Today I’m sharing a painting process that occurred six months ago. It’s finished, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and yet, I remember the satisfaction of painting this one as if it were today.
It may be the most potent painting of my life and I’m not sure why I say that. Something about possibilities and freedom. I am aware that this image is possible because of my skills and development as an artist for the last twenty years and I am aware that I may never have so completely abandoned myself to a painting’s lead. For instance those red ribbons need to remain. I even make them more brilliant and defined. When the painting is done, I still don’t know why they seem so important. I see them giving boundaries to the mystery and maybe that’s IT. All I need to know. Life is Mystery after all.
My desire to reveal humanity’s commonality often moves me to paint an “unreal” skin color, or in this case to make each limb illustrative of a different two-legged race. You can see the difference in the hands for instance.
And I love the portal into the landscape of my indigenous soul. Even the white horse of Uffington finds its way there. I can imagine the old Roman road linking my modern biological self to my ancestors as it spills out, through, and down between my legs as another red, zigzagging ribbon. WOW…birth’s blood.
The painting got harder as I got close to finishing. I didn’t want to mess it up. I am surprised by the androgyny. I keep being surprised by all of it. I keep being startled by how much I love this image, even now. For reasons beyond my understanding, I feel as if I have arrived as a painter, that nothing will ever be the same, that I have found and expressed a deep, daring and truthful part of myself that will never be hidden again. And that is JUST THIS, just the way it is.