I thrust myself into mark making to make sense of some turmoil within. It worked before, and I knew it would move this cloud along. So here’s what happened.
I started out with a blank square before me because it is solid and balanced and I wanted that predictability and comfort of creating within four even walls. I thinned out some burnt sienna and made definitive lines like a skeleton from which to hang my grievances. It dripped down and I let it.
As it dried, I visualized the next step and added color, blurred mark making, and kind of just let my brush wander as it wanted.
I reinforced the brown “skeleton” by sculpting layers of flow and added a small area of angel wings in a place that felt right.
Then at the end, the orientation seemed to feel better with the original drips going out to the left to add motion and a coiling up of sorts towards the top right corner. As the layers pushed back some of the space, it slowly became a refuge for me.
The process itself comforted me as it was coming to fruition. It seems that at any given moment we are at various stages of being in touch with our emotional selves. Sometimes we are indifferent, or uninterested in what’s going on. But other times we take a more investigative approach, especially if we feel something is “wrong” but we don’t know what it is. I definitely didn’t feel very harmonious when I started this piece, but I simply opened up and let something come out without judgement or preconception. I could see something in it that was communicating back to me, like looking into a very different kind of mirror. I could see the indistinguishable emotions about parenthood. I could see the communicative dance of expectation versus result. The image itself undulates between clarity and obscurity, distance and detail.
There is a tenderness in witnessing your children grow. Separation comes in waves. You say to them “Go out and try it!”, knowing you are their soft place to land. Seeing their backs walking forward away from you is a reward. So why is it mixed? When they walk confidently into the world it should be a time of great pride, but it is also a time of grief.
By exploring the vastness and complexity of my personal experience through creating this painting and poem, I can only hope that something resonates with whoever sees it. I feel privileged at the time of writing this to have the resources to revel in it.
Here is the accompanying poem as artist statement:
Tears taste bittersweet,
bear the anguish for joy.
(apart from me you grow.)
(Bud blossom the dust maker.)
(Censor the servant and slide.)
(Weight these solid gold whispers.)
(A shrinking place to land.)
(Come again completion.)
Our lives overlap