I leapt believing I would be saved

19 x 24, Watercolor Mixed Medium

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"I leapt believing I would be saved." 

A picture is worth a thousand words....

I fill my work with symbols.  A lot of times, even I don't know for sure what they mean.  I do know I am infuriatingly compelled to paint them in over and over and over again until, at some aha moment, I get the "why" of the image.  The birds are God, the Viking boat is courage when you are afraid, the house high up on stilts is an attempt to escape tragedies. You get the picture.

Now, all of this does not mean that I can't just paint a vase of flowers.  I mean, I do that all the time. I am a painter of flowers.  But, even that vase of flowers has to express a deeper thought or a deeper search for something. If if I can't get the painting to that point, I am very UNsatisfied. Even my simplest paintings are full of this struggle.  In my fledgling days of painting (I started at age 40), I just accepted whatever I got and went on to the next piece. Now, after 20 years on the job, I am almost as apt to tear the finished art up as I am to save it.  When I pitch a piece out, it is not because I think the the art is "no good" but because the art doesn't satisfy my inner stuff. 

My life, like everyone's, has been a journey marked as much by tragedy as joy.  I am blessed, to be sure. I have suffered, to be sure.  I have been first.  I have been last.  I have been the victor.  I have been the loser. I honestly can't tell you which of these "I have" moments taught me more.  But, I can tell you that harder ones are the ones that have made me a better person. There, but for the grace of God, go I. 

If you were to look back on my work, you would view my life's reel. The work mostly represents me trying to worry the truth/meaning/lesson/peace out of whatever is going on in life at that moment--drawing, painting, worrying out some way to live today through the language of art.

I grew up in terrible abuse.  My younger brothers chose to leave this world at about 40.  I can't blame them for going. Childhood abuse is a terrible tattoo, all caps, bright colors emblazoned across your forehead so you will never forget that you were not loved and that you are not good enough.  Me, I am 60 now and the last left of my family.  I endure by agreeing that there is a truth in my tattoo that no amount of positive wordplay will ever eradicate. I wasn't loved and, by the judgement of my abuser, never good enough. I have learned to work with it.

And so, I paint and draw and tear up paper. I twist wire and manipulate stuff into art stuff. I don't let many people into my heart.  I am very friendly but don't make friends easily. I make acquaintances.  It's a nuance that is a trust thing.  If yo' mama don't love you, then who would?  

This is what makes you, dear viewer, and what I do, so very special to me.  I let you in hoping, with the heart of a child, that you will see past my abuse tattoo and in to my true self. If you can find me, then so, maybe, can I.