From The Gut (Fire in the Belly)

FromtheGutSummer 2001
Acrylics on Canvas
16”x 20”

I hope someday I understand what I probably already know.

I was deliberately exploring my food issues in this painting and there are plenty of stories I can tell about it. But the whole of the painting remains elusive. I guess that’s why I still have stomach troubles!

Some details were drawn in deliberately to tease out the emotional context around them. My mother in blue serving my birthday cake. The family Christmas egg nog which I continue to make and pig out on most years. Watermelon – symbol of eating control issues with my grandfather.

Then there are the images that just sort of happened with a flip of the brush – messages from my body via my hand to my mind (poor thing, so stuck in its view of the world). Fire exploding from my head like the earlier Pele painting up into a dancing figure and then into the stomach, a swirl of color. Inside the belly is a little fetus – the green seed/egg again. Why an acacia tree on an African savannah? Giraffe kept showing up that year, including Nicki Scully’s insight about giraffe’s long neck allowing visions of the overview and acting from its very large heart.

Other mysteries – The blue line threading through. The number 14 (looks more like a four) that for years randomly popped into my head near the vegetable section in the grocery store. (Go figure!) I eventually recognized it as the XIV Temperance card in the Tarot – she of angelic balance and fire. Is she nudging me towards temperance in my eating in order to find the fire in my belly?? Eat more vegetables!

And yoga – wonderful yoga, getting me in touch with my belly. Joining body, mind and spirit. I shudder now to see that rounded back in dog pose. But perhaps having it so made me pull my heart closer to my belly the next time I did the pose, a subtle change that might have made a difference?

Written for Out of the Ashes Show, January 2004.

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