A heavy load of sadness falls on my shoulders. Late Autumn winds blow, I listen to John Coltrane Quartet. My kids are at school, I have an hour of downtime left. Not really downtime. I’m writing my Artist Statement for the Sanchez Art Center 50/50 Show. My theme for this piece is treating my panels like I do my Artist Notebooks. Working spontaneously, daily, including figurative and abstract work. The weekend I brought my panels home my family’s world changed forever. I always work in a place of mystery, exploring shadows, a dark stain that appears from dripping paint. A figure abstracted, a face disappearing.
The night I began to work on my pieces, followed a day words, the shape of words that morphed into unrecognizable meaning. My daughters hearing level changed significantly. We had always used sign language for back up with the hearing aids. But this weekend the hearing aids were useless. After I put the kids to bed, Fiona has a twin brother, Jack, I went to my studio. I had prepped the panels the day before with Gesso and mat medium. I had organized the collage materials, paints, adhesives, charcoal, and other drawing materials. I had decided on a palette.
I started making marks on each panel. I added paint and collage. I added and took away. It was getting late. I started to panic. How would I operate the next day? I kept trying to wrap things up. The hours went by, my back hurting my brain fatigued from emotion and creative output. I felt like I was in a state of mania. I cried and laughed at the same time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop; I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I worked on my panels obsessively instead of daily and meditatively, like I had intended.
Through the creation of this series I grieved, I worried, and obsessed about how our life was changing and had empathy with how my daughter and my son were feeling during the transition. In my studio I escaped the anxiety and enjoyed working on my pieces. It was a special place for me. I removed and added to the panels, I treated them in ways I could never treat my Artist Notebooks. One day I hated what I had. I got a hand sander and started sanding and sanding. Paint and collage being stripped away. What was revealed was something beautiful, abstract, and mysterious. The bottom layers from weeks prior, maybe layers I hid because they were too raw, too emotional or not mysterious, fading, disappearing enough. In that way, my panels are like my Artist Notebooks. They are accidents, experiments, and mistakes.