November 24, 2021

Give Thanks

         Tomorrow I will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and it is a good time to share a brand-new project that I think has a lot to do with gratitude.  Despite the complicated history of the origins of Thanksgiving, despite the fact that the national myth of The First Thanksgiving has been badly skewed, despite the fact that some people may feel they have little to be thankful for in the arrival of new people on these shores 400 years ago, I persist in my belief that it is a good thing to celebrate gratitude.  I am grateful for my home, which is on such beautiful land of the Pawtucket people — and of me and my family.  I am grateful for that family, and I am grateful for the people I don’t know or love so well, who still are part of the fabric of my community, and who love their own homes and their own families.  I’m grateful for the people who produce and sell me food and art supplies and books and all the other things - both necessary and merely delightful - that make my life so good.  I’m grateful for the people who buy my art and books (or even just say nice things about them!) so that I feel supported and encouraged in doing this thing I love.
        One of those people is a friend who last week saw the sketch of a block I’ve just started working on.  She said that I should make the design into a coloring page, and we could share it with anyone who needs a little reminder, in these times of fear and hatred and anxiety, that each day we can make the choice to try to live in a whole different mode altogether.  So that’s what I’ve done!
        Feel free to download this coloring page HERE and color it as beautiful or eye-catching or cheerful or soothing as you desire!  Print lots of copies and bring them with you to your Thanksgiving get-together, and let everyone in the family color as you wait for the turkey to come out of the oven!  Send the colored pages to family and friends who couldn’t be with you, or drop them in your neighbors’ mailboxes; share this link with everyone you know… and then do it: try to fill your day with love in every way you can, whether that’s forgiving someone who hurts your feelings, or realizing that you might be hurting someone else, or being kind to the people in the shops (especially if you actually go out shopping during the crazy post-Thanksgiving shopping rush when people tend to get a little harried and cranky!)  Reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with, send a note of gratitude to someone who is important in your life, smile at everyone you pass when you’re out for a walk - and don’t be swayed by anyone who’s trying to fill your day with hatred.  Just try your very best to love them anyway, even while firmly not allowing them to do their hateful things.  Even you being just one person doing this will absolutely make a difference, and if we all do it, it will a change the world.
        Okay, that turned into a bit more of a sermon than I was intending.  In fact, all I really wanted to say was that I am full of gratitude.  My art and my writing tend to be the parts of my gratitude that overflow and spill out so much that I want to share them with everyone, which is what I wanted to do with this coloring page today.  If you want to share it, too, that would make me very happy.  And if you want to share your colored masterpieces back with me and with the wider world, I would love to post a gallery of them all!  So snap a picture of coloring in progress and/or the finished piece, and email it to me.  (Rather than post my email here, I’ll direct you to go to my web site, go to the bottom right-hand corner, and smash that “Contact Me” link.)
          As for the block for which this was just the design, I started carving a bit at a demo last weekend, but I am exercising incredible restraint in saving it to carve during upcoming shows.  In due course, when the block is actually finished and printed, I will be sure to let you know.  Also, if you want some additional coloring pages of my designs, you can find a collection here: Stay-at-Home Activities 1.
        Happy Thanksgiving and love to all!

[Pictures: Fill This Day coloring page, by AEGN, 2021;

All in this Together, rubber block print by AEGN.]


The Aging Wordsmith said...


What a wonderful message thy latest carving brings to us. The fact is that when I first saw it I said to myself that this should be a coloring page. Though thee may not realize it, I wake up each morning feeling that way about our family. It is more of a challenge transferring those thoughts to people I really don't know much about, other than to disagree with their intention to hurt others. We sure have a lot of work to do, but know that doing that work can make our love spread.
Thanks for this message. I hope that it finds a very wide audience.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Yay! Glad thee likes it!

Unknown said...

looking for a little inspiration in woodblock printing and just found your blog,
So far I've found nothing nearly as well done out there. Such a breadth of content!
And so well presented and clear. thanks so very, very much