“Unforgetting”, Oil on panel, 22 x 32, 2021, SOLD!!! See Artist Statement below ~~~ I made this painting for “Afterlife” at @mizegallery

“Late last Friday, as this painting neared completion, my grandmother Fern Jensen breathed her last breaths. Earlier, the family gathered around to softly sing some of her favorite old hymns “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” and “This World Is Not My Home”. These songs are lovely in a way and have been a comfort to Fern throughout her life, but the tradition which she, and later I, grew up in and that birthed these hymns is almost entirely focused on narrow assumptions and misunderstandings about what happens after death. This is to me almost entirely missing the point. An adventure with a conclusion only – the actual journey, the essence of being alive all but forgotten. ~~~

This painting is a translation of a photograph shot through an inadequate lens. It captures a handful of soil and decomposing leaves tossed directly in front of the camera in the forests of my grandparent’s land in rural Gulf Hammock, Fl. The time I spent there with them throughout my formation is a primary factor in making me the kind of person and artist that I am and strive to be. Mama’s lasting legacy I am grateful for is not the rote ideas she repeated, but her actual connection to life and nature vividly communicated through her tens of thousands of photographs, love and nurturing of flowers, humor, enthusiastic piano playing, etc… ~~~

Post deconstruction of the evangelical status quo I was given by my tribe, I find myself drawn more and more to the mystics and wisdom teachers like Richard Rohr, Echart Tolle, and Ram Dass. I am learning to see with a more expansive lens – more aware of how deeply and mysteriously everyone and everything is connected. Remembering that we and everything around us is made up literally of the same materials and energy that was present at the big bang. I am no longer so concerned with answers about what happens after death, or even how to die in peace. Rather, how do we live this and all moments in peace. As the sacred text that I still greatly value says “have life, and have it more abundantly”.

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