What a Painting Reveals

My remarkable friend Naomi in Kyoto, has generously featured a collage of mine on her website’s Chasing Writing in Art link. It’s humbling to be there with so many amazing artists.

Here’s my collage and a few words. Please check out Naomi’s site here.

Return from Journey Collage 1998 24 x 36 inches / approx. 61 x 91 cm
Return from Journey
24 x 36 inches / approx. 61 x 91 cm

I painted this piece at my home in Connecticut about two years after returning from living and working in a war zone. From June 1992- June 1996, I was with the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Former Yugoslavia and UNICEF in Croatia and Bosnia. During that time, I met and married my husband and Molly was born.

I remember setting up my paints in front of the fireplace, imagining I’d capture a peaceful image. Instead, what I see now in this image, is torment. I recall the turmoil and demons we were living with, even as the trappings of our life seemed ideal. It was a struggle for us – especially my husband – to switch gears to a normal life away from war. The supposed tranquility  of a chair in front of a fireplace – this scene that should be cozy, looks like the center of a storm.

Indeed, it was. 

I still live in this house and love sitting by the fire. Twenty years on since the Balkan wars ended, almost ten since the death of my husband and these days, ghosts have mostly settled and my life is serene. I write more than paint. But I should attempt this interior again to see what would reveal itself.  I imagine it would be an image of warmth and peace – but who knows? The subconscious reveals itself almost in spite of us.

7 thoughts on “What a Painting Reveals”

  1. Wow. Blacks, grays….it looks like ashes….I feel like I can see war-ravaged buildings behind the fireplace. It WOULD be interesting to paint the same scene again, as you say, and see what part of your soul directs your brush. XO Lea

  2. I like that image of my soul directing my brush. What I aspire to – in writing as well.

  3. I know that feeling, when you look behind, and things become clear. To me, the collage has a muddy, confused and hesitant aspect – like my tutor once said to me… an external manifestation of your internal chaos (hey thanks!). Are you tempted to paint it again? I have many creative urges but as I get older I’m aware of trying to hone down one skill!

  4. I agree on the honing — and also don’t have any more room for all those damn paintings and sculptures. Maybe miniatures when I win the lottery!

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