Wyeuca In the Windy City: Perspectives.
My trip to Chicago was one of the most creatively and spiritually intense experiences I have ever had. Over the next couple of days, those of you who are still interested can read about how and why. I’ll try and keep it short.
I’ve never put such physical and mental demands on myself for such a short period of time. It’s one thing to set to a single art project and to hammer it out from start to finish as quickly as possible. Doing it three times in one week takes things to a whole other level.
The other thing, and I swear I mean this, is that I have never been much of a painter. Drawing has always been my go to thing; it’s portable, it doesn’t take a lot of prep, and you can literally draw on anything. Assemblage work has been a passion for various reasons which I have discussed in other Notes, but essentially I love the idea of storytelling and of destroying something [or taking something that has been destroyed] and making it beautiful again.
So when I decided to paint a sparrow on a ceiling and to do a live painting in front of other people, a part of me said, “Wait, take that back. You’re about to make an idiot of yourself.” I haven’t really painted since college, and never acquired the comfort with it the way I did with other media. I wasn’t sure I could deliver what I envisioned. In the end, I think I did, and I’m pretty proud of it.
But it stretched me. On one hand, two days standing on an 18’ scaffolding while painting a ceiling with a 12’ roller and then painting a bird effectively upside down is a pretty physically taxing enterprise. When I finally got down at the end of the day, it still felt like the ground was shaky under my feet. Gives you a whole new respect for the people who paint your house.
I also couldn’t see what the ceiling nor the live painting looked like until I was finished, so I had no idea if they were coming across, and I certainly had no idea if people were going to connect with the work. This is artwork for people with a totally different experience from mine. It was truly an exercise of faith in myself, that what I was doing was in fact working.
But when I stepped away from the hard work and got to see it from a wider perspective, it turned out I did okay.
It occurs to me that this is a fitting metaphor for the last 9 months of my life. 2013 started on a pretty low note, and I spent a lot of time angry and hurt and wondering what was going on, unable to see anything good coming from my circumstances. But time has passed. There’s some distance now between me and those circumstances. There’s still pain and disappointment, and some things haven’t turned out the way I’d like. But then again, some things are better than they ever could have been otherwise.
Stepping away, seeing things from a wider perspective, it turns out I am doing okay.