The Tibetan tradition of viewing a successful work of art doesn’t rely solely upon technical or aesthetic merit. A work has value by how much the artist changes through the process of making that work.
 
My return to painting in early 2018 began with what I call a process of unlearning. The process began by employing the use of my other hand. This allowed me to suspend my inner critic. It gave me room to play.
 
I revisted Joseph Campbell’s t.v. series, “The Power of Myth.” It renewed an interest in creation stories and archetypes. Could I paint a creation myth? What would my Hero’s Journey* look like? Who are my archetypes? Are they universal or personal? Is what I remember what happened, or what I perceived to have happened? How will this story end? Will it be heroic or with a whimper?
 
I look to personal history for the answers, mining a collection of photos that encompass my 60+ years of life. Throughout the process of telling these stories, I have been able to come to terms with my journey. This is not about healing or therapy. The scars are permanent, the arthritis crippling.
 
The more I painted, the more I accepted my parents flawed and fragile humanity. I grew to forgive and love them both. I have stopped fighting myself for being exactly who and what I am, the product of them. Being their daughter is no longer a jail sentence. It it the framework in which I have had to work, to learn from and transcend.
 
Maturity is the lens used to visit my ancestors, lost loves, long gone friends and youth. Without the burden of actually reliving events.
 
I grieve and, at the same time breathe. I remember who I am.**

 

In The Court Of The Easter Queen
Pop Tarts & Beer
The Dope Opera
The Other Hand


*Hero’s Journey
In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero’s journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed…
Source: Wikipedia


**“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”
― Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying