Even though they aren’t finished yet I thought you might like to see what’s on the drawing board. There are usually four or five paintings going at once. Some fall by the wayside but strangely enough most are concluded and leave me to find a place in the world.
I have days when I am excited not just with my work but in my work. Are you able to separate the outcome of your work from the process? The process is filled with endless possibilities. For instance I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a series of paintings about fear. Fear is an interesting concept. Do you realize that it is perhaps one of the few emotions that are the same throughout your life from the cradle to the grave? Whether we are three or ninety three, we fear abandonment, ridicule, pain and so on. Imagine a conversation between a three year old and a ninety-three year old. I think they would understand each other perfectly well if they talked about fear. And more to the point I don’t think you would be able to tell who was speaking. For all our living and life experiences we cannot teach the three year old anything about fear.
I spend lots of time thinking about the ties that bind us, thinking about our humanity, about ideas and concepts.
The “process” is greater than the success of the individual project or painting. It is the reservoir of endless ideas, it is the place where each idea gives way to an even greater thought and there are always more ideas then we have time to realize.
Then there is the wonderful tactile ‘feel-good’ of warm oozy wax. The color, the smell and the feel of laying it down; yup I like that too. This “feel-good” is the anticipation and excitement for what may come from my fingers next. Painting is a little like planning your life. It never looks like you imagined it. In a lot of ways I am more surprised by the outcome than you. Every single time I begin a new painting there is hope and wonder…… I mean how does the brain and fingers work anyway?! But today as I sat painting these boys, I felt a tinge of sadness; I felt hope and gratitude too.
This is yet another kind of “feel-good”. This one I will christen “the feel-good of hope.” It is a special feeling born out of the knowledge that each child I have taught and painted is a real person. Because I have known many of these children, I send each painting into the greater world in the hope that each child will successfully find his way in the world, that each will be infused with ingredients which feed his humanity and nourish his spirit.
As I work on these pictures I can actually hear these children speak. I remember the pitch and cadence of each child’s voice, even though their names escape me. I wish them rich and rewarding lives. Knowing that I will have been only a blip on the screen of their lives, knowing that I cannot know what they will go on to do, I feel gratitude that our paths have crossed. They have affected my development as an artist, and perhaps my interpretation of them will in some way alter the way you see them too… YUP, I have known them and they have taught me a thing or two.