Sunday, September 22, 2013

Man Waiting 1987

Once again, I'm ready to start a new body of work, and I'm afraid, unsure, unhappy, and not at all confident that I can ever make a good image again(in fact, I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen).  On the day last week that I started in earnest(which means showing up in my studio in painting clothes and  putting my apron on along with a "can do attitude"), I managed to spend over two hours online looking at REI"s Gear Mail link, which allowed me to look at hundreds of items on sale, and since I had a $10.84 dividend which I could use towards the purchase of something from REI, why not? I finally found and ordered bike gloves, which I don't need.

The problem is the problem.  When I start out I don't know where I'm headed or what I'm going to do. This fills me with anxiety because  I don't know where I'm headed or what I'm going to do.  As a person who A)likes to be in control and B)needs immediate gratification, this waiting, anxiety filled time is very hard. Change comes about not because I see clearly where I want to go, but  because I'm bored and have lost interest in what I was doing.  It's out of that ennui that things will eventually sort themselves out and began to take shape.  It's the ability to sit with this discomfort that is a key factor in the whole mysterious process.  Having done this for so many years, my suspicion is that my Big Self,  who thinks she's in charge, has to exit before my Creative Self, who knows she isn't, can fill step in and take over.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Woman with Caged Bird 1993

In 1993 I had two daughters, aged 3 and 6, not easy ages(but not as bad as 2 and 5, or 1 and 4).  When I look at the images I did that year they fall into three categories:  horses, figures kneeling and/or suffering, and figures with children(often kneeling and/or sufferingl).  I think the horses were about wanting  power in my life, but not feeling that I had it.  The kneeling and/or suffering figures were about being a parent, and about being brought to one's knees by these small, forceful beings.  They were about not knowing which way to turn or act when dealing with little people whose powers of logic were not good, but who had all the conviction in the world when it came to getting their needs and desires met.

It was a hard time for my husband and me.  Most of the images I did that year reflected our struggle as we tried our best to be good parents.  We worked hard at it, but so often  were overwhelmed.  Today, with 26 and 23 year old daughters, I look back at those years and wish I had them to do all over again.  This time around I would rejoice at the fact that we had our girls close to us, day in day out.  I would know that a three year old's constant tantruming wasn't an indication of how she would be for the rest of her life, but rather just a hint of the spirited and gifted woman that she is today.  Instead of feeling caged and powerless, I would live in the moment and delight at the power and strength of these two unfolding and forming human beings.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dog with Ghost 2000

Barney was my sister's first dog as an adult.  "Definitely our fist child" she told me in an email recently when I asked her to tell me about him.  Mostly yellow lab, from the Tacoma Animal Humane Society, chosen in 1989 from all the dogs that were available that particular day.  He died at 12 from a mysterious illness that took away his appetite, and at the end of his life he had a feeding tube that went into his stomach into which Melisa, and her husband Mike, put a soupy slurry of  food.  "To the very end though he happily went on walks with us around the block and wagged his tail whenever we came near".  

 I did this painting before he died, but not much before.  The photo was from before he got sick, when he still had an appetite because it shows Barney politely waiting to be fed.  I made the painting with an awareness of his illness, knowing he would soon  be "crossing over the rainbow bridge(as the vet who put our old dog down recently told me)".  It's with a kind of horror that I remember that I sold this painting to my sister.  I'm  hoping I gave her a good discount.