From my writing:
“Change is never a loss. It is change only.”- Vernon Howard
I have had many opportunities to practice patience and gentleness with myself as I experienced many personal changes, some of them joyous beyond words and some painful beyond measure. Yet, all of them I have sat in gratitude with.
“ Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran
Several years ago, the month of July found me moving my home and my studio as well as teaching a week long summer art camp called Envision U, at the Winthrop Rockefeller Center on Petit Jean Mountain. It was an absolutely amazing experience, not only for me, but also for the high school students that participated in the camp. It was a blessing to watch them dig deep within themselves in search of their Soul’s Voice and that Infinite Wellspring of Creativity, that Reflection of the Divine, that we all have within us. It was a rare gift to watch them find it and come out transformed from the journey.
We all have personal journeys of transformation whether our eyes are open to them or not.
Let me tell you about this painting….
I was blessed by a dear friend of mine to come and paint while a transformation was in progress. I was asked to bear witness to a story of new beginnings. So, I began to show up on Saturday mornings at the Theresa Hoover Neighborhood Job Training Center / Community Garden at 12th Street and Oak. Now, many people driving by in the past probably would not have given this house much more thought than maybe, “Oh, there is another building in my neighborhood going into decay. But now, it is in a constant state of transformation, rebirth, and expansion. Walls are torn down to be again rebuilt, earth dug up, moved, and sculpted. Seeds are being planted. Earthly and Spiritual. Mental and Emotional. The ground is more than fertile there, fed by the dreams and visions of those who can see past the surface of a building, an idea, and more importantly a person.
This job training center will give people a chance to unearth their buried Light within, and bring it forth to shine not only for themselves, but to be a new beacon for everyone in their lives and all those around them.
So, I set up Saturday mornings and painted on the porch, to the sounds of walls being demolished, debris being shoveled up, pick axes being thrust into the earth, dirt being scooped and tossed, Luna’s occasional bark, and much laughter. I was surrounded by the smells of a house that has been left and taken on the headiness of abandonment. Some days it rained, some days the sun shone with intensity. I was surrounded by the visual stimulant of a community coming together to take part in a bigger picture. A picture of change.
And the painting took on that transformation. It went through many stages, many layers, was constantly shifting and turning directions. At one point on a day when Wind was being especially playful, the wet canvas fell face first onto the dusty concrete floor, embedding the house’s history into the surface. There is brick dust in the foundation of this painting, both literally and figuratively.
Towards the final stages of the paintings birth, I noticed something beautiful when I stepped back and could see both my surroundings and the canvas. The yellow of the paint mirrored that of the little yellow flowers peppered across the grass. The roses that grew along the fence sprang forth and flourished in the same exact red of paint, while the tone of the clear blue sky also peered through.
And here is A New Beginning…..