"All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up." (James Baldwin)
I haven't been able to write about Prince's death. I still can't. I'm still struggling to process it, and the only comforts I've had are celebrating his music, the flood of videos online of performances-some of which I remember watching a young kid-and the stories being told of his philanthropy.
I don't think I could ever face it in its entirety by trying to sum up all his life and artistry have meant to me during my 33 years of being a Purple Army member. I don't think I can pay tribute in just one piece and then move on. Just writing those sentences above has left my heart shaking. But I think what I can do is share it in pieces when the words come like they did just now.
I'm currently working on this and it (the colors) reminded me of the Around the World in a Day album cover. I started playing the album. Got to "Paisley Park" and started sobbing as I sung it. It happens to me every time I hear it. Since I was a little kid. I don't know what it is about THAT song that breaks me open and builds me up at the same time, but that's the kind of relationship I've always had with it, since I was very young. When I was like 5 or 6, I used to dream about being the girl on the seesaw and walking around Paisley Park with a balloon. Free. Safe. Dancing with wonder and magic. Feeling music course through and lift me with each step. I still do.
24 days ago I joined artist Elle Luna's #100DayProject Instagram challenge to make or do something for 100 days. Participants are doing all kinds of marvelous things, but I decided to focus on either writing or painting (#100DaysOfWordsPlusPaint). One of my creative goals for 2016 I started off strong, but then got sick for a week, so I'm a bit behind. I haven't decided if I'll make up the days I've lost along the rest of the way, or just let them be what they were (days I couldn't do a damn thing) and silence any self-inflicted guilt I have about it.
At any rate, today is day 24 and I'm easing my way back into the studio by continuing to experiment with with washes-a technique I started exploring before The Plague hit.
Wash= Water + paint, mixed, spilled and splashed across a surface...guide it with the brayer/hands/brush/tilt of the paper or canvas, lay flat, wait for it to dry, repeat with a new (or the same) color. Effect: intriguing stains of color.
Artist who piqued my curiosity and sparked my desire to give washes a try: Heather Day
Here's to trying new things and pushing myself and my creative process to go farther than I think is possible.
I've been pitching my words + art to various publications and places almost weekly since January. Some incredible opportunities have come my way over the last few months from simply sharing my work + process out there on Instagram, but I've yet to have a pitch accepted. Overall the rejections haven't impacted me too greatly. I've only had two really hit me in the gut and one of them came to my inbox yesterday. 5% of it what was mentioned about the paintings I submitted was constructive. 95% of it wasn't and that 95% crushed me unexpectedly when I read it.
I'm also experiencing my first mixed episode in months. Cycling through slight hypomania (which for me usually manifests as agitation & anxiety) and depression simultaneously is unsettling. My thoughts form, splinter or fracture into bits, then fuse together repeatedly and trying to get anything substantial done is damn near futile. I always feel untethered and raw, like an exposed nerve ending when I experience these types of episodes. I'm assuming that's why yesterday's rejection landed like a sucker punch to my soul instead a slight but bearable sting like the others before it.
To cope, I did two things: abandoned my To-Do list and allowed myself to get lost in painting without thinking. It got me through the day and served as my oxygen mask.
That's what painting has become for me...the oxygen I need to survive.