The year of 2012 and now the first almost five months in 2013 have not found me being a regular blogger. I’m shocked really. But when you hear what I’ve experienced, you’ll appreciate why I didn’t want to write it all down.
A year ago right now, two people dear to me died. Those losses staggered me. Then as summer unfolded it became clear that new money wasn’t flowing as quickly as I thought it would, my landlady didn’t want to put up with diminished payments, and when September arrived, I fell in the SeaTac airport on the way back from a myth symposium in CA and ruined my knee. It took weeks and weeks to heal. I limped around at my new part time job working at an art gallery, got laid off pretty quickly because of faltering sales, then was hired back on around Christmas time. The need to downsize and move became imperative, a deer ran into my car, totaling it, just when I needed it most for moving and carrying my art to the destination for a studio tour. Borrowing cars from friends and family for an entire month was nerve wracking, especially when my left foot was in agony. I broke my toe late one dark and rainy night by jamming it into a book filled box lying in a spot where it wouldn’t normally have been. The rains came and they came and they came adding to the general malaise of my disoriented state. For three weeks, I had no telephone, Ethernet or cable and I can tell you I felt realllllly sorry for myself.
But I don’t want you to. A brief “oh wow,” is all I need because despite the travail, I am lucky beyond measure. I have my wits still and good health for which I am grateful. I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family and a sense of connection with the invisible mystery that carries my life forward.
During that crazy time in Oct/Nov 2012, I continued to paint, inspired by the course called DEEP with Connie Hozvicka. Read my October post if you want to be reminded of that class. And as my own life was falling in shards around me, so was Connie’s and also a number of the other students. So in the fifth week of a six weeks course, we stopped. It was so perfect. I couldn’t have continued with the last assignments and the one I did finish may be the most important image of my painting career.
I want to share a little of that with you. Our last assignment was titled “ Just This.” I wasn’t even sure what it meant but I liked it. It chimed deeply within me. Just this. Just this. Now that, now this, and then this again. Oh yeah, JUST THIS. I am all of this…whatever this is. Connie’s directions were to use a large vertical sheet of paper and begin painting our feet. How are they right now? Move up to the head with the same question, then fill in the middle. Curious yes? But I loved it.
Here’s how I began. I knew I’d start by “finger” painting but because I wanted to use acrylic, not tempera, I pulled on latex gloves, got my palette knife and a big sponge and plunged in. I knew I had to start with black – my head thought I was going to lay down black for the feet area, white for the head and red for the middle. That’s not what happened. Black was needed for both feet and head and the center demanded both red and white and yellow – I was making big sweeping motions for the center and suddenly realized I was drawing the infinity symbol, which also reminded me of butterfly wings.
What you see on the bottom is an expression of what I felt when I asked my feet to reveal their status to me. Shaking and quaking with no firm foundation. I used the palette knife to carve zigs and zags and before I could say Jack Rabbit I could see fish shapes taking form and the suggestion of other critters. I began to darken in around them to reveal them a little bit more. Then I am reminded of the earthquakes which were happening just north of where I live. They seemed relevant and I had to paint the planet splitting in two. A crack between worlds is opening up beneath me, my feet spanning the two sides.
I am the bridge between everything.
Aren’t we all?