I wanted to make a series of abstract paintings for an exhibition this fall, but the figure kept coming into the composition. You may not be able to really see the figure yet, it's partially cropped out, and not clearly articulated. This image began to emerge after hours of painting and wiping everything away, and starting over. Again and again.
After I got past my own trying, this movement came, and I knew it was the beginning--it just felt right. It's incomplete now, in the raw, unfinished. But it's real. I plan on keeping things unrefined for now, but we'll see where the process goes.
Here is a start of a series inspired by my daughter. Who says that the only place she feels safe is at home with mom. I've wanted to create a space for a seven year old who is smart and sensitive, who somehow has figured out why she and her classmates have lock down drills at school, and understands things I wish she didn't have too.
I don't have answers for all of her questions. Just an endless amount of love, and encouragement to persist with a messy grittiness. I tell her over and over that she is innately good, and loved just the way she is. That the whole damn thing is one bittersweet gift. Except I don't say damn, she's only seven, after all.
Now that I've stated working on this series, I realized that there is an ache in all of us for this. Hemingway wrote about it in "A Clean Well Lighted Place." Dillon sings about "Shelter from the Storm." Many artists have tried to articulate what shelter looks like. Or what the absence, or lack of shelter feels like.
So here is the beginning of the Safe Space Painting Project. I will continue to update with more images as the process progresses. Follow along with #safepainting.
Safe Space (Unfinished) Oil, Charcoal on Panel, August 2017