It's been a wonky year. Since coming back from our trip, it took me a while to feel settled in our new place. I took a commission with an elderly Holocaust survivor who wanted artists to archive her memories of that time. It was extremely emotional and brought up a lot of feelings for me, about my own family and how many people I never got to meet because they were killed in the camps. This elderly Jewish woman reminded me a lot of my (favourite and now deceased) grandmother, Hilda. Even her voice, the way she spoke, reminded me of her. As I began working with her it became clear that there was no way I could convey her experience the way she pictured it. It was frustrating and somehow I took it personally, like my grandmother herself was saying that my art was no good. That was close to a year ago and it took me about six months before I considered painting again. Making art is a difficult process, often there is a voice saying, "this is crap, it's stupid, why don't you stop now before you make more of a fool of yourself". Previously in my life I felt like I have done a pretty good job of ignoring that voice. You can't listen to it or you'll never get anything done. I wouldn't say I'm my biggest fan, but most of the time I find pleasure in making things, and afterwards some satisfaction when looking at my creations. After trying to make the commission piece reflecting Holocaust experiences (which made me cry every time I worked on it), I was overwhelmed by the negative voice and felt like there was no point in making art, in doing anything. I was stuck and couldn't make a thing.
Three things helped me get over the hump:
1. I went back to work at the same after-school careprogram that I've been working at the last ten years. Those kids rock! And they think I rock! They love my art and I have had the opportunity to show my varied skills. It gave me some much-needed stroking of the ego.
2. My parents. My mom, an artist, is wonderful to talk to about all things art related. Also, she genuinely enjoys creating and talks with such enthusiasm about getting back into the studio that it inspires me. My dad is a poet and editor; also his father`s entire family did not survive and the survivor`s guilt got passed on to him. He is familiar with the territory, let`s say. When I told him that I have a voice that says, "what`s the point" he said you have to talk back to the voice and say you`re doing it anyway because that`s what you`re doing.
3. My husband, Kevin. I can`t imagine what would happen if I lived with someone who was only halfway enthused about my art. I think I would stop painting after a while, because I don`t always have faith in myself to carry through. But Kevin is %100 supportive of my work and likes to get on my case about finishing paintings! He also, as I`ve mentioned before, helps stretch, delivers paintings, and helps me get submissions in on time. Phew.
I feel really blessed to have such supportive people in my life. I hope my grandma Hilda would love my paintings, too. So, getting back on track. Back on the horse. I found a deadline for a show submission and pushed myself to finish three new pieces. One is an abstract called "East Side Sunday", the second one is a more polished version of The Sun building. The third, pictured, is called "Tiber at Midnight" and is from a photo I took during our travels in Rome.
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