I’ve been feeling rather flat lately. Missing that sense of excitement about things to come. And then there is the grief. It shows up whenever it needs to, and there is nothing I can do, but let it out and ride the wave until it breaks.
First, I had an idea of the direction my new work for the grant period was going. Solid, clear, good. But not really. My painting, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, donated to Martinis & Matisse benefitting the Clearwater Free Clinic, was the springboard of the direction I thought I was going. There are two paintings I knew I wanted to create. One has to do with Dad. The other has to do with Kellie and me and one of our epic adventures together. They will both be painted. I thought they would ‘fit in’ with my vision. But they don’t. They are too big to fit into that cerebral idea.
When I started painting one of the pieces, the energy of the work expanded around me, and up and down, out in every direction. It’s pregnant energy. There are things that need to be said, to be born, and through my hand onto the canvas is the only way.
I’m not going to write about what I’m painting right now. What I want to share is how the grant opportunity has opened up a space within me. To be given an opportunity to focus on MY work. And it isn’t really MINE. It’s opening to what wants to be expressed through me. Through my lens. And while at times I think I’m flying this vehicle, in reality, its something bigger moving things along. I’m grateful for this.
Even though the struggle of being the everything in my own world, the artist, the 32 hour a week job that barely covers my bills, the scrambler of other jobs to earn more income, the chef, the cleaner, the shopper, the cat mom, the marketing director, the CFO, the CEO, is real. It’s easy to get consumed by that, and sometimes I do.
And even though I feel despondent these days, I also relish in this particular walk into the ether the grant period is unfolding to be.
One of my new paintings has to do with my Dad, and his death. I imagined this piece from the moment I heard a particular story shortly before he died in 2020.
Before I started painting it, I was imagining this grand and lovely experience, capturing the moment I saw in my minds eye on canvas. Then as I put the brush, full of paint, to the canvas, the floodgates opened, again.
I heard from someone that the second year after deep loss, is harder or worse in some ways than the first year. I don’t know if that’s the ‘truth’ or not. The grief has changed. The ‘grief two by fours’, as I called them, that knock you flat on your ass in an unsuspecting millisecond and last for days, don’t show up anymore. They gradually waned from a two by four, to a baseball bat, to a small tree branch. And now the quality of the grief has shifted entirely.
What I do know, is how the grief amplifies everything. At least for me. Everything is deeper now.
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Heather Rippert, facebook.com/SheDreamsInWatercolor/, instagram.com/heatherrippert