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Leslie Sinclair's Art Show & Fundraiser for Homeless in Seattle

Updated on January 3, 2014

Give to the Homeless & Take Home an Oil Painting

The Opening of my new Art Show My Take on Arab Spring included my Fundraiser for a newly sprouted organization formed to help the homeless in Seattle, called Homeless In Seattle.

Volunteers helped hang my new Art Show

They all support the notion of providing what we can to the unfortunate, and they support my artwork. No, artists don't always hang their own shows, but our gallery owner is expecting soon and so she turned everything over to me.

Last month I sold prints of my work at a community mosque event and made some new friends through their interest in my paintings. I'm a convert to Islam and had been stirred by Arab Spring to the point where I began a new series, and the prints sold that day included some of the new work, spanning 2011 - 2013.

Below I share my motivation for this project of mine

photo credit: detail oil painting © 2006 Leslie Sinclair

Our icy Winter weather of 2011 had tripped me on black ice on the entrance walk of a local restaurant, resulting in multiple breaks followed by surgery and too much pain to continue on my former plan of creating carved tile panels, with the same inspiration.

— Leslie Sinclair

After the Fall I turned to Acrylics

for the first time, thinking I'd find it less stressful on my limp wrist to use water based paint rather than the oil paints I had been using, I began using acrylic paints. That was true, the acrylics dried rapidly and easily washed out of my brushes.

Every day the news covered political unrest in the Middle East

and I likened the awakening of the masses, driven by the youth, to what I felt like I was experiencing in my own life. My 91 year old mother was failing fast and soon I would be without her. I often remembered back nearly 30 years to my dad's death.

For me, that event had the effect of a springboard suddenly propelling me from decades of feminine domesticity to a return to college to pursue a career in art. I did things and considered thoughts previously self-denied. My paintings and drawings primarily centered on my Western environment and were best called Western Art but the world was calling me to explore more. I was a self taught artist at that point, only too aware of my dearth of knowledge about fine art.

Islamic Tiles Provide Format

I've been enamored of old Islamic mosque tiles since I first saw pictures of them them in Art History texts. One of them that most intrigues me was in a college book.

As I worked on the series prompted by the new visions exhibited by people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and across the world, but especially in the Middle East, I decided to utilize that old tile image and it became the showpiece of the exhibition.

My painting began as a meager 10"h x 20"w and the main feature was a line of decorative Arabic calligraphy, from a tile in a 13th Century Persian mosque. I was drawn to the shapes and curves of the letters and the colors of the glazes, and loved my little painting.

Then I asked a couple email groups to tell me what the letters said and that changed the whole deal. Turns out it was the tail end of one word, a complete word, and the nose of the third word, and they all came from a verse in the Qur'an. I've read the whole Qur'an many times, but even though I can recognize all the letters and pronounce them, I had no idea how to find this meaning in my Arabic/English dictionary.

The response was surprising. Two writers insisted that even though the painting was a visual object, it was part of our sacred text, so it would be perplexing to Muslims to see such a painting. They suggested that I type up the whole chapter and mount it in a frame next to the painting.

But that seemed too odd to me; I just couldn't do it. My prayers for a solution to the dilemma delivered an answer to me. I wrote the translation of the verse in English - actually, I painted the text around the little painting and it transformed into the strongest piece in the series.

Today, 12.8.13, we hung the show and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. The main painting is framed at 30"h x 38"w and has half a wall to itself. The exhibit is this Friday.

Discover the Whys of the Repeating and Interlocking Patterns in Islamic Tiles - select your own pattern choices to create geometric based designs

Islamic Tiles, fabric, manuscripts, posters, rugs are traditionally decorated in repeating designs.

They represented the Oneness of Allah, a statement of belief in the Monotheism of the Creator, Tawhid in Arabic.

Each of these books provides scads of designs that can be used by artists to make their own artistic expressions.

My Motivation to Help the Homeless This Winter

When my now grown two boys were in high school and my daughter in junior high, the family lived in a campsite we set up on our acreage, above the home we were building. The tents (1 per child), an outdoor barrel fed shower, and an open lean-to were home for many months.

Months Spent Living Outdoors in the Codl

Snow covered the ground for months. Life was arduous and built on hope, even if we did without running water and a kitchen, and you-know-what. Life was so hard at home (where I spent every day while the kids went off to school and their dad went to work while I worked on the house, wiring and doing other small things including housekeeping in camp)

Soon our jeans were so loose we had to wear belts - no choice. It did not matter how much we ate, the cold took all the calories we could throw at it.

My Father Came to Work on the House

More than once I was aware of our desperate straits, so I was glad that he decided to participate in our build. He fashioned a makeshift tent hovel for himself in the bed of a falling apart flatbed trailer, using scraps of wood, cardboard, tarps and his good down sleeping bag.

One morning I tapped at the board with which he covered the entry to his cave and he moved it aside and I saw that icicles fell from his nose and eyebrows! It was cold. When we tired of wet sleeping bags we all moved into the one room that had berms on two sides, up to the yet to be installed windows - like all the rest, windows were only covered with plastic sheets. Then we could plug in an electric heater and our life improved the tiniest bit, and in a year we even had running water.

Our Trials Were Real But Not Compared to Those of the Homeless

It's not uncommon that homeless individuals in our cities freeze to death during our cold winter nights. It was 27degrees at 5pm today, with the thermometer sliding down. I can shudder with remembrance of the cold and all the deprivations I experienced that Winter.

That's Why I Decided to Run a Fundraiser along with my Art Show December 13, 2013.

Read below about how I chose the organization to support.

An Architect's Touch Strings Links of Giving in a Chain of Love

My friend, Janice Tufte, founder of Warm for Winter, told me about a novel program to acquaint people who want to ease the trials of the homeless and provide them with something especially important to one who has for so long done without.

It may be a book, paints, work boots, any of a huge variety of items that may enable the person, maybe jump-start their vocation, so I checked out the facebook page to learn more.

It got to a point where it made me cry

— Rex Holbein, regarding a children's story written by a homeless man Rex befriended

Out of the Exchange of Respect an Endeavor Grows Organically

he took the time to listen and truly heard more than he had expected

Rather than ignoring the man he found sleeping on the cement at his firm's entrance one morning, Seattle architect Rex Holbein reached out in caring, and so doing, an idea sprouted.

It turns out that the homeless man had something to share, so he eventually invited Holbein to read a children's story the man had written. The initial simple exchanges of courtesy nourished a genuine relationship of caring that connected the displaced man with family on the distant East coast.

Generous acts that began on a small scale have spawned a project of connection between a stranger's need and the hearts of those with more than enough love to keep to themselves.

Holbein created a Facebook page that presents specific needs of individual homeless persons, so readers who wish to donate something meaningful to the ones who live on the streets can provide suitable specific items. Homeless in Seattle. There he posts his photographs, a dignified way to make need clear and visible, and the donations pour in.

Your Thoughts on My Art Show & Fundraiser and Helping the Homeless

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    • delia-delia profile image


      4 years ago

      I do something similar but for different organizations and needs...hope your fundraiser was a big success for the homeless.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      4 years ago

      I wish there were still angel blessings because this lens deserves one.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Beautiful work and I love the fact you use your fantastic talent to help others. Very inspiring I must say.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Beautiful artwork and a great cause!

    • lesliesinclair profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Have you ever done this: I transposed one of the '3s' and the '4' in the gallery address on the flyer. Some visitors had to go online to find the actual location. God bless them for persevering.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the Islamic designs, and I'm very impressed by your charitable efforts.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful art for a truly good cause. I admire what you've done.

    • sousababy profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh, this is so wonderful of you Papier. I just love your work and your passion as an advocate for others less fortunate. Will be pinning and plussing this. Take good care, Rose


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