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An Epiphany

What? It’s the middle of the day, well not quite, but the sun is still out for some time to come and I am finished with a project. Yes, it is the one I started yesterday, and yes, it is completely different from what it started out to be. Last night I gave up. I posted that photo and went to bed. I really had no idea what I was going to do next. I had some idea about my mother (which I think I mentioned), but I felt overwhelmed and lost. I really wanted to do something different. I had a discussion with Dan about it this afternoon and had an epiphany. Altered art is difficult for me because there really are no rules, there are no “supposed to be”, or “supposed to look like” guidelines. There isn’t going to be anyone telling me that I’m doing it wrong, or something to compare it to. It is what it is, and you either like it or don’t. That’s hard for me. The whole thing is hard for me, courtesy of …myself! I’m beginning to think I need to recite a mantra while I work, repeating over and over, “Relax, relax…”. I’m a great cook, really great, like you would like to come to my house every night for dinner great, and I like to bake, and I’m good at it. I never, ever question myself when I am cooking or baking, I just do it. Most of the time I don’t even measure or follow recipes, and when I do I change them, I’m that confident. Why can’t I find that confidence in my art? When I told friends and family about this project many were happy for me and so supportive, some quite honestly seem to give a crap, but one in particular said something that really bothered me. (I won’t say who (or is it whom?) it is, let’s just say she may have given birth to my husband.) I said I was a little A.D.D. when it comes to art, there are way too many things I like to do, and that I find it difficult to stick to one thing. The response? A reference to “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Here’s the thing, I am good at everything I do. Am I the best? No, but I rarely fail at anything creative. Does every meal I make turn out right? No. Does every batch of cookies come away perfect? No. Do I agonize over those mistakes? No. Everything artistically that I have attempted has worked. I may not get the exact results that I was hoping for, but for the most part the work is pretty damn good. Am I a master, certainly not, but I am a gifted human being who is struggling to find out who she is as an artist before the clock runs out and I leave my children hundreds of unfinished pieces of work and enough art supplies for my own Blick outlet store.

So, after that long, long-winded unloading, my project. I was still thinking about my mother this morning, that led me into thinking about life and death, eternal life. Will I see her again kind of stuff, and then I knew what I wanted to do. Well, sort of, it just started working on its own. The piece is called, “ab aeterno”, which is Latin for, “from the eternal”. The wood burned marks of last night weren’t doing it for me. I filled it with wood putty, and you may have noticed a clock piece on it last night, I hated it. I had to scrape it off. (Note to self: do not glue things down until you are sure you want them there!) I eventually had a brainstorm and heated my putty knife which lifted the hot glue off nicely. I rubbed some gold acrylic where the burn marks had been and there was just enough left to hold the color like rays. I printed the William Blake quote on Vellum, and cut the halo from the scraps. The halo is actually two pieces glued almost all the way together, it gives it a very three-dimensional quality. I rubbed the gold on the torn edges of the quote, added hints of Martha Stewart’s pearl paint, (fabulous stuff!) and painted my title. On a different headstone in the same cemetery I found this beautiful casting of some Calla Lilies, I printed those on the same water slide decal paper, and painted them with a hint of the pearl paint using my finger. (My mother’s grave marker, which I designed, has shamrocks, a harp and Calla Lilies on it, all symbols of significance to Ireland.) I finished the piece by putting a clock hand in the hand of the angel, as a reminder of how time is not ours to control. I love it. I think what I love most was that at a certain point my brain shut down and the work took over. It’s something I need to do more often. Ab aeterno (4)

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