Where in the world do I even start. I haven't written on here in, years. It's something I'm going to start back with. Mainly for the fact that it helps me to process verbally the intent behind my work. It helps with my creative process. So here it goes.
I started this piece in July. I actually repainted it 3 times! I had a finished painting and I scraped off all the paint to start it over. Painful, but freeing. I needed this piece to be exactly what I was feeling. This piece represents grief, loss, life not ending up like you imagined. This summer for me and my family has been really heavy, hard, and sad. I lost a family member to brain cancer. She was not family by blood, but just as close. She was someone I had in my life since day one. She was a second mom to me. Her family and my family have been best friends for 40 + years. It was really hard losing her. Still is hard. The same time of losing my friend Suzan, one of Michael's closest friends, Andrew was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The month of August was so sad. I flew to LA for my friend Suzan's funeral, 1.5 days later Michael flew to Alaska to see Andrew and his family.
So I started this painting in July, it was not communicating what I wanted. Honestly at that time, the painting did not look like there was enough tension. But,at the same time I didn't want it to look doom and gloom either. So I scraped it away and painted dark clouds. After that I had to throw in the towel and take a break from painting. I had plans this summer to get back to painting. To produce some new work. I wanted to get back into a creative mode, I was feeling spent. I will write about that in another post. But, it was literally like every effort I made to set a side time to paint...and alone time to paint with out the kids around for a portion of time, did not pan out at all. It was really frustrating. At the same time, there was nothing I could do about it. So I just took a break from painting, a break from posting anything on social media, a break from feeling like I need to paint. I wanted to paint, but this break was needed. And it felt good to say, I will get back to painting when the kids go to school. It felt good to take a break, but I also needed time to grieve loss. To think, to process about life but also process about my art, why I paint, what I want my art to communicate, also knowing that as life is, my art is changing and evolving and can mean different things to me. There always needs to be an open door when it comes to my creativity.
I knew with this painting that I needed to take a break from it. Leave the dark clouds, because that represented the heaviness of death, loss, grief, a hovering presence of something that happened that changed your life. A somber reminder. But, like I said I didnt want it to communicate doom and gloom. I wanted to just paint over this piece at times and start over, but I knew I needed to revisit it. So, I flew to LA for Suzan's funeral, Michael went to Alaska to see Andrew, and life felt heavy. As the summer was ending and I was getting the kids ready to go to public school after a year of homeschooling, I was planning in my head what the new year would look like for me with my art and other creative jobs I have, with my kids in school, etc. I knew though I needed to finish this painting before I started anything else. Then the hurricane Harvey hit.
Man, no words. I have family in Houston. Now that we live in Texas again, we go down there all the time to see them. My family evacuated Houston before the storm, I'm thankful they did. My kids first day of school was this past Monday. I dropped them off and went for a run. I run almost everyday it's my time to process, listen to music, get outside, get inspired. On my run, I started to realize, this painting that I started that I wanted to communicate loss, grief, a somber realization of like changing after loss...needed to also be connected to the flooding and devastation that has happened in the state that I live in.
I kept the dark clouds that hover like a reminder that something happened that will forever change your life. They are there, some days feel lighter but the clouds are still there because something really hard happened. They aren't going away for a while. But I also wanted them to feel sort of peaceful. Not like a stormy sky of dark clouds. The sky behind the clouds is sort of hazy and light. Pinks and yellows, like after the rain when the sun finally starts to come out. The land. The trees remind me of Texas. The land is covered with water. You see bits of green, that's grass. The water that covers the ground is peacefully reflecting the sky. Its not reflecting all the new things that are happening in the sky. The ground serves more of a reminder of something that just happened. A flood that covers land is not how its supposed to happen. That is not a natural body of water in the painting, its land that is covered with water that has no where else to go. Also, its loss. Something that feels like it wants supposed to happen this way, it doesn't feel natural. Its crying more tears than you thought was possible. But, the water in this painting also communicates something that just happened. The rain has stopped the sun is starting to come out and you see what you have in front of you now and what you have to deal with.
But then you go back to the sky. There is the sun that is bursting behind the clouds and sprinkles of light. I use this in a lot of my paintings. It reminds me of joy, hope, love, its a bold reminder. This sun in this painting is accompanied with a lot of loss, pain, and sadness. The sun, the new day, doesn't take away any of the pain or what happened, it all still lingers...for a while. This sun is a reminder of the hope that is there with you in the pain while you are in the thick of it. The people you love and want to walk through the sad, hard things in life with you.
About a month or so ago we sang a hymn at church that I have sung a million times. But this time the words met me exactly where I needed to be met. When I first started this piece the lines of the hymn below are what inspired me, the words of it still, amidst all the loss and sadness are what this piece reflects to me.
"The Sands of Time Are Sinking"
The Sands of time are sinking, The dawn of heaven breaks; The summer morn I've sighed for-The fair sweet morn awakes: Dark, dark, had been the midnight But dayspring is at hand, And glory, glory dwelleth In Emmanuels land.