Faith is tangible. It can be touched and is every time I lift my paint brush to the canvas. Faith fills space and time. It has the capacity to live in your body and your mind. Faith has a breath all of its own. It has an aroma that is as sweet as a lavender field. Faith is inviting if we are willing to RSVP.
February 14, 2013, the world seems to be filled with flowers, candy and various hues of red. On this day I am led to a room where there is a gown waiting for me and I look out the window and see a beautiful view of Manhattan. The world looks so busy from up here and the people they look a little happier than usual or sadder it is Valentine’s Day after all. At times the world for me is the inside of another exam room, a doctor’s waiting room or my personal favorite in the ER. Since I was diagnosed with MS my world has changed significantly. I used to work full time in a very active job and on most days my decisions were dictated but what I wanted to do not the amount of energy I had. This day they were looking for a good vein for an upcoming surgery.
My twenties were filled with the 3 D’s, Dancing, Dating and DRAMA. That was my world and I loved it. I was working the night shift at the hospital as a tech and I was still pretty green. After a dinner party with friends I took of my Coach shoes off and no doubt an outfit only fitting for a diva. I changed into my scrubs and prepared for bedpan duty. I was happy with my life. Who could have it better than me. It did get better on November 11, 2008. I met a woman and with my twenties gone I was ready for what the world would have in store. I wondered would this cute fiery Latina stay in the picture well she did and became my wife in the state of Connecticut on August 21, 2009. Five short months later as newlyweds we were told that I had Multiple Sclerosis. The evening that my world collapsed I was at the end of my shift at the hospital and had to pick up my wife at the train. My body felt numb and tingly. When I arrived at the train it was obvious that something was very wrong. We entered the ER and I became the PATIENT. After that day I traded in my scrubs for paper gowns and Coach pumps for sensible shoes. The geography of my life morphed into something unrecognizable.
The Silent Brick Collection includes a painting entitled “The World”. Geography is what this painting speaks to. The impasto technique is used to build the terrain and the water’s waves articulate all that changes around us. Change is fluid and constant. A wave can not crash the same way twice. The blue and gold compliment each other. The thickness of the gold evolved into continents and the blue became an ocean and thus the world was formed. In truth I can pick up a paint brush and know exactly what I want to paint and what feeling I want to convey and end up with something entirely different. This was one of those cases.
The world and its workings are beyond my scope of understanding. My world can be as aggravating as trying to get a parking space at the mall at Christmas time. At one time we were all a fetus and the only world we knew was the protection of our mother’s womb. A jail cell with a prison wall to match might be the world of another. The world of a high school student where everyone calls you anything but your name but everything to make you feel less than human. We live in the outside world and our inside world maybe crumbling. I think we all feel that way at some time or another.
My world can be as big or as small as I want it to be. It can be continents of despair and waves of self pity as my disease washes over me. It can also be waves of happy moments and continents of laughter and joy. My world can be confined to my the next operating room or the gift I get when I open my eyes and look at my wife sleeping. We have a choice in the world we live in and how we perceive that world.
I will be having surgery April 19th for an AV fistula. My body is being prepared for dialysis. I share this because I need prayers. This is a new world for me to enter and I expect will be a long haul until I receive a kidney transplant. Thank you.
As I listen to Jim Hendrix play “Little Wing”, the guitar chords vibrate through my being. He was a genius with his instrument. He had a love for the guitar and music. He reminds me of college and the smokey dorm rooms. Can you smell it ? Someone is puttng a towel under the door. Lol. Do you remember the times when your most profound thoughts about the world came through a purple haze of sorts. The universe has jokes as my wife says. I get a notice that my MS group is having a meeting about the use of medical marijuana. Isn’t that ironic?
Eleven that was the age that I began to feel different. It was when the teasing began. Fat jokes and racial slurs became apart of my daily routine. I was always the only one amongst the majority. I was looking for a way out of my feelings. I was not interested in boys like the other girls, and my first kiss had me wondering what all the fuss was about. Where do I put my hands during this kiss, and when will it be over. I hid the tears inside because that was a sign of weakness. “Never let them see you cry” at all costs I would hide my feelings.
My first kiss was not my first love but with my first true love I knew exactly where to put my hands. I was 11 years old with my coca cola sized glasses, and peering through National Geographic something caught my eye. I had always loved pictures but this one was amazing. My art teacher had given us and assignment to copy something we saw in nature.
“Mystical Swamp Waters” was my first painting. I saw the shapes in nature and sketched them on the canvas. It just made sense. I broke down the picture plane into shapes and than added color. This has always been my generic formula. It worked for Picasso in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which is a painting that I love. I am not Picasso. But I learned to reconstruct the picture plane at a very young age and had the ability to create what I saw into something uniquely my own. I had no formal art training. This is me raw. By the time I got to college I had a style, and my mentor helped me to develop and cultivate my work. In short they taught cohesive maturity so that when you went into the art world you were somewhat prepared.
My first creations are predominantly brown and rocky in nature. There is a sense of depth in the paintings. But I am not sure how I achieved this at a young age. I gaged all of my judgements by eye. The smell of the canvas and certain brushes began to be favored as I fell deeper into my relationship with my art. It was a process learning about myself in relation to my art, and would at times drive me to distraction of all things good and bad alike.
I was asked to be a part of a show in Newark. The new works are coined as faith based and the title of this collection is “Seven Ways to Sunday”. I was nervous and scared about how the paintings may be received. “Seven Ways to Sunday” has been influenced heavily by the sermons I have heard in church or the choir selections that have moved me. I felt as though I was putting my spirit out there naked. After the spoken word portion that was nothing short of enough spiritual energy, and healing for the whole room and, more. I heard people talking about my paintings. They were looking at the paintings that I had created, and saw things that I did not intend to be there. I usually chuckle but I am now realizing that is how God is getting the message across. As I grow in years and in my spiritual life I have come to realize that it is not all about me. I am the instrument. It is not for me to dictate someones experience of my work. People see what they need to see. Academia refers to this as a reactive audience. The theory sates that any reaction is better than no reaction. My goal today with my work is that the audience have an experience personal and unique to themselves. They do not have to share my vision but I want them to have their own.
Mystical Swamp waters was truly the beginning of my escape from all that I was running from. It was a way out. It has become a way in. As I look back I could attribute my life being saved to a number of people and circumstances but my art was a constant. I found a healing in those muddy waters and drifted into clarity. It still ebbs and flows and the horizon is still the horizon but it is from a different perspective. Eleven was when I began to see nature as a beautiful gift to be shared. I knew even than that I did not create such beauty that someone or something else did. My praise and worship began with my hands on a brush. When I had no words God gave me eyes and colors and hands so I could communicate my feelings. At 34 I have art, writing, and words to speak my truth. Thank you for allowing me to be your instrument. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” Matthew 21:16
Let’s face it most people look forward to Friday as their freedom day. The I Tried painting is in homage to my wife who works so hard to make a dollar out of 15 cents. “I tried” is a lyric in a song entitled Good Friday by The Black Crowes. How does this relate to my seven days to Sunday you ask? Music serves as a way to move closer to my higher power. My wife’s obsession with the Crowes caught fire in my soul and I could hear the spirit. I watched it in her as she would dance and sing their songs. She will have the opportunity to hear them in concert and meet them. It is her life’s dream.
The amazing part of this life thing is watching others get to their Sunday. So when my wife asked me to paint something for her I was perplexed. She is my muse in every way, shape and form. Marrying her is like my Sunday over and over again. The eye in the painting is a representation of hers. Her large eyes and beautiful lashes enamoured me from the start. I started trying from that moment forward. To try is an action word. Trying is not stagnant. If we are trying we are going some where. It is when we are not trying that we are stuck.
“Yes it is.” A friend said when she entered my house and saw the painting Freedom is Expensive. As a creative person my freedom has been articulated through my brush strokes, the colors and the mood of the work. Art has always served as a way for me to be in my head if you would. The brush allows me the ability to get involved in the details. I get acquainted with the canvas and the colors. There is much thought that happens in my head before I paint and there may be a concept but no body. Therefore I am free to go where the brush takes me and and let the colors dictate to me as opposed to the other way around. Paintings of this nature create themselves.