“It is not our job to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves
Like the trees, and be born again,
Drawing up from the great roots.”
~ Robert Bly
I found myself complaining recently that I was feeling quite scattered. Starting projects, stopping projects. Throwing myself into events and paintings only to table them soon after…
Trauma can do that to a person, or so I have been told. I know that it is ok to take a break, to explore things I normally would not do.. so that is what I have been doing. I am teaching an oil class on classical realism. Learning and teaching about glazing like Caravaggio. I bought some new pastels, (I will show ya those next week!) and I have started a series of nocturnal oil paintings that I am doing in my kitchen.
See, when I recently moved, it was to a really cool little town that has older houses and sidewalks and the best electrical wires and lights out in the streets. Late at night I have sat on my bed and looked out at these really cool abstracted scenes of wires and lights and cars and slightly tired garages. In my kitchen, when the dusk is setting I become enchanted by these elements as I do the dishes. So naturally, I had to set up my easel at the kitchen sink.
Do I know what I am doing? Not really. I came across some Shiva oil sticks in my move and I think I must have bought them over 12 years ago. It just felt like I should give them a go. I find they are a nice cross between oils and pastel sticks since they are sticks of oil paint. I can hit the marks with mineral spirits and then they dissolve like a watercolor. Yum… all of my favorite things.
So I am painting at my kitchen sink – as soon as the sun goes down I ignore the dishes and leftovers from dinner and find myself playing with washes of oils and marking out a “primer” layer. It feels fun, but it also feels a little wicked. Most know me as a pastel painter after all, but I guess the operative word here is painter. I can change. I can evolve, I can lose some leaves and draw down and see what is in my undiscovered roots. And right now I am looking for new paths, new connections and new stories to paint. Oh, the portraits will never go away. Neither will the pastels, but I have always loved crazy quilts and right now I need to stitch a bunch of crazy things together.
In the end it will all come out beautifully whole. So will I.