Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finally, the Feeling Series has begun again

My Feeling Series painting was started in 1994 but my idea to do paintings that depicted emotions came many years before that. I knew, when I first had the idea, that I was not up to the project. It took at least 15 years, a couple of years in art schools, several years of therapy and at least 10 years without alcohol and drugs in my system before I was emotionally ready to begin work on these canvases.

This is the first painting, called "Anger" which took the better part of a year to paint. These paintings are not intended to be universal; they are my emotions, and many symbols and images are from my dreams, my thoughts and feelings.

This one is "Fear". It has many references to death and various fears I have and presaged, in a very spooky way, the life altering event that came to me unexpectedly when we lost our entire retirement savings.
That event caused our unplanned move to Florida where we owned a home. I went to Rhode Island to close my gallery and studio, sell most of our furniture, art supplies, and a huge amount of stuff, while frantically finishing the Fear painting, which I knew I could never duplicate anywhere else. The rest of the series may be seen on my website: http://www.gainor.biz/index_files/feelingseries.htm

I was unaware that I was going to have to start over in Florida and it proved to be demoralizing, as well as massively confusing. I had not worked for anyone else since 1977! I had to find work, my husband began to have serious health problems, and the lightning bolt hit me before I knew what had happened. It has been seven years. I could find work, and I could teach painting, but things were so different here. In Rhode Island I could easily fill a 5-day painting workshop. Here, they laughed at me if I suggested a painting class to be more than 2 or 3 hours.

The big derailment was the Feeling Series. The sheer size of them was daunting in my 10 x 12 spare bedroom studio. I used to work on them for 8 to 12 hours at a stretch, for weeks at a time. Now having time to paint for a whole day was not possible. Ever. How could I find the focus again? I worked for a brief time in a dreadful place that operated on shame. It brought up so many feelings and I thought "now is the time to start the Feeling Series again." I all ready knew what imagery I was going to use for the Shame Painting. So it got set up in this tiny studio 3 years ago! It has been mocking and shaming me every time I go in and out of my studio, seeing it there, ready to go, the canvas blank and turned against the wall.

On January 1st I made several resolutions. One was to either start the next Feeling Series painting or close the series at 7 paintings. I originally planned 12. It has been a daily affair of meditation, invocations, talks to myself, and talks with trusted friends and confidants, and finally the leap off the cliff happened last Sunday. It was exhausting. I not worked on a 48 x 36 inch canvas for a long time. My arm and shoulder hurt from reaching. My back hurts all the time anyway, but after lowering and raising the canvas numerous times it hurt much worse. I wanted to sit, but the energy needed me to stand.

It has begun...finally. I know I am up to the technical aspects of the painting; you don't forget those things. But I worry about the focus, the energy level, the commitment of time, and how to finagle my life around such limited resources of time and money. At one time I considered applying for a grant to finish these paintings, but was afraid that on the outside chance I got one I didn't know for sure I could fulfill the commitment. I am still not sure I can fulfill the commitment, but at least I don't have to pay back a grant!

So...one day at a time I will continue to wrestle with Shame. Check back for reports. I hope there will be reports, because that will mean there will be some progress.

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