I’ve been stripping and sanding layers and layers of paint off of some second-hand finds, recently. These were projects that I began some time ago and now, in order to make space to paint in my studio, I need to deal with this and these. Given the beautiful sunshine and nice weather this week, I’ve been getting at this although some evenings it feels as though my hand and arm are still vibrating.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to have a bit of a snooze on the red couch to renew my spirit before heading to ‘the House’ to paint. I’ve been low about the loss of my Mom…the experience of grief comes and goes…deeply…more deeply…and sometimes just under the surface. The last few days it’s been ‘more deeply’. It didn’t surprise me that once asleep, I received the image of a bowl…I didn’t remember much else…just a bowl…darkness…and I knew that while I painted in the evening, I would have to paint a grey scale. I also knew that something about this container had to do with my mother.
Max had to get out for his walk before I prepped and headed out. Once at the mailbox, I discovered a package from my father…a stack of glossy photographs from his tour of the Ameilasburgh Historical Museum with his apartment-mates. In July, Dad and I had attended the A-Frame event for the refurbishing of the Al Purdy residence and so Dad knew how much all of this poetry and ‘stuff’ mattered to me. The glossies were appreciated and I knew that one of these would have to be included in the evening’s painting.
My painting these last few weeks has been directly connected to my mother; her life, her times and the lessons she gave me. It’s also had a lot to do with the absence of her and the feeling that everything around me seems different because she isn’t here. I feel as though poets and artists and musicians fill up a huge space in this life…emotionally, physically and spiritually. Conceptually, I’m thinking about the space for their unwritten works…the paintings not painted and the music, not ever composed. Something to do with loss.
Listening to Myself
From: Beyond Remembering – The collected poems of Al Purdy. 2000.
see myself staggering through deep snow
lugging blocks of wood yesterday
an old man
almost falling from bodily weakness
— look down on myself from above
then front and both sides
white hair — wrinkled face and hands
it’s really not very surprising
that love spoken by my voice
should be when I am listening
yet there it is
a foolish old man with brain on fire
stumbling through the snow
— the loss of love
that comes to mean more
than the love itself
and how explain that?
— a still pool in the forest
that has ceased to reflect anything
except the past
— remains a sort of half-love
that is akin to kindness
and I am angry remembering
remembering the song of flesh
to flesh and bone to bone
the loss is better
A wee bit of collage in the bottom right has to do with a horse (or at closer inspection, a moose), surrounded by wolves…as it must be in nature…the way things work. At some point…a space in the snow where the amazing animal once stands…the photograph captures the moment that waits on an edge.
Of the three concepts shared with the artists at seven o’clock…the one that most connects with this painting is…dealing with the fear.
The figurative piece posted above is one I began at home, on my father’s balcony…it hasn’t been finished yet. The non-objective piece…last night’s painting, generously purchased at auction by Brent for his friend, Trevor. In speaking with Trevor after the battle, he shared his attraction to the painting…the simplicity, the interest in poetry (he has been connected with writing…poetry…lyrics) and the sense of the huge disc perhaps representing vinyl…It was fun to speak with him. I share images of both pieces because I find the palette for both paintings to be similar in tone and feeling.
Nice work. Nice poem too. Know that it is just a matter of time, that hole in your heart will heal… it’s the separation, as you say… and when you’ve accepted the parting, there will still be those moments, except that they’ll be happy moments… in which she’ll be by your side… from within.
Has any one ever suggested that you have a particular wisdom about life…and loss. Thank you, dear friend.