Monday, May 24, 2010

Dancing to the Tune of Paint

I am a woman of many projects, ask anyone who knows me. Idle does not agree with me.
Last summer I decided to take out the old fashion T-post laundry line that stood in the center of my yard. Every time I would walk across the yard, I would have to bend down to avoid the line. It amuses me to think of the expression "clothes lined", and I have been. I decided to remove one pole and repurpose the other pole, paint it and put bird houses along the top. Immediately I saw an opportunity. So I called my daughter Tiffany and asked if the boys, (my three grandsons who live in Loveland) could come spend the afternoon and help. Of course she said yes, like every mother of small children, she welcomed the break. They pulled into the driveway, the van door opened like a can of sardines with a Bowes speaker system inside. Loud voices of excitement and Eveready bunny energy emerged, primed for the adventure.
I think that is the charismatic draw that children have. They are fully and totally in the moment.
We went straight to the back yard. They were excited to see this project; Grammy had invited them over for.
I showed them the paint, and brushes, gave them a brief tutorial in art supply care and then told them they could use whatever color they wanted and paint whatever design they wanted. No Rules.
Caleb was at the time 6 yrs old and has been diagnosed high functioning autistic, Zayne 5yrs old and boy as boy can be, Davey, 4yrs old and has another set of challenges but sweet and always smiling. They were very serious and I could tell they were listening intently while I gave them their charge. Then they picked up their brushes and chose their paint and began painting.
What I saw was nothing short of "the essence of life" pure unencumbered joy.
Caleb began to hum and dance. The energy was contagious, Davey followed in the celebration, though Zayne was intense and meticulous, soon his joy erupted in a chorus of lalalalas.
That was an afternoon I will never forget. I could fully relate to their joy.
The pole is bursting with color and as with all original art carries a spirit, a life of its own. I love remembering that day. It was transformative.

I cannot remember when I started drawing. I have to rely on the family folklore. I know, Art, drawing, painting, creating was the first thing that I was sure I loved. Like my grandchildren, dancing and humming around the clothesline pole with brush and paint in hand, I feel that joy still, when painting.

There is a joy present in the works of Frida Kahlo among the honest illustration of her ongoing physical limitations and chronic pain. You will find it in the paint. You will find it in the masterful images, color, and content. Frida was in the moment, Frida was that moment. It has been said " It is in the journey we find happiness" When I look at the works of Frida I see someone who did not give up what she loved, but found love in what she did. She made herself absolutely vulnerable, as a child.
Frida's paint dances on the canvas for all to enjoy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Color your way through

In researching Frida, of course I had to watch the movie "Frida" staring Selma Hayck. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It is a work of art in itself. Artfully and thoughtfully done. I also read "The Brush of Anguish" by Martha Zamore, my daughter picked up for me at the Frida Kahlo exibition at Philidelphia Museum of Art.
I just can't get tired of looking at her work. There is meaning in everything she did, down to the last detail. I have no wish to interpret her work, people with much more knowledge than I, have already done that.
I started drawing when I could pick up a pencil or a crayon, so I am told. I remember sitting for hours and just drawing. My childhood had alot of tramma and I remember drawing my way through it. I could go somewhere else.
Last summer I had the priviledge of being chosen to participate in the Loveland Transformation Project. About thirteen artist were chosen to paint electical tranformer boxes and my transformer is next to the Loveland Museum. WOW, sometimes, I have to pinch myself, what a source of joy that was, and it came at a time in my life that was especially difficult. Karl had just died in February and I was in deep grief. I thought I would never come to the other side and then I received this honor. For the first time in a long time I felt true joy. Painting that transformer brought me back to life, when I thought there was none to be had.
What I am learning right now from reading about Frida and looking at her art, may turn out to be a valuable lesson in art and in life. I imagine that she colored her way through much pain and anguish,I don't see self pity in anything she did, but that does not mean denying the nature of your true circumestances, create beauty from whatever you are given.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

hand in hand with Frida

In choosing a painting from Frida's work as my jumping off point, I thought about her life and you cannot think about Frida Kahlo's life without considering her intense chronic pain as a result of the trolly accident she was in as a youth and the many surgeries that left her at times worse than before the surgery and how in the midst of this pain she was able to create such beautiful art.
One cannot compare pain, it is impossible. I think when one compares one's pain with someone else’s it devalues either yours or theirs, yet we all have it. It is one of the things that make us human. Some are unable to get past it, some get through it, and some, the pain is the color on the canvas and it is beautifully brilliant.
My grandmother Dodge had polio as a child. She spent a number of years in bed. Her legs became a challenge not her excuse. My father told a story of his youth when she took him shopping for school clothes. They were downtown Canon City, Colorado. They were walking past a store front and she looked at her reflection in the window and said, "Who's that cripple". She never saw herself as handicapped. She was vibrant, energetic, creative and hard working. She raised four boys alone and had a successful career. She endured alot of pain and it made her magnificent.
The work of Frida Kahlo is not only poetically painful but also strikingly beautiful.
This leads me to my own pain and what I do with it. It is there. I don't know about anyone else, but I am on a journey through it, with it and in it and color is my companion.
What about you?