I awoke at 3am this morning with an ache in my stomach; the reason? well, I suppose that I had finally consciously realized the fact that more of my artwork had been taken from me. This is the second time in the last year that I have had artwork just up and disappear in the mail. Fifteen years of sending stuff out and never have I lost anything, now it has happened twice in my last six attempts.
I’m a grown-up, so i have had my share of disappointments in life…but of all the pieces of artwork lost this year, fully a third of my years work, I am most upset that within this group, of lost art, were two self-portraits that were spontaneously painted…they can never be re-captured, never. One of them is in front of a line-up board, you know the type where a person is in front of a white board showing their height, a truly ugly part of our system brought to life in oil paint. Well, in my painting I painted myself with lifeless white eyes, indicating of course that, though my body is a prisoner, my soul is free. The other one was of myself looking off into the distance, but the background is half black and half white. On the black side I painted a clock, one in which the hands had fallen off it. I then took and painted the word “ANGER” across the top and let the paint drip down onto my face…but if you take the time to look you will see that I am turned, in this painting, away from the anger and the darkness and am looking skyward into the light. Both were painted in the Alla Prima style, and, as I said before, because of that, can never be replicated.
These two paintings were part of a trio I did of myself. All three of these painting are small, 12″x12″ and I had envisioned them all in a row on a wall somewhere. The third one. yeah I still have it. I didn’t send it with the other two. It is a painting of me looking directly at you, but then after it was finished I took a house paint brush and brushed red paint across my face at eye level, then I went back in and painted just my eyes looking through the red paint. Nah, hell, I don’t know what it means, I just spontaneously painted it that-a-way; for some reason I painted my self ugly, always do. Anyway, without the other two, this painting is worthless.
Yeah, I’m takin’ this pretty hard I guess, because, in all my years of painting I’ve only ever painted myself four times, these three and one I did about ten years ago, which I sent to my wife…back when I was stupid enough to believe that no matter how much I deserved it, that she was some kinda saint who’d never turn her back on me. That painting has also been lost…probably used as a dart board, beaten with a stick and then set on fire! Yes, even as bad as I’m feelin’ I haven’t lost my since of humor. Actually, as strange as it sounds, I’m feeling a little better after that little bit of sarcasm.
Other pieces missing are two pen drawings, one of a Ballet Dancer I did for one of my granddaughters, who at the time I drew it was tacking dancing lessons, she’s since moved on to the violin, and one of an old black and white photo taken in 1936 by Dorethea Lange of a Depression Era mother and her three children. These drawings were done with a ball point pen, in DOTS!!, took me a solid month to do the one of the mother and her kids…a month of uncountable hours hunched over a piece of paper just tapping away; millions of dots. There were, I think six other painting lost as well, one was of my granddaughter over looking the ocean, it was to be a birthday gift. Tragic beyond words, but, the good news is that photos were taken of these pieces to preserve the record and those photos can be seen on my FB page…there is that.
I know that you cannot completely understand how I feel, so let me say that my artwork and my writings are the only things that I can throw over these fences and walls, they are the only things that prove that I’m still alive, that I’m not dead, worthless, that I remain productive, hopeful, spiritual and trying as best I can to tell the story of my life, to prove that I am worthy of forgiveness. My artwork says to the world that you can chain my hands and feet, you can tell me what I have to wear, when I can eat, when I am allowed to sleep, when i can bathe, when I can call my children, that you can steal my work…control when I can see the sun…you can even deny me the God givin’ right to look upon the stars…but you cannot kill my spirit, my ability to create something positive…for that, only God can do.
Yeah. I’m through for now, but this ain’t over by a long shot, I’ve spoken to my skinny daughter and she is pissed. And trust me on this, when that little skinny broad gets her dandruf up, shit will hit the fan.
Peace be with you all…and know that I appreciate you takin’ the time to read my words and… to listen to this ol’ broken ol’ heart.
Three Rivers, 1-2-17