Subconscious Riffs While Painting


I've put a few of my paintings in a timeline from over this past year. With each painting, I describe a bit of what was going on at that time, as well as some subconscious flashback-type glimpses or memories that would come and go as I was working.

I begin this with where I left off last year.. with a painting that crossed the threshold of the end of one year and the beginning of the next, and brought a pivotal message when I needed it.

Holding On And Letting Go, oil on canvas, 24x30"

Holding On And Letting Go
She was a transformation manifested.
I let go this time because it was the right thing to do. It felt right, therefore it was right.
What was conjured from the past projected onto its future self. My future self.
It felt as if all of this was slipping away at a time when all else around me felt as if it were shifting and incomprehensible too.
Then she reared her beautiful head(s) as if to say 'oh hell no!' when I wasn't in any state to go there.
She was a piece of me, and all who supported me, holding me up. She – we – had my back.
She was a past me who painted a future me, holding myself up ..in the present.
When I painted this, I had no idea that it would have manifested itself the way that it did.
But then again.. that's really what we're doing all the time.

Hope, graphite and ink on watercolor paper

Hope
This crazy time. This crazy world. I felt lifeless, listless.
What was this madness happening all around us?
Then women – and, really, all who support women – started marching and came together from every corner of the globe.
It was incredible. They were incredible. We were incredible. It showed us that we are incredible.
All of us. We humans are amazing creatures when we work together. And this was a testament to that.
She was Hope, and she was an amazing force of positive energy. And we felt unity amid the craziness.
All of us felt it. It showed us that we can do this – for ourselves, for each other, for a world in a future time that we most likely will never even see.
It's what we do.

Veno, oil on canvas, 24x36"

Veno
We are fierce, strong, and capable. We move forward, especially when we're thrust into action.
We look to the future with a vision in our minds of what the world holds.
Seeking balance, we usually find ourselves roughly halfway into our subconscious, and halfway into the material world.
We trade off, find the time for both. Because we have to if we're here now. It's just the way it is.
Or is it?
Many of us find our way of being more in one half than the other.
That's the tradeoff – we choose the direction that seems to be most suitable for ourselves.
It's a wild internal tug-of-war, and it feels like no one sees. We just do it, and we always have.
It's in our nature to be fierce, strong, and capable.
We put our world-view helmets on and go...as large and fragile and impractical as they may be...
We do what we know.

Even when we might not be feeling as fierce, strong, or capable as we know we can be.

Promise, oil on panel, 18x24"

Promise
Once in a while, some crazy force comes down and intervenes.
Ultimately, it gives us a moment of pause in the rush forward.
It's something we didn't see coming, but in hindsight, we realize it was inevitable.
How it manifests itself might vary, but it makes its way to us regardless.

I just could not keep coming up for air in that spin cycle.
It's not a sustainable way of being. Not for anybody.
I would make it to the surface only to have that wave come pummeling down again.
I was fighting it, continuing to try to come up for air, when what I really needed to do was go with the flow and allow myself to drift below the surface and let the current take me where I needed to go.
And now, it was feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me just a few too many times.
I needed a hand.. and when I sent out my sonar, what came back to me were many hands.
In fact, they were already there.. just outside the fringes, arms outstretched just in case I wavered.
They were already there. They've always been there. They'll always be there.
It's what we do.

Harmony In The Ebb And Flow, oil on panel, 16x20"

Harmony In The Ebb And Flow
Harmony speaks of the strength we find within ourselves, most often times elevated by way of embracing the unity with others.
Just below the surface, I have flashbacks drift in and out of the sonar.
Painting not only allows me to go there, but it is being there.
I see these visions as a subconscious working through of things.

...We were playing in the tide, holding our breath, hands up just above the water.
It's cold, and we were just walking out a short way to cool off, and then we'd head back to the sand.
We got distracted and just in that split second of time, a big wave hit our backs.
We gasp. I can see your face – at once startled. I probably had the same look on my face..
...And then we laugh.
And really, the cold water hitting us felt invigorating. We wanted to do it again.
We spent the rest of the afternoon jumping in and ducking under the waist-high waves.
We completely forgot about the water being cold, or any inch of us staying dry.

Still below the surface, I snap to again, back from the flashback.
Have I told her I love her lately? I think.

I continue to drift with the tide, more flashbacks, then messages from a tornado shelter...
We are okay! She says. We're all here together – pets and all! :D
Next time, we'll remember to bring the wine bottle in with us too! Ha ha!
There they are, huddled together, packed into the small space below the stairs.
It's pretty cozy! She says..
They are safe. They are riding out the hurricane there...together.
Our family has never been short on sarcasm and cracking jokes.. even in times of distress.
It's a coping mechanism, I'm sure. And maybe in mixed company, it's not always welcome.
But it's what we do.

Within/Without, oil on panel, 18x24"

Within/Without
We are all shapeshifters, chameleons of sorts when we need to be.
We tear apart, engage, discover, dissolve, and change within.
I have also experienced that what is bliss to one is uncomfortable to another
But the blissful couldn't care less.
It comes and goes.
I can say, though, that I've never really been able to fall in line with the Empty Ones.
Attempts to connect with them are futile.
It doesn't mean I haven't tried, though. And it doesn't mean they haven't either.
But our trying is different.

I am up for reinventing. I float and shift and disappear in the wind.
I accept the challenge of discovering or even taking part in inventing a world where we can all co-exist more peacefully

Slipping into a flashback, but this one's noise from the conscious over-thinking mind:
What you do is easy, she says.
And after way too many eons spent evaluating those 5 little words, and what little there is behind them, I've come to this:
1) Well, I must be doing something right then.
And 2) That says more about her than about me.

I come alone to this vast abyss. Sometimes that's the way it needs to be.
The possibilities are endless. Even new worlds are possible.
I'd be happy to connect with you there, though, if you're ready. And especially if you're not.
It's where we find ourselves.

Fiery Mind, oil on panel, 8x10"

Fiery Mind
I am a fiery mind, a fiery heart. I take them with me wherever I go.
I am a galaxy. I am a bridge. I am a collective.
I am a reflection. I am what you're looking at, the projection of what you think.
What do you see? What does 'to see' mean to you? What are you looking for?
I am the absence of your projection, an experiment in mark-making and the accumulation of everything I know, everything I've experienced at this moment.
I am not one thing without the other. I am the easy and the difficult. I am the ease and the struggle.
If you see me as one without the other, that's on you and not on me.
I am not your projection, but to you, I am.

Another flashback from the subconscious...a reassurance:
It was around 3rd period – I saw you in the hall and you told me you were going to steal my drawing off the wall in art class, you liked it so much.
It was a big face.
It's still in my big art portfolio, now stored in our garage in the house we share together.
Many, many years later.
I can't say I could've seen that coming – that we'd be here now.
But I can say that we've certainly shared an incredible number of experiences together since back then.
I can look at your face and see our story there.

It's all intertwined – our experience, our work, our process, our journey, our interpretations – all are a reflection of ourselves.
In the form of a painting, and in the form of us as human beings.
We see what we need to see.

To Rise Again, oil on panel, 8x10"


To Rise Again
While I reinvent, I float and shift and disappear in the wind.
I tear apart, engage, discover.. I dissolve. I evolve.
And I rise again.

Our body of work is the span of our lifetime. Each painting is a chapter in an ongoing novel.
If we wanted to, we could call them all works in progress.
Or call the body of work as a whole a work in progress.
Because things continuously are changing and evolving.
Always keeping us on our toes, quietly preparing us for moments of adversity.
And it's in those moments that we rise up and meet our challenges with courage and strength and resilience.
It's not only possible to be brave, it's essential.
We owe it to ourselves to do this.

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