Alchemical Vessel 2018 - Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

I am so honored to be a participating artist for the Alchemical Vessel 2018 fundraising event for Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. This is the first year I was nominated and it could not have been better timing. Here is my story:

I forced myself to start this painting a few days after the loss of a dear friend. I did not want to paint this painting. I did not want to feel this grief. I did not know how to take this grief and connect with others who have suffered loss or may be dealing with their own mortality. I just didn’t. I just couldn’t. But I needed to. 

Instead of coming up with an “idea”, I decided I would just start. I picked up the sphere, the circle of wholeness, of eternity, of everlasting love and started to write. I wrote stream of consciousness, no thinking, just pouring. Pouring out of emotions, raw, fragile, true, the secret thoughts inside my own head, the feelings I was experiencing, the grief, the anger, the confusion. I wanted this emotion to be the background of whatever came to be on this surface, even if it was not to be seen. I sealed it in. 

Then I began painting. 

Usually when I start a painting, I attack the surface with bold expressive brush strokes, but here I found myself treating the surface tentatively, in an effort to preserve the precious words, knowing that in time they would be smoothed over inside my own body, inside my own mind. Eventually, I let go. I worked to build up layers, an interconnected history of trial and error, of beauty and struggle, of losing and finding. These are the moments in our lives, a layering of experiences, both good and bad, that no matter how hard we try to preserve or bury them, they are still there creating who we are as a person, bringing out the strength and beauty in each of us. 

ps: the title of this painting is Missing You with an alternative title It's Not Dark! because he used to tease me that all my paintings were dark and depressing, but now my life is full of color, which I know he was happy about. 

Missing You (It's Not Dark!)
Acrylic, oil pastel and graphite on wood

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