Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday morning

I am sitting in my beloved leather chair that I was (practically) given by my friend Carolyn. It is a beautiful carmel color and sleek/teak in design. It is old and vintage and I just love it. I have a couch that matches. As I look around my living room I see a print from Nathan, paintings from both kids, even a painting done with Annie one day when we were in the studio.   The end product of this painting is a little chaotic-wild swirls of color, foggy areas, some tired neutrals among the brilliant corals, but what I treasure most about it is the memory of the process of creating it.
As I recall it (and of course, memory is a reconstruction,  so don't hold me to this, Anna), I was making tentative inroads on to this canvas with a small little easel brush, carefully applying some color with great trepidation and doubt, conscious of my accomplished artist daughter's eye on me and feeling terrified and unsure.  Suddenly, there she was beside me with a huge brush, scooping blobs of paint from my palette (and in the process destroying the careful order of the colors) and saying, "like this, Mom!---just, well just paint! " and she obliterated my careful attempts in a few passionate strokes.  
After I got over my horror, I joined in, and I felt like I had taken off my bra and kicked off my shoes....oh, can painting really feel like this? 
I have my new eye now, and in some sense, that is the end of my Melanoma story.  I am back to work, looking pretty symmetrical, energy level good, fridge cleaned out (you have no idea), forgotten articles of clothing and books mailed back to visitors, promises to stay in touch to and from the people who appeared during all of this...and yet, I want to say, NO, it is not over.  I don't want to go back to making those tentative brushstrokes every day in an attempt to create some picture of my life.  I want to continue to smear great blobs of color all over my life, and I want to do it with all of you, laughing all of the way, not giving a damn about what it looks like in the end.  I hope that you all will help me do that. Please save me from my fear and my isolation. Don't let me fall back to that. Grab that brush!
The picture is by my ex-husband's little boy, Benny. They were over last night for dinner. Benny and I share an interest in Pudge Rodriguez and art. I wish I could draw more like him. I watched him do this-his concentration, the confidence of his strokes, the movement of his arm, the confident choices of color. I thought, I am an art teacher!!! THANK GOD!!


roy said...

Hi Claudia,
I'm married to one of your classmates so I heard of your difficulties through an email from Rochelle. I don't know if you would remember me but we dated (?) for a short time back in the late sixties. It seems that things are "looking" up for you now that you are cancer free and have your prosthetic eye. Reading some of your blog you seem very upbeat as you make your visual adjustment. It's interesting how we all seem to take our fragile good health for granted. Hopefully this is just a minor speed bump in a long healthy and productive life.

Your friend from the distant past,
Roy from Woodbury

annie hagar said...

you know, that's exactly how the beautiful orchid sumi-e painting (posted below) came about. first, you did a careful study. then you manipulated goiters into orchids with a few swoops of your sumi pen.

Claudia said...

Hi, Anna,
Thanks for that insight! That is just how it happened-isn't art making the most wonderful, terrible, simple and difficult thing there is?:)