Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Gayle With Sheet"

"Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will-whatever we may think."
~Lawrence Durrell

Journeys are so often internal rather than external. The road traveled within is often fraught with just as many potholes, flash floods and pitfalls as any transcontinental pilgrimage. The mountains that exist within our mind are often far more difficult to climb let alone summit than any craggy butte that we might encounter in the flesh. On the flip side, the joy we can attain from simply daydreaming, the limitless possibilities that exist within our mind can be every bit as satisfying as seeing the sun rise in the arctic, looking back on a river paddled and swimming in a cerulean ocean. The point is the journey itself, rather than the outcome, isn't it?
Would we appreciate the summit if we had not struggled to surmount it? Would we appreciate our successes half as much if we were simply handed them? Probably not.

"Gayle With Sheet", oil on canvas, 30"x24", is, surprise, surprise, a metaphor. From a purely superficial standpoint I enjoyed painting two paintings really; Gayle covered in the sheet and the room beyond. They are two different elements that our mind continually tries to connect. I like the fact that Gayle will never go into that room, that she will be forever musing over who-knows-what. that the door will remain ajar for eternity. 

Technically I had so much fun painting this piece. Gayle's house, as I have mentioned before, is from the 1860's. The house has a pulse of its own. It is cold often, but welcoming. The wood stove that heats the main room is forever graced by the presence of the family cat. The ceilings are high, the windows wide, the atmosphere serene. This painting was one more chance to capture a small piece of that special place.

I had a great time painting the wood. I wanted to show that the colour of the wood is different in each room, and that it is worn on the lip between the kitchen and Gayle's studio. The sheet was of course challenging in all of the best ways. If we don't challenge ourselves we can't really improve. When Gayle moved her foot to cross it over her other foot I had her hold that pose. I liked that it showed her humanity, her settling into the pose and seeking comfort by casually crossing her feet. Those unpredictably serendipitous moments are so satisfying.

What I wanted to accomplish in this piece was the interplay of the two rooms and two narratives. Gayle might be thinking about something in that room. She may not. I love that we will never know.  It is a journey that only she travels. It is proof that it is ok to not know all of the answers. The paths we choose within our minds and with our feet are beautifully uncertain, and perhaps we can be inspired by that mystery.

"The only journey is the one within."~Rainer Maria Rilke

1 comment:

Corinne K. Lewandowski said...

Beautifully written, Heather.