My latest and largest painting is done. Talk to Artie, 8ft x 4ft, is a labor of love piece, a time in my studio that completely surpassed time as I knelt directly on this wood panel to write about a conversation I'd love to have had with my grandmother if she were still alive.
I've been reading- ok, more like devouring- two books, Quantum Love by Dr. Laura Berman and Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss (thank you, Ashley!). Both authors, with very different approaches, talk about understanding the spoken and unspoken agreements we make with ourselves and in our relationships and how to stay grounded as we navigate new ways of relating to ourselves and others.
These books have me thinking about my grandmother; the brave decisions she made for the time she lived, and the repercussions that followed. She died when I was young, too young to understand her life or the relationships she created and lived with in her lifetime. She seemed so brave, so smart and funny, but also so sad. It seemed like she made powerful choices in her life but then gave her power away by accepting the inevitable backlash that most women would've faced in that era.
I remember feeling scared to be in this world without her. She seemed misunderstood to me. I felt misunderstood, maybe even misplaced, and didn't know how I'd navigate my life and relationships on my own.
Maybe I made an agreement with her when she left that to remember her- to keep her with me- I would be like her; that I too. I'm seeing so many parallels now.
This is my grandmother, Artella. Everyone called her Artie.
So, with this painting, Talk to Artie, I wrote to my grandma, to say that I'd like to make a new agreement. I want to be bold like her... and be happy. I want to embrace my unconventional choices and enjoy the successes they bring. I asked her if that would be okay with her.
(that's me in the green dress looking at the camera)
She says, "Yes! Go! You've got this!"...
She never could say 'no' to us-ha!