L'shana tovah to all! May the new year bring you good health, peace, and good news.
The Jewish new year is a deeply reflective time. In honor of the new year, I want to pick up my paintbrush and fully immerse myself in the beauty of the season - feel gratitude for the changing trees, for birds and apples and dragonflies. It's a beautiful time of year in northern Michigan.
Yet in my art I also want to be my authentic self. I want (need) to allow myself to paint what is going on inside my head and heart. That's pretty raw stuff right now.
As an early morning fog hovers over the vineyards and orchards, two sandhill cranes land in the field in front of me. Their beauty takes my breath away. The dissonance in the emotions within me is hard to wrap my head around.
My anger and fear are personal and global. Watching environmental destruction occurring in front of our eyes while climate change and global warming is being denied is beyond my comprehension.
Concurrently, COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have reached over 200,000. Two hundred thousand. And those numbers are only part of the story.
COVID long-haulers, people experiencing symptoms months after having contracted the virus, are coping daily with their life and health being upended. One of those being my daughter who was exposed in early March - before we understood as a nation to "mask up." I can reason that we just didn't know better. But our leadership did know better and chose to remain silent. Withholding that information had a direct detrimental impact on a person closest to my heart. Watching her struggle to take a hike, cook a meal, study, have enough energy for the day is heart wrenching. This past week, the administration suggested 20-somethings are not getting COVID and families are not feeling the impact. My blood boils.
As an artist, what do you do with these emotions? For a bit, I found it very difficult to paint. Then I reminded myself of the healing power of nature. The loons were calling while I sat outside and painted "Otter Lake" - the small painting to the left. It was a moment of pure soothing salve to the heart.
Yet, as an artist, I need to acknowledge and share all of my emotions through my art. Hence, "I Am Here For You" (the heart above) and the painting to the right, "Trapped In The Grey."
I am honored that "Trapped In The Grey" will be shown in the upcoming "Citizen's Coping" show at the Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City. My words on the plexiglass are "trapped" in the grey of the painting and in the texture of the paint. (You can read the words below.). The plexiglass reflects the viewer 's image noting we are all "trapped in the grey."
We are weeks away from one of the most critical elections of our lifetime - perhaps our country's lifetime. My love for our country and our world feels at stake. The safety of all that I love feels at stake. We cannot put teflon around our hearts and pretend that all is well.
I know I am not alone with my mixture of loving the day and being afraid for our future. May we all vote with our hearts and for humanity.
Wishing you good health and love and lightness.
From my heart to yours,
Trapped In the Grey
“Feels like an elephant sitting on my chest.”
I breathe in. I breathe out.
Try not to panic.
She's trapped in the COVID cloud of grey.
My energizer bunny. My athlete. No energy. No answers.
"Try meditating." I say. Lost for words.
"Be your own best advocate." Lost for words.
Her anger erupts. Understandably.
Breathe it all in. Love it all out. She'll get better. No one knows.
Ventilators. Deaths. Asymptomatic innocence. Long-haulers. Headlines scream.
My love for her immense. My fear for her concrete. Heavy. Looming.
"Not a good day" she says. "Go to the emergency room" I plead." "No. They don't know what to do. It's better if I meditate." My words bounced back at me.
"It's a marathon, hon, you'll turn a corner."
"Feels like a long walk, mom, with no corners."
"I don't understand why people don't wear masks. It's easy."
They need to hear the fear. Experience the grey. Feel the grey.
Love it all in. I tell myself.
Breathe it all out. I remind myself.
Trapped in the grey.