Origin Story – “Where Justice Meets Joy”

Art, creativity, Origin story, process, Story, Works In Progress

This piece taught me about the role of art in my life, which I wrote about here. But I wanted to assemble the origin story of this painting. So here’s a look back at the rather challenging evolution of this painting.

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2/14/2020: New day, new words, new piece. The words inscribed on this piece is the following quote from John O’Donohue: “Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”

2/14/2020 End of Day: This metro map of my hometown will be coursing thru the painting like veins just below the surface. #Rockville #RedLine

2/20/20: I seem to have painted myself into a corner. By the end of the day, the painting was feeling too tight and controlled.

3/2/20: …and now for something Completely Different. The metro piece has taken a turn as I play with perspective and purples for a change.💜

3/6/20: I let the kid loose on my piece with oil sticks ~ sat back and enjoyed watching her go to town.

3/6/20: End of day.

3/9/20: Leaning in to the More with this piece ~ more color, more shape, more lines, more texture, more different and new before the upcoming layers of drippy whites. 🤓

3/10/20: Leaning even more into the More. This piece has come a long way since the DC Metro map a month ago…and still have a way to go.🤓

3/13/20: Flipping the piece upside down and painting over with whites in an attempt to make order out of chaos…

3/20/20: Examining the values of this 36×36 WIP to hone in on what’s working and what needs adjusting…🧐

3/22/20: This 36×36 painting has been such a challenge to figure out!! So many iterations and versions already, and still a long way from being resolved. Today I glazed the whole piece with Quin Gold to tone it down a bit and unify the colors. (That’s right. This is the toned down version!) Before leaving the studio, I shot a quick video scanning the painting to help me see the details more clearly. Something about seeing images/videos on my small phone screen helps me see the painting from a distance. It’s surprising how often this shift on perspective leads to AHA moments that help me decipher the piece. Here’s hoping!!…🤓

3/27/20:”Alone Together” I painted myself into a corner with this piece. And while it went thru many interesting iterations, at no point did it bring me joy. So the day after I shot the video above, I scraped it down, flooded it with black India ink, then painted over it with white paint. Yesterday, I poured solvent on it to eat away at the paint layers. Wiped it down and took a picture of it before going to bed. This morning before getting up, I looked at the image on my phone, only to discover that a whole world had emerged on my panel. So now ~ finally ~ I get to follow my bliss as I bring this world to life. Eliminate noise, enhance beauty. Clarify, but don’t prescribe. Show up, pay attention, do the work, let go, step back, listen. This is the process I love.

4/2/20: Tape has come off, edges are done, hanging hardware is attached. This piece started off as the DC metro map painted over a John O’Donohue poem on Valentine’s Day. Layers later, words from Mary Oliver, a strange exercise in multiple perspectives. Quarantining began as my daughter drew a face on half the piece, which then took several dark surprising turns before ending up here. I’m calling it. 36″x 36″ oil & cold wax on cradled wood panel. Relieved to finally move this out of my studio.😷🎨🖌️⛩️

4/10/20: Man! After 12 weeks of in-depth learning, this 36×36 painting is back on my easel. I was working on this when the quarantine started…and have never been so stumped by a piece. So I was excited to bring all my new knowledge to bear on this painting that’s been stuck in TimeOut. But end of day…net gain zero! For the life of me, I cannot see this piece clearly! Demoralizing.🥀

7/14/20: This 36×36 piece has been one of my most challenging. So I scribbled “Justice for Breonna Taylor” over the old piece because WTF, then covered it with oil stick and paint. This piece was too precious and constricting, it was screaming out for a total overhaul. Letting go feels so liberating!! All those layers of history still exist beneath the surface should I care to excavate. And now, on the surface, a whole new world and palette of possibilities has opened up. I’m literally breathing deeper over here. #NoPanelLeftBehind

7/20/20: “Where Justice Meets Joy” Spent the day editing this 36×36 piece heavily. Got rid of all the parts that weren’t working, then built it back up with more paint. Of course now, new trouble spots are emerging, but that’s just fine. I know this push/pull of tension and resolution will result in a stronger piece. It always does.🤓 #trusttheprocess

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