I know of someone who is currently writing a memoir and experiencing a bit of difficulty. Apparently in doing so, he has brought up memories of heavy abuse at the hands of his father, resulting in suicidal thoughts.
We as people carry physical objects throughout our life, but we also carry internal things. Thoughts, ambitions, goals, feelings, emotions, motivations, and obstacles that all weave themselves into our psyche making us who we are.
Our internal struggles that end up moving us in a direction is not unlike that of an onion, we can peel back the layers of emotion and thought to analyze what we have done and why. What has resulted in determination and perseverance sometimes can be better defined as cognitive dissonance.
My onion is layers of paint on a canvas. I dig through them to make sense of anything, for some semblance of a cohesive thought that can produce meaning. As I dig further down, I have to be careful not to tear the last layer and the canvas itself gives way, tearing the foundation.
I can’t help but hear Covenant’s “Tour De Force” in my head: Take you down… I wanna take you down with me….
So I was reading Dogpoet and thinking about suicide from a lot of different angles. It is easy enough to see several suicide references in some of my work, though it was never enough to actually make someone ask about it. Maybe by putting it ‘out there’, I have silenced such inquiries, or maybe they are just too afraid to ask. But I know this is another thing I carry. It is my mission to produce work that evokes powerful emotion and thought. To make the internal external.
When we hear that someone has committed suicide there are always statements of evaluation that immediately follow. ‘He had so much to live for’, ‘She was so pretty’, and my ever favorite ‘Why didn’t they talk to someone… they could have talked to me!’ Never before have we been so pompous to expect our wisdom to be the torch that lights the darkness, let alone their ability to trust us.
I can remember nights thinking what it would be like to be a ghost. What an appropriate fate to linger in the minds of those who knew me as that ‘odd painter with the mustache’ . Though no one would tell that many stories of me, and certainly not after twenty years or so. Time, like a flame, would consume every painting I have ever unleashed on the world and my tales, like my life, would be a wisp of smoke.
Now Covenant’s “Flux” plays in my head: forgotten as the ages grow, eternity is not for you.
But that is all it will ever be anyway; you will be forgotten. I am okay with this fact, even when it rears it’s ugly head around in the late night sessions stepping into the shadow.
My process of adding and peeling off layers of paint on emotions buried on a canvas to get a feeling right, over days, weeks, months, or even years, can be an arduous and often tumultuous process, but it’s necessary for me to create. It is like continually pulling scabs off of healing wounds to disinfect the site so it heals right. And I know that when the piece is finished in it’s perfection, there won’t even be a scar. The thing I carried for so long is put down.
Hopefully my paintings can turn a few heads and make a couple more people think about the things they carry.
Better than a rowboat to China:
Recently I’ve tried to cement a few ideas into some semblance of creative expression, though nothing has come to fruition. Now at the tail end of my second solo show, I feel depleted. At first when the show went up, I had incredible ideas and energy: new compositions were still coming and I was working towards finishing several pieces I started while preparing for the show.
Now I spend hours in my studio into the late night, with half finished canvases staring at me in mockery. The mouths of half formed figures laugh at my impotence; fingers from disembodied hands point accusations of fraudulence. Is it over?
In times like this, I honestly feel like I may never finish another painting again. How can I have nothing left to do with so much to say?
While I recognize this has happened before, I cannot escape the finality of this feeling. I remember when it happened last and being on the phone with Tonka outside of the office building where I was working. He suggested meditation as a method of clearing/centering my mind. It helped a bit, but sometimes nothing seems to kick start the creative engine.
Contention breeds creativity, but this is ridiculous.
I continue to sketch during the day, working out possibilities over coffee, milkshakes, and sammiches. Some ideas have potential, yet they soon dissolve into ambivalence when I consider them mere minutes later. Now it seems as I am trying too hard, which never works…