Shown here is an earlier stage of the most challenging painting of my life. Sounds dramatic, but is actually quite industrial. Thing is, the industry has to do with a specialized kind of seeing. I can’t paint until I can “see”. I cannot “see” when I am not clear. To clarify means going deep. Go deep enough and I see that it really is all done with mirrors.
I have been given the mission and commission of making a painting that reflects a particular quality of suffering and its alleviation. There is so much I can’t even say about this essence task. Had a dream about doing this nearly thirty years ago. It is an act of love to make myself available to the subject of this painting. It is not easy. I don’t know how I’m going to eat this week – all I know is that I have to finish this painting. That’s the truth of it.
Years ago EJ Gold, my favorite art teacher, called me about some business. Somehow we got into a conversation about my relationships with people. At the time I felt hated as I had been falsely accused of things I did not do.
He told me that people do not hate me, they are afraid. I fell silent, and he quietly said, “They are afraid of your work.” At the time my arrogance took the form of puffed up humility, which thankfully burst in the oven. Work toward authenticity sure can get messy. Eventually I saw a deeper lesson in the exchange.
I remember this now for good reason. This work is hard and tends to be isolating. Fear and ignorance like to speculate hurtfully – I’m feeling my Shrek here answering the psychic torches at the studio door. We all have our critics. Showing this early version of the painting will not educate – and this is not my purpose. This is a different experiment. I am beginning to see that maybe I am given resistance so that I can love the work anyway. Love trumps everything.