Today, I painted over a painting. It happens from time to time; I recycle a piece to create something better. Typically, I will paint over something that just never ended up being successful in my mind. It fell short of an idea or just never came to a place of resolution.
Today, I painted over a piece for a very different reason — a painting that was created in the midst of a great loss in my life. It was created right in the swollen heart of chaos; it was the very first piece that I made when I lost my first baby. I worked on half of the painting while I was happily pregnant. I, then, lost the baby (such a big event to fit into three simple words). I quickly found that painting was a way to stumble through the cold night that followed. I finished this specific painting, thereafter. And it was something that I held onto. But it started bringing me so much sadness, as time moved forward. What was once something that held me up, began to pull me down. I hid it away in my storage for it brought with it a great flood. I created other work during this time; all created for a show that I did in 2014 titled “Still” — but these other pieces didn’t carry the same potent sadness as the first one.
After much deliberation, I decided to create something from it. To start anew or more truthfully, continue on. Because isn’t that what life is? We take experiences — colorful layers that form our character and personal history — and build on top of it.
I created something bright and luminous that is firmly anchored to this heartache… but chooses to not dwell in that once dark corner. Maybe, perhaps, it even celebrates it. It still holds that memory in its watery depths. The original piece was green; I used a yellow and blue on top. I placed daisy seeds in the final layer. Soil. Salt. And in this piece, these materials took on an entirely different meaning.
It is nearly the four year anniversary of losing my son, Jude. And this all seems like a really beautiful way to honor him.