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Shifting through changes, making choices (in art and life)

There have been intense changes in my life over the last couple of years. At the other side of some of more difficult ones, I can see that the joy I've experienced of late is a response (a choice I made) to those changes. I can feel another shift, another choice coming. This one is more welcome - not fueled by death and cancer and fear this time, but nevertheless calling me to shift my perspective. To make a choice about how I will approach my life knowing what I know now that I didn't know before.

This is a tub of CDs mostly containing digitalized images of art I have created over the last 30 years. I had it tucked away in a closet so I wouldn't have to decide what to do with it. I'm dealing with it now because next Spring I'm moving and I don't want to take a lot with me. If that is a surprise to you and it somehow matters to you that I am leaving Drain and I've neglected to tell you that before this, I'm sorry. It's not any kind of secret. I'm just now getting used to the idea myself. Anyway, there it is. I'm selling Moreland and moving to St. Johns, a lively neighborhood of Portland. I already am painting the St. Johns bridge in my mind and smelling the coffee where I sit to draw or paint.

I don't want to spend much time revisiting what was (in art or life) and I'll most likely resist the urge to do much with those images because it would require too much of of my present moments, but I did look at the images and make some discoveries that are helping me with a choice I am making today.

There are distinct "periods" to my art, in response to what was happening in my life at the time. Perhaps channeling (or trying to channel) Picasso, I had my very own "Blue" period while painting in Alaska - painting the homeless and prostitutes below my studio window in various cold blue hues. I wasn't very happy that winter.

And then winter was over, in so many ways, and the endless light of summer brought color to my life and my paintings. The same prostitutes, or their sisters, danced on the streets. The vegetables danced at midnight when the sun never really set.

I studied with David Passlacqua and discovered you could crawl beyond the surface of a drawing or painting into the space beyond. . I don't always try to achieve that today but I am always aware of that possibility and delighted when I recognize a touch of it here and there in my painting.

There were more "periods." But, what matters to what I am trying to say today though is that they all are a reflection of what was going on in my life and heart at the time and they all had to end or at least evolve in order for me to move into what was coming.

It is no different now. Today I am surrounded in my home by dozens of large paintings, all joyful expressions of gratitude for life and new love and intimacy that I share with another. There was a creative explosion going on in me even before I met him (which I'm thinking now is why we even recognized each other) but, suddenly, I couldn't get enough life or love or color into my paintings to fully express my newfound joy in finding him or rediscovering the wonder of life in general again.

And now I'm realizing I'm done with this "series," this "period." Not with him, just done with the need to paint that way and ready to paint something more quiet and knowing, maybe take a few walks with myself in order to remember something I may have forgotten. I felt a little sadness at first when I realized this. I kept looking at all the large canvasses lined up when I was on fire and wondering what had happened to the colorful muse who came to me everyday and sometimes in the night and would not let me rest, would not let me sit out any dances. Demanded that I keep whatever I loved in my heart or life alive by expressing it in a painting.

I think now she left because I was tired of her demands and no longer was paying enough attention to her. My perspective was shifting. I was starting to feel something else calling for expression. That something else was trust. I no longer feared that the music (love) would end if I sat some of the dances out, watched and enjoyed others dancing without taking part and just rested from my ever present fear of losing my voice if I quit speaking.

The canvasses are still lined up and I've made a choice. A choice to call this "period" painted and move into the new year with joyful anticipation for what's next. Everything, really everything, is really okay.

Thanks for letting me share.


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