Puzzle Pieces

My work has taking a slight turn and if we were all in a car with my grandpa, he would call this an ‘opportunity corner’.


When I moved into my new home I lovingly call the ‘gnome dome’ I felt an energy that told me something was shifting. A bit of panic arose in me based on how I handle transitions — either brilliantly well or bloody awful. Thank god for the past four years of therapy, meditation, yoga, running, friends, and FAMILY I chose to lean in, get uncomfortable, and let the work somehow guide the way.


To soothe my discomfort I reminded myself of these things:

1. If I show up in some capacity for painting, it will lead me, but I must be open, I cannot assume.

2. Try and be as calm as possible (Ha. Ha. Ha.)

3. Let go of perfectionism, but get as darn precise as I can (and sometimes that will be incredibly vague — praise be Milton Avery’s genius)





So, since November I have been patient allowing works to fail, unfold, come from new places, and experiment. I have also done a hell of a lot of staring at walls, paintings, space, and listening to the hum of my refrigerator.


The patience is seemingly paying off (emotionally). I am kinda in love with the newer pieces I am making. One body of work that I am really pleased with are paintings made completely from memory — which for me is incredibly nerve wracking, but the act of making them does exactly what I want painting to do for me: to be present and gently work with a material rather than make it perform.


The joy of working this way is I can change my viewpoint and see things from birds’ eye, or view my life like a television show, it allows me to visualize my memory in a way that real life just will not permit, I get to filter out everything that is not necessary.


The painting here is a vivid memory I have from age 16. I was in the most toxic of toxic relationships. Delicately my mom could see it all and how bad it was for me. I suppose this is one of those parenting moments when you wonder what the hell to do with your daughter. One afternoon mom brought me out for coffee at a local place called ‘The Coffee Company’ we each got a mocha. Our mochas came in small glass mugs. The table was hunter green formica with wood trim that held the grime from years of lord knows what. I remember something in the center of the table, I think it was a napkin dispenser, I don’t really remember — I was just grateful it was there, because it was something to stare at when I realized why she brought me out for a coffee.


At first we sat silently, and I found this odd because my mom and I generally never had trouble talking. Then slowly and gently she breached the boyfriend topic, stating concern. Like most 16 year old’s I put up an emotional defense wall that consisted of crossing all appendages and resisting eye contact. The one moment I did look up at her I could see her face full of defeat in making any progress with me. as my barriers were not coming down. However my mother, deemed 'Kate the great' stilll managed to get to me with one simple phrase ‘When the pieces fall, we will be here for you’. And damn the woman struck a nerve, I knew then and there she was right. I wanted to burst into tears and weep into her chest spit crying ‘Thank you. I don’t want to be in the relationship anymore, please let me out, please, help.’ But, well…reality: I just pocketed the thought. What that phrase from her did do was give me the courage to make the choices I needed to about a year later. Because I am not a parent, I cannot know this, but I assume this is one of those terribly uncomfortable times when you just hope you are doing something to help your child rather than cause further revolt. Looking back, I am now so proud of my mom for taking the risk in pushing this boundary with me.


Subsequently ever since I have encountered times of serious trouble in my life I think back to this moment and what it meant; it was a foundation that I knew would always be there no matter what puzzle was falling apart. Getting these moments out of my head and onto a surface is something that I am finding a bit more pressing than ever these days. Critical moments in life that have not only shaped me but had they not happened I worry what would have.