Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grief

This painting is the one I've been stuck on for about a month. Travel (family and work) has taken a lot of the time and energy in recent weeks. That's been good and bad... but it has definitely made it harder to paint. Even when there is time there isn't enough energy.

And this image has been in the way. I had to do this one first.

I think I'm done with this. I don't know if the painting is done, but I'm done with the painting.

When the image emerged on the paper, in a mass of lines from blind-contour drawings of paintings of totally unrelated subjects, laid over each other in every orientation (I turn the paper), I was surprised. Then I realized what it was, and what that bleak landscape in the center meant to me, and I knew the title. That led to the color scheme, and the surrounding darkness. Figuring out how to handle the head, and refining the muscles further took a while. Then the image just wouldn't finish - it always seemed to need more. Every time I thought I was done it seemed to need more the next time I looked at it. Like the emotion itself...

I had a recent visit with my Dad where he was more energetic and humorous than I've seen him in over a year. I left later than I meant to, and barely made the next family event in that busy weekend, but I couldn't tear myself away. I loved getting more of him back. I couldn't get enough. The chemo is working, but it has some harsh side effects, and it's not a cure. The enemy has been mostly shut out, but the seige continues, and the defense takes a lot out of Dad. That's what I'm grieving, I think - the partial loss.

Watercolor on Arches hotpress paper - 19 x 19. Click the image for a larger view.

2 comments:

linda said...

steve, i am sorry you are grieving, sorry your father must endure the harsh treatment that is cancer's calling card....i have seen the so-called cure's damage... and when it eats at someone deeply loved, as you love him, it hurt's like hell... this painting seems to come from a place that knows grief, i feel it when i look at your work, it grabs me inside that wound...unexpectedly, powerfully. i agree.

funny-i am doing the same on a board of crackled paste, painting over and over, looking for something that is not happy, will never be happy-it keeps prodding me, saying give me what i want....i think i get it now. sometimes things have to be left as they are.

i am glad you have made the decision it is finished.... and i apologize this is so long. xx

Jul said...

It's a very powerful image, Steve.

My best wishes for your dad's health.