Pt. 1. How loving hard made me an artist, how being an artist made me love hard & how loving hard is just hard.
As a creatively inclined person, I have a tendency to love at an exponential ability. Both a blessing and a curse, my emotional intelligence has forced empathy on my brain almost to a point of making it inhabitable. Sometimes it improves my social capacity, and sometimes it makes me a ‘shut-in’ in fear that when I face the world, I will somehow encounter a situation that might break my heart. The same can be said for relationships & friendships. I want to avoid them for a sense of ease, because I know when I’m in it…. I’M IN IT. I wasn’t always this way with fearing friendships but I believe adults get to points when the scalding of past burns has made them particular about sourcing their energy. I have always been talented in understanding human emotions and connections. I have always been in-tune to how others may be feeling, and I have always felt a guilt, a weight and a worry for those who may be in pain. As I’ve stressed many times before, art has been that outlet of compassion for myself. A way to manage the anxieties that are built on-top of me and moved into something expressive. Often it can get me in trouble. Painting can make you feel better, and sometimes it can be confused with fixing things. A painting can help you process, but it can’t change the outcome.
It’s about the process. The butterflies in your stomach when you begin, the fear, the resistance. Not today, not this painting, maybe tomorrow when I have a better idea of what I want to do. I can’t just jump in. Similarly, I speak to myself in this manner when I am approached with the opportunity for a relationship. “I’m not ready, not today, not this one.” When I begin, I still am not clear. I set out my paints, I ask questions, I research, I self-reflect. But once I’ve chosen to jump in, I fall in love quickly, I become comfortable…quickly— with paintings and with people. I thrive in difficult moments, I understand quirks, I knead out the edges, and I give it all of the care I can. I don’t do 50%. Not with art and not with relationships. If my name is on it, if my heart is in it, I’m all in.
Artists can treat relationships similar to their paintings because in a way it feels like a piece of art. They put love and effort and time and stress into it. This feels similar to the pieces of art they make. Sculpted by hand. Paintings don’t tell you when it’s over, when it’s done, but sometimes people do. That can be the hardest part. An artist being told to stop creating, stop loving, stop caring, when in their heart they know it was left unfinished?
Pt. 2 : How it all fits together.
If you asked me if the painting of Icarus is done, I would say never. There are a million strokes of Phthalo Blue, a dozen more sprays of golden paint, and outlines of white that I could spend months, if not years adding. Truthfully the longer it takes hold of my living room, the stronger I feel the urge to carry on the story.
I get unnervingly emotionally attached to my paintings. It's hard not to. My dad and I pick out the perfect pieces of pine, cut them by hand...I spend hours feeling, molding and stretching the canvas, layering it with base paint, finding the perfect colors, sketching and outlining. It was my happy place after a stressful day, it was several bottles of cheap cabernet..(ooo that rhymed).
It was a place to put my mind, when it needed somewhere to wander.
Being done with a piece is what I imagine feels like sending a child off to college. The house feels empty and I just have to trust that I’ve done all I can for it to be a bright light somewhere else. I don’t “want” the painting–hanging above my fireplace or perched above my bed.. because as much as I am proud of my own work… it isn’t for me. But goddammit, I always want it to be a part of my life.
Icarus is painted as the Earth. He started from humility, fell in love with an idea, got to feel like a God for just a moment before falling back. He was warned and he didn’t listen. The sun he reaches for echoes light around his figure reminding him that he’s simply just a man.
The clouds are a glistening envelop around him…because truthfully, if he would have recognized the color and light and beauty that would have carried him on his journey he wouldn’t have left it for something he just couldn’t reach.
Thank you to my homies who gave me love during this whole piece...and thank you to my roommates who didn't have access to the living room for three months.
Photos: Marisa https://msavphoto.com/