgeous venue. I got a chance to talk and meet a lot of very nice local Philly people. The city is bursting with excitement and a general warmth for someone like myself from out of town. There was a lot of buzz around my painting " darkness rain" it seems this painting (top left in photo) captures so many people. Till next show.
I cannot wait RAW Philadelphia April 12th. I have never been to Philly and cant wait to see all the art and meet all the people.
This was such a fun time for me, I had so much positive feedback. Lots of people enjoyed my art and some after talking to me and finding the messages behind the art became fans. I sold "chasm", "broken string", and "creature". Three very happy customers. There were so many really amazing artists that attended, I was blown away by the hula hoop performer, something that I would think is so simple and she made it look so amazing.
Lots of people enjoyed my poems and as always really enjoyed talking with people and letting people know me. It is kind of weird someone with anxiety can talk all about my art which is a reflection of the inner most part of myself. I cannot wait to do this again.
I dont know what started it but, I felt like doing a poem a day till June. I want to see if I can keep the poetry fresh even when I am writing a new one everyday. So far not too challenging, I do have to make time.
When I write a poem I like to be around inspiration but, I have to be quiet. I try to have everything off. I try to focus on my emotions before I write. I usually have something floating in my brain that I can get into a vulnerable head space. I put my emotions or whatever is bothering me right to the front of my mind and let it take over. It can make me kind of sensitive afterwards, it makes it feel weird when I am talking to my girlfriend after and I am still a bit in the negative headspace.
I have had so many bouts with anxiety and alcoholism that I just dive into those feelings. I just have to remember to come up for air so I dont drown.
It is a weird word to say, most often when I tell people they imagine I cannot see color at all. I guess it should be called blurred color perception. I see red and green its is just when they are pretty close in value they become one color. It happens with browns/green/red/orange also with blue/purple. Sometimes I see a blue as a purple and sometimes as a blue it depends on what color is next to it or if I know technically what color it is supposed to be. During the fall out here in Pittsburgh my girlfriend kept asking if I could tell what color some of the trees were. I saw everything as green even though she was pointing out red or brown leaves everything was green. This was my first fall on the east coast so I excited to see it but, as she kept asking I realized how much I was missing out. I plan on experimenting with color and my perception of it. I know there are so many others who have a difficult time seeing color.
I sometimes take opinions of my work be it commercial art or personal art as an attack on my personal character. I have been fighting this my entire adult life, I have come to the belief that it may be from my child hood.
My mother was very critical of my work and I took it as a judgement on me as a person. I grew up trying to gain affection from my mother, one of the ways was my art. Since she was an artist herself I felt I could connect with her through that and as she would pull my work apart or not even acknowledge it (which was most cases) I would see my effort to gain love tossed aside. I started to dislike all criticism as I started to see that as a way of a person to attack who I am. I know this isn't the case but, it is so hard to fight the initial knee jerk reaction and to cover my work and hide it away so no one can attack me. My first art show was for an organization called RAW here which was terrifying to me. I had all the stuff I had worked on displayed out with no website, social media outlet or anything. I had just a few dozen hand drawn business cards and a table. I felt naked, My brother and his wife were there which was so awesome my mother even made it out. My mother wasn't there to see my show though she actually never responded to my asking her to go she responded to me asking my brother and his wife to go. My mother actually asked my brother if he was going and asked him if she could go. It kind of hit me in a weird spot but, I brushed it off as I usually do until the only comment on my work was to criticize it.
The thing that I am learning from all this is to not take criticism of my work as a personal slight because most people are just voicing their opinions not trying to attack me. Normal people just say what they like and don't like about an art piece and it is completely subjective and all of that is separate from how a person may feel about me or my skill set. #soberart #joshuabrowder #soberartblog
Sobriety has its tough days and easy days for me hell sometimes its tough minutes and easy minutes. The thirst is always present always tempting me, just some days are easier than others. The first time I tried to get sober was right after my divorce in mid 2000 and I was for almost six months. It was a really bad point in my life my ex-wife left me for my best friend of that time and I lived there for as long as I could till I left the state leaving my daughter behind. I was devastated by the loss of all of what I thought at the time "my life". I was unfortunately surrounded by alcohol and after a few months in Apple Valley California I broke and started drinking again. I started and went for broke, drinking all the time. I said to everyone just weekends but I would indulge when I could.
I was a functional drunk (or kept telling myself) till 2008. An incident the year before had me reassessing my drinking, I had a great job, life was good and I could loose everything. I wanted my daughter to live with me and I couldn't do that drunk. So I quite it all on my birthday and didn't get drunk for 5 years. I celebrated the night with my brother and getting drunk and haven't done that since. I am shooting for another 5 years but no celebration this time. The thirst is always there though. Most days I avoid it, I stopped hanging out with some people just because of how hard it is to be reminded. How hard it is to fight against that voice saying "wouldn't a drink be nice, just have one".
I am remind myself how it would destroy my life, how it would harm my body. How much time and effort I have put into both. It is there though. If anyone is having a tough time or need to chat go to my contact page. #soberartwork #artwork #joshuabrowder
I have been struggling with alcoholism for a very long time, I got sober for the second time in 2008. It was a good year for me just I had one small slip up and I realized I could loose everything I worked so hard for. I had finally got in a really good life situation after working so hard to get somewhere after my divorce 8 years before that. I knew I had to stop and start taking care of myself. I didnt like to paint or draw while I was drinking so pretty much not so much drawing for me.
During my continued push for sobriety I started to deal with all my emotions. I had no idea how to deal with all of it, I have always dropped myself into a bottle to escape my emotions to escape the life I was in. It took me a few years to get a grip on some of it during this time period I pushed my workout to an extreme. I started to do some 5k events some triathlon sprints and just focus on my health of my body. In 2015 I picked up my paint brushes again and started to put all of my emotions on canvas to deal with the health of my mind. So all the pent up frustrations, all the rage, all the emotions I cant figure out what to do with, I try to get it out on canvas.
Most of my work is abstract pure emotions. Sometimes I dont know what I am feeling I try to work through it as I am painting. Sometimes when I get a craving to drink I stop everything and paint to get it out of my head.
All images are original works of art created by and are the sole property of Joshua Browder. These works of art may not be used for commercial purposes.