Saturday, June 25, 2016


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Lascaux cave painting

Humans have expressed themselves with paintings from caveman times. But what if my biography was written as a series of paintings?

Childhood would have pine trees and snow. We had 38 pines in front of our house with the side garden of roses, lilies, iris, violets and lilacs depending on the season.

Like the trees and plants I was nurtured, hugged, read to, encouraged, told I was beautiful and smart. My family played games together, ate wonderful meals prepared by my mother (gourmet) or my grandmother (old-fashioned New England cooking) and we talked around the table at each meal, often about what we would eat at the next meal as well as what we did that day.

It was New England and winters brought snow forts and tobogganing. The snow gave limitations just as my mother's over protectiveness brought limitations on what I could and couldn't do. Convinced the world was waiting to kidnap me, walking to school or even playing outside our 14 acres of yard was impossible.

The upper right hand corner of the painting would be painted black. Not a very big part but it would represent my parents unhappy marriage and perhaps a bit of black paint from that tiny corner would trickle down onto the rest of the canvas.

My marriage would be a split screen. I married a man I adored. Unfortunately he existed only in my mind.

The left hand side would be full of images of the Europe I fell in love with, of cobbled streets, markets done in Picasso type shapes. Somewhere would be a modernistic German shepherd.

German words could be painted in tiny letters and hidden in parts of the painting. 

Europe would not take up the entire left hand side. The other part would be books of many colors. I was at university, in love with learning, trying to absorb the novels, the poetry, the history, the music.

If each minute of the day was occupied with working part time, taking care of a house, trying to live up to the expectations of a conventional marriage in a conventional time when married women were not students, the classes provided the color of each day. This part of the painting would not be abstract. It was my joy, my sanity.

Kazimir Malevich's painting would be perfect for the other half of the painting showing those years. Nothing was ever right enough. Constant trying harder without giving the one thing that I needed most, my education, was exhausting at best.

But there were some good moments. One of those gray lines could be my diploma, my first professional job. And my ex and I did share somethings, albeit only on his terms. Wimpdom was my home country. Where was the person I used to be?  Where was the woman I wanted to be?

A crib would have to be in the next painting, but not a plain one, one painted like a rainbow in a room of sunrises. My daughter saw me thru my divorce and the pain of recovery. This painting should have that black square receding into the back ground.

My real life began as I built a career, friendships, experimented and failed sometimes and picked myself up and went on. I succeeded and learned. Watching my daughter grow into a wonderful woman would be shown in reds, yellows, pinks. And almost every day I was happy to be.

From 30 on my life was full of color and happiness. There might be a splotch of gray as something didn't work. Maybe a hole in the colors should be made to represent losing people I loved.

But mostly I lived the life I wanted, moved to Europe, began to write, perfected my craft, changed nationalities...some of these were firework events that merit their own canvas.

An entire art gallery could not hold all the paintings of my life from 30 on, yet there are still new artwork in pastels, crayons, oils and probably even digital creations with new experiences being added.

How do you paint an ecstatic bride in her 70s? How do you show that life gets better and better with each day? How can you paint a cancer that was in one way a gift as a reminder of how precious life was/is/will be?

My life, my paintings, my gallery...

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