Oils on Paper
Framed 32.5”x 45”
When several paintings had hands flung off the page, my homework assignment from my painting group was to “paint the hands.”
Journal 8/21/95: There is a huge mask from previous paintings that I feel a need to explore. But I’m afraid of the dark….Blood dripped down the left side – thinking of my bloody C-section painting [Fierce Compassion] – and filled a kind of sloshing red place at the bottom. Very satisfying. I love the bloody part. A raven flies in the upper right – my new omen-bringer. I carefully painted in a spiral with my new brush. It’s a whirlpool now or a tunnel going down. I feel I must dive into it – and will when the time comes. A green dancing or swimming or jumping figure – not my body type at all. More the African Negro or Bushman with her high boobs, long legs, and pouty butt. Is she dancing with abandon to unheard music or leaping through the ocean, down, down??
Why do I consider being out on the limb, exploring the unknown to be so fraught with things going bump in the night? Is it a bargain that I’m making that if I prepare for the worst it won’t be so scary? Am I picking up on my parents’ feeling that exploring oneself and the depths of the unknown will be full of unspeakable terrors? And will surely land one in the loony bin. I must be trusting that it will turn out well or else why would I need to do it – be driven to the task?
Is the masked figure Tom – or at least have an element of Tom?
The mask can be symbolic of the masks we all wear and must peel off like the proverbial onion to be true to ourselves and each other. Tom had another interesting hit – that the mask is something interesting waiting to be inhabited. The Greeks, Africans, Chinese felt that their masks really came alive when someone put them on. Is there a character there for me to explore? I like the idea of putting it on – then I can speak with the mouth that I am also committed to diving into.
Living out loud indeed….
Written for Out of the Ashes Show, North County Rec District, January 2004