The grass and crops are parched and crispy underfoot. The land cracks in violent cries of drought and the rains never come. I am neither surprised nor angry, it is just life. When I was little I was unsure of why or how my life would be. I was in junior high when I realized I loved art, but also realized that living a long way from a town with an art teacher, would hinder that dream, and it would have to wait as many dreams do. I am not sure if possibly it made it simmer and stew somewhere in my mind until it finally boiled over and had to be addressed. My children were young but I felt the need to paint; so I hired a sitter, and drove 70 miles once a week to study oil painting. Thus began the miles and miles of art adventures; which are still rolling in and out of my life today. I am hungry still for the new; and finally I am in a place where I no longer think of could I paint this, but more in the terms of can I tweak this past the point of normalcy and retain the original gesture of thought and find a new way to express it. I want to make something oddly intriguing and comfortably familiar; this is where my heart beats the fastest and I find my balance.
I have of late been working on my Weight of Balance series, you might remember I blogged on the beginning painting earlier . I have pushed and pulled paint over the surface with the skill of a surgeon and the desperation of prisoner burrowing his way out of the pokey with a plastic knife, and found there is merit in both. There is no quick way to my goals, and it must be painful in order have validity. I grew up this way, work hard and the payoffs are sweet, the flip side is getting things easy and the value is nothing. This series started as my youngest was talking to me about the way life was when I was growing up as compared to today. The question was is it better now ? I surprised myself by waiting an uncomfortably long time to answer the question. It contained so many sharp facets and prickly feelings that I was not sure I could access or accept a quick answer. My child has a limited vision and only what history and newspapers want to acknowledge about the 60’s, and I do remember some bad things. But then again, bad things happen daily now and so often and so much that most of it never will be remembered or noted. We grew up fairly poor and I remember the things no one writes about. I remember playing under the house and digging dirt holes that probably undermined the concrete block foundations and I remember hearing and loving the sound of the cottonwood leaves leathery chattering in the wind when I would drag a box full of dolls out for a picnic. I remember odd things about when we were small we had to hide under the bed twice; once because the black panthers had been spotted on Highway 3 and once because a tornado had been spotted. I naively thought they were actually real exotic panthers and would later tell folks how there were panthers in the woods behind my house with great pride. I had no idea why no one took me seriously. I remember always wanting to have something on my head and to this day still feel this way. I don’t know why, because it is dreadfully uncomfortable in the south, as the heat is oppressive and even more so with hats; perhaps this is the beginnings of many of my figures with head coverings, which haunt my art work. I can neither look back with sadness or happiness, I can only look back and see the results of my life as it consummates into who I am today. Here is another of the weight of balance paintings. I am finding the shadowy darkness in the figures is indicative of how I am finding my balance in the world today and in my work. They represent me and my memories and how they relate to the world they inhabit. I generally paint the single figure, but with this piece there are two, as they represent the then and the now in tandem balance.
The detail shot is almost enough it gives the whole painting in a shorthand version…the total weight of balance…more to come I have completed eight in this series!
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