Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The commission that I started back in May, resolved, finally:

It was fitful toward the end, as it usually is for me, when I sense that I'm close but can't settle on how to put final touches in their right place.

These paintings turned out to be so much more quiet and soft than I'd originally planned, and I was really fighting with myself about how to bring back the boldness and rhythm of the first layers. There is always tension between what I think I want, and what the painting itself is doing.

So, I pulled my hair and bit my lips and dabbed and erased and huffed and puffed, and somewhere in there I mixed the sweetest gray and it found its way in, balancing and brightening. Even as I was overthinking it, each panel gently found its completion and waited for me to hush my mind enough to see it.

I guess I didn't want to allow that the final step could be so small and subtle... I was hoping for a flourish! Some drama! But no.

I was also waiting to feel finished, and that didn't happened right away. Now they're packed and shipped, and I'm waiting to hear that they've found their home and match the wall color. Then I'll exhale.

 I had another fit trying to name them, and after brainstorming a list of words, I felt like I usually do while playing Scrabble -- that certainly these letters add up to something? Plene is a word, right? How about palanquist? Dictionary.com was no help, nor Thesaurus.com, but when I told Jason, he suggested maybe I was thinking of palanquin. It's good to be married to an academic.

Palanquins, it turns out, are canopied chairs carried aloft by porters, used to bear noble people or royalty, or, with a more crude construction, to bear the wounded from the battlefield. One definition says, "a wheel-less vehicle, a type of human-powered transport, for the transport of persons." They also look a little like omikoshi in Japan, which are ornate gilded little shrines, held in the same way, used in festivals to carry the gods through the streets. 

I like the idea of my vertebrae, especially the atlas, as a palanquin. A human-powered vehicle, for the transport of my person, my head, my gods, my silly ideas. 

Thank you, MV, for the opportunity to make art for you, I truly hope it works just right in your space. If not, you're going to have to re-paint that wall. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it very intersting to read about your perspektive on these pieces. I don't understand or interpret art. I have a very limited understanding of metaphors, paintings "speaking" to the artist or anyone, really. I just like a picture or I don't, and I couldn't possibly tell you why. These I love. They look right where they are. They are not the first of your work we have bought, and I am sure they are not the last. Thank you for your effort,