Am I losing myself while I’m finding myself? Yes. In recent years I lost everything. I had a good career and a cute little house in the country. My two children and I were living the dream. Then I got sick. It was slow at first, then it snowballed into chaos and shattered lives in every respect. My daughter was young. My son was an adolescent who had to start pulling more weight to compensate for my deficiencies. It was awful. No longer could I rely on my job titles or education. No longer could I depend on me or my own will. That was terrifying.
I could not really express in words what I was feeling. I had attended college concentrating in graphic design, but I could no longer type or draw. I had to find another way to express my emotions. I chose to paint because I felt that regardless of what my health was up to, I could still (hopefully) hold a paintbrush with my teeth if necessary.
I chose to paint with acrylic paints because it dries faster than oil and I found it more versatile than watercolor. I use canvas panels because they are easy to get and store. I chose to create abstract paintings because, in order to confront my emotions, I had to forget about trying to paint things you find in real life such as fruit, the couch, a mountain. Abstract painting allows me to be free to, in a sense, break the rules and forget about ‘making it pretty’. Instead, the work paints itself and it makes itself ‘real’ in a way that no other method can do for me.
Am I losing myself while I’m finding myself? Yes, I am. I use my painting to explore and express my emotions to myself. My paintings are a conversation with myself. Oftentimes, I don’t know what the result of the work will be until it’s done. Often it’s surprising and revealing. The paintings possess the words that I can not express or admit to myself.
I’m very grateful that you are taking the time to bear witness to my emotional journey of rebuilding my life in the face of staggering life changes while I am learning to co-exist with chronic illness. I’m very grateful that you are taking the time to look at my work. I hope you find something that speaks to you.