I footnoted these 2 pieces in FOXGLOVE Journal before on previous posts, but I should have presented them better,
supporting the wonderful creative journals that support writers and artists – thank you😘
(photos courtesy of Foxglove Journal)
I didn’t know your history
your smile never let on
I didn’t know your struggles
you lifted us without complaint
I didn’t know you cried yourself to sleep
you kissed us so gently
I didn’t know you grew up shunned
your embrace included all who entered
I didn’t know your ninth Christmas
you wished only for peace
I didn’t know your childhood
you gave your own children love without conditions
I was a teen, when you told me
how your father drank
all the fights, the smashing glass, the screaming
you were kicked out and had to move nine times
your childhood was a dark story
one you never used to fan futile flames
you welcomed life
donned a brave face
put yourself through college
and never looked back
5’x6′ painting done at my mom’s request about eight years ago – all her grandkiddies and all their teeth!
The image below is a scan of a photograph. The original no longer exists. I destroyed it long ago. The original chalk pastel rendering was created in 1985. I’d just graduated from college and desired to create ‘meaningful art.’ At the time, I believed art was only appreciated if it made a statement of a political, religious or secular nature. I’d been influenced by Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Goya, Ensor, Munch…to name a few. I wanted to be clever and let viewers figure out what I was ‘saying.’ This piece was ‘attempting art’ rather than expressing…
In 1985, I believed the piece above spoke to the ‘invisible,’ heavy-handedness of the Roman Catholic Church and the US Government, and how both powerful institutions could equate great suffering and pain – many viewers would have easily arrived at this interpretation. Today, I appreciate the interplay of Christ’s thorns and the Statue of Liberty’s crown, but being ‘a bit’ more mature, I realize I was placing symbols together from my brain, not from my heart. I could say the same thing for the piece below. I painted this acrylic image, Trapped (detail), much the same way – too much from sentiment. It is wrought with over-emotion, not my true emotion.
And this last large piece below, a 6′ x 6′ oil painting that I originally titled, “Portrait of Self and Others,” is filled with self-pity, not self-awareness. (This piece made its debut on an older post)
I guess, having things to look back on reminds us how forward we’ve come. And maybe, that’s what it’s about. The creative process helps one learn where they’ve been, and if they’ve travelled far enough to reach a place they can call home…
Peace, my friends. When you dream, may you find enough rest for the following day.
Blogtox Injection – 3 days to go
Since I began building my little keystroke cabin in this charming corner of blogworld, I’ve met more than a few enlightening, whimsical and talented neighbors. To date, I’ve published 32 posts all written in a light, spontaneous style. I choose this approach for a very simple reason-life is not always light and spontaneous, in fact, it can be quite the opposite for many.
Yesterday I subbed in our local Middle School and there was an early morning assembly. My job was to escort the class to the auditorium then remain with them during the entire program. The assembly’s speaker was John Halligan, a man who’s dedicated his life to sharing a “powerful healing message of forgiveness and unconditional love.” On October 7, 2003, John Halligan’s thirteen-year-old son took his own life. There are many layers to Ryan Halligan’s story-a story of bullying, undiagnosed depression and missteps on all sides, along the way. During the ninety-minute assembly, John Halligan peeled away these layers one-by-one.
Ryan’s beautiful spirit, smiling and sometimes laughing floated by on a large screen behind his father as his sad story unfolded.
Listening to Ryan’s brave father speak on stage, at times choking up on words and images of his son, sent a powerful message. In his brief lifetime, Ryan wished for nothing more than unconditional love.The very thing that would have saved him. The very thing his father and mother gave and continue to give. In this world of excess and jargon, unconditional love remains free and honest. One of John Halligan’s closing remarks, “…if I’ve gotten through to just one student today, just one, this was worth it. Kids know you are loved, know you are loved, you are loved unconditionally…”
John Halligan ended Ryan’s Story with words he himself received from his high school art teacher, “…every inkblot can be turned into a butterfly…”
If you’d like to learn the details of Ryan’s Story: http://www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org/