Saturday, September 30, 2017

After the hurricane

It seems to have happened again: current events that seem to float behind the scenes, on the back burner of my mind, have a way of moving into the foreground when I paint.

This one -- well, the more I look at it, the more it seems to be about the devastation in Puerto Rico. It's odd; the whole time I was painting with it I was arguing with it, trying to get it to be more gracious, less dark, less burning, less angry -- and yet, though just yesterday I thought I'd be completely ready to paint over it, with the additional touches -- the sharp edges and angles I added this morning -- I've decided... not that I like it, exactly; I find this painting difficult to like... but it's done; it's right; I won't be painting over it; I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about it; it is what it is -- a response to stimuli pretty much beyond my control.

It feels ... right, somehow; like the darkness is appropriate, unavoidable, sincere; something that needs to be waded into, like the other darknesses that have become increasingly exposed in the last year. However poisoned the well may be, our job now is to drink; we have no choice -- if we are to survive we have to trust that we'll find nourishment in our discomfort. We can only rebuild if we sort through the mess and find what little there might be that is possible to redeem.

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