HOW IT BEGAN...
I will put on my painting clothes in a few hours and go down the hill to slather oil paint on panels and push it around, scrape through it and see what happens.
I have worked as a serious craft artist for the past twenty years, painting papers and textiles to use in the creation of one of a kind handmade journals. I have loved color and paint as long as I can remember. One incident with my parents when I was in grade school so threatened my need for praise that I refused ever again to paint “pictures”. Two sisters who achieved success as painters further influenced my decisions to write poems, work with people and finally come in by the back door in my other great loves cloth and bookarts thinking I could satisfy my need for the process of painting in other ways. The longing to paint was intentionally pushed under the surface of a busy life.
One morning in March of 2015, I woke with a searing longing to paint, the intuition that I could do it and the imperative to get started. I did. I went to my studio, pulled out some old oil paints and concluded that I needed to do some research before beginning. A friend had begun using oils and cold wax medium on paper, and I was immediately in love with the results she was getting. I researched, bought supplies, reorganized my studio and got started.
My first try was a quick sketch of large girl and the word addiction scrawled across it that showed me clearly that I am NOT the painter. It expresses the pain and shame I felt in active addiction and still do when those demons grab another substance like food or acquiring or gambling with money. It came from some space in my gut. Like poems, the paintings were going to arrive..I was and am simply the conduit and the craftsperson who works with the raw material..a familiar space. Another one came quickly later after I had taken a couple of excruciating classes that brought all my shame about being inadequate and exposed to the surface..it called itself "Burn It Down". It was a strange fiery abstract. I had to get over the picture of old lady painting bad landscapes for her children to put in the post mortem garage sale. I stuck with it. Paintings began to work. I knew I had found a meaningful practice to dance along with my poetry.
I have since taken classes, practiced, acquired a mentor and a gallery. The longer I do this, the more joy it gives me and the more I know I have to learn.
PAINTING AS PRAYER
I smear a forest onto paper
drag yellow light through
cries of scarlet I
rest here in the silence of blue
cut green again in sharp blades
and violet..Oh violet!