Journey and Story Sharing Art Gallery
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” ― Henry Ward Beecher
Sharing the Past in the Present
I like to visit the past. I like the way I can go to another time and place and then return to the present moment. The disconnected, far away place I go in my mind when I paint might be disorienting and uncomfortable for some. I find the journey fascinating and calming. It’s odd and strange but surprisingly satisfying. I am missing home, but with my canvas and a paintbrush it all comes rushing back. I can go back whenever I choose. I can also return to “Right Now” and share my canvas, so others can see where I’ve been. Sharing is the “icing on the cake” of my creative process. I love the response, the exchange, and the inspiration that comes out of sharing my journey. Through words and images, I communicate my story and others see, hear, and understand. Even more exciting, often they will join me in the process of creating and sharing, too. Together, we can find hope in what we make and discover.
Sharing the Joy in Your Story
It’s true that tomorrow may not be a better day. I grieve the losses of yesterday, and I fear for the future. Art making is a gift in these times of waiting. It brings me pleasure, hope, and a way to make sense of things. Against all odds, I find joy with a stroke of my paintbrush. When I’m done creating, I share the joy I have captured with others. It’s one of my favorite ways to share my story.
Painting Joy on the Journey
I am a time traveler. I put down a stroke of color, and I remember something from yesterday. I make a mark, and I see a glimpse of tomorrow. I sit in the present, and I notice “Right Now” with great joy, gratitude and peace mixed with a little sorrow and a splattering of anxiety. I am in the past, present, and future all at once, and my canvas shows it all.
Coming and Going Right Now,
My Story and Creative Process
Dad never considered himself an artist, but his scientific research is full of detailed drawings of cells. I like thinking that I made “Dad’s Cells” with my father. Look and you will see his cell drawings hidden throughout this canvas. This creative act supports my process of letting him go.
Time and My Story
This is an old painting that was once capturing yesterday. I wanted it to capture today, so I reworked it. I didn’t succeed in getting my canvas to capture “Today.” Instead, it’s all about being “stuck in the middle.” I am (by choice) “stuck in the middle.” This is where I want to be and where I choose to be. I teeter on worshiping this “middle space.” I’m not sure I care to ever stop.
I look at my art and I see a strange opportunity. I can reach through time and space without making a sound or anyone ever knowing I’ve been there. It’s a two-dimensional plane that offers me length, breadth, and depth. There are layers of space on my 2D canvases. You can reach back deep and see things that are tucked behind and hidden in surprising places. There are little doors that it seems you just might be able to open. It all suggests that there is someplace to go here. Even though these are all places in the past, I can go there in the present. I hang out in between many places in space. My art is my time machine.
Hope in My Story
No matter what tomorrow brings, my “Right Now” is all mine. Apprehension is no longer what my present moment brings. Art is still my best escape from the disorienting liminal place I am stuck within. I can paint myself to a better place, so that’s what I do. I’m OK with “Right Now.” I want others to be OK with “Right Now,” too. I have a little power over that. I paint images that tell me, and others, that “Right Now” can be OK despite everything around us that says it isn’t. They are images that speak hope. Every artist has a voice and each one can speak to the collective “Right Now.” If the voice is loud enough, others could hear and be OK with “Right Now,” too.
I am Hope,
Reassembling My Story
I am trying to overcome my frustration with realism. I hate the fact that people don’t like my art because it doesn’t look real. I’ve actually deconstructed a bunch of my old paintings: cut them apart and reassembled them. It’s called my 323 Buena Vista Road Collage Series. I’m trying to capture the beauty of my childhood home thru collage, pattern and abstraction. I use the bits and pieces of old paintings and collages that have dissatisfied me to make the series. I hacked at my art with a razor blade: sliced it into chunks and used the parts to make something new. I wasn’t pleased with the results back then when I was 45, but something exciting happened when I was 47. My 323 Buena Vista Road Mixed Media Series pulls it all together. My ability to use some realism, in combination with collage and abstraction, is artistic maturity. I realize that other people may not get it that this is artistic maturity, but I know it is. I have taken my past work and integrated it with my present. I know what I am making is good. Who cares if you think it’s no good because it doesn’t look “real.” My Transition Collage is the spark that ignites this new direction for me. I am pleased.
Suffering and Our Story
I am uncomfortable about what my dad did as a scientist. He was a good man. He was a loving father. He made personal sacrifices to help others. However, he brought living things suffering. What if the price of his research was more than a rat? Maybe there were monkeys suffering in one of his labs, but I just didn’t see them on Take Your Child to Work Day? Does this make a difference? Where do we draw the line? What my dad and other scientists did came with a price, and we didn’t pay it. In fact, we don’t suffer as much because of it. Would I want a person with rheumatoid arthritis to give up their pain relievers so fish, mice, rats and monkeys don’t have to pay the price? I’m not sure what God would want, but I know that I keep taking ibuprofen when I need it. When my child is in pain, I offer it to them. This is why we don’t suffer and I reticently admit that I am grateful. I use my paintbrush to capture it all: both the good and the bad. I accept the tension and I share it on my canvas.
Buttons and Peacock Feathers, 2016
323 Buena Vista Road Mixed Media Series
My dad just passed away. We’ve had 3 grandparents die in a little over a year. My childhood home is falling apart. It’s beyond a “Handyman’s Special.” I make art to capture the beauty of the past: the way I remember my home during the Glory Days. The house will sell soon. A stranger will buy it. I won’t be able to go back there anymore. A least I will have my paintings so I can remember. I totally get why my father used the phrase “The Good Old Days.” I wonder if Heaven is a place where you can turn back the clock. If it is, I’m going back home to visit so I can enjoy the glory restored.
My Own Choices
Swirls and a Feather
I Can if I Want To
Yarn Swirl Collage,
Peacock Feather Collage 2,
Orange Skittle Collage,
Yarn Swirl and Skittle Collage,
I’m afraid of plenty of things. I’m not letting my fear stop me though. I don’t want to be one of “those people” who dies with regrets. I don’t want to regret not having done something I should have, or could have, because of fear. Some days fear rules my life. Other days I get it closer to “right” and fear is silenced. God’s plan for me becomes my inspiration for the coming hours. That’s when I forge ahead with a little extra courage and life is, for a moment, very sweet.
Home and Back Story
The drive to New York from Michigan is long. The road reaches out in front of me with no end in sight. When I leave my home and drive towards New York, I have to prepare myself for the differences. My dad will limp a little more and my mom will remember a little bit less. While the differences are slight to those who see them regularly, they are more profound to me. I pick up where I last left off with them, but time has moved things around. My mom and dad aren’t the same. Time has aged them and I don’t like it. I don’t know the future any more than my parents do and I hate that. All I know is the promise that there’s a better life beyond this one. In spite of how impossibly hopeless the situation seems, God has them on the road back home.
The drive home from New York is so sad. I have a lump in my throat the whole time. I move away from my parents and my family with no promise that things will be the same when I return. In fact, as I drive away I have to face the truth that this may have been the last time. I have to face the truth that I might not see my mom and dad again.