June 11, 2008

Paintings Commemorating Cancer Journeys

Thinking more about color, which I mused on yesterday in regards to decorating one's home. I thought back to abstract explorations of color and symbolism that kept me busy for many hours during the early months of 2006.

I was recovering from an illness that ended up leaving me pretty worn out from late 2005 until successful surgery and relief in the fall of 2006. So, during the winter months of January and February and March... I often liked to sit in my comfortable chair, with all my Sharpie markers nearby and sketch on Bristol Board, 14 x 11 or 8.5 x 11, while watching TV.

The picture above was done on larger paper (hot-pressed D'Arches watercolor), it was an invitational piece done for Lily, a pharmaceutical company, for their annual "Oncology on Canvas" exhibition (London and also traveling around the US). http://www.lillyoncologyoncanvas.com/index.jsp (click on "Launch 2006 gallery) and then search for "Life and Being ID: 395."

Part of the entry process was the written description of the artist's cancer journey (personal or in relationship to a loved one with cancer), and mine is at the end of this article.

As the winter wore on, I did many drawings with this same style. Most of them had egg shapes, a few had trees, rivers, roots. It was wonderful to explore these symbols and colors with no thought as to "earning money" or "selling them." Just for the joy of doing them. (I'll post more soon.)

I wonder what other artists do, who make their living with their art--they need that income to support themselves, but yet there is something lost in work that is done with one eye on the checkbook. So, what do they do for themselves?

For me, there is a wonderland to explore in all the exists beyond the commercial. I am traveling to that wonderland as I age.

When I was an art student, my professer told me that as I got older and knew myself, my work would improve--I would have all my life experiences to bring to it. He was so right (thanks Mr. Rohn). I imagine he was in his mid-forties at that time; a large man who battled a stutter but also played the mandolin and sang beautifully. He took us on hikes in the local park and helped us to "see" the shapes in nature. He graded hard; to get an A in his class was a real accomplishment. I've not forgotten the lessons I learned years ago in his class.

I was reading a book by Sue Miller recently, and there was a line in there about how mothers see their children at all the ages and stages they ever were, simultaneously. I thought, how true that is.

Perhaps our personal artwork allows us to be everything we ever have been simultaneously...it is all there embedded in our work. And, then in this piece "Life and Being" I am commemorating someone else's life, so their life and mine merge to be unique. Though the subject, Joe Kahn, was known far better by his blood family, loved better, and longer by them; my story about him was still mine, no one else's. We each have our own stories and they are all worthwhile. They come out in our artwork, sometimes in spite of ourselves.

"Life and Being", description (right click and "open in new window" and it will be large enough for you to read):

Postscript: I have just read more information on the exhibit and the submission process in a press release that is posted on another blog. Lily is accepting submissions for the next exhibit up until July 15, 2008.

1 comment:

Mark V. Williams said...

I find poetry to be this kind of medium, where you are basically doing it for yourself. There is no monetary market for poetry. You may try to get published, but it is usually just a way to let the world know that you existed. I love the piece of work you show here.

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