I was contacted by another author for use of one of my images for inclusion in his upcoming book. It was an old image, one that I still possessed and had used on the this blog, so I began to go through my files to find it. Shuffling through the old work, many from before I began exhibiting publicly, brought a number of surprises. There were pieces, like this one here on the right, that had slipped my mind and seeing them rekindled instant recognition and memory, like stumbling upon an old acquaintance who you had not thought of in ages. But there were others that had been lost in my memory and seeing them still only vaguely brought traces of their origin, as though you were again coming across someone who knew you but you couldn’t quite remember them even though there was something familiar in them, something you knew that you once knew.
Looking at these old pieces made me think of all the time spent alone with these images. The quote above from Eric Hoffer came to mind. What are we when we are alone? Is that the real you? Or is the real you that person that interacts with all the outside world? Looking at these pieces, I began to think that the person I was when I was alone had evolved slowly over the years, becoming closer to one entity. What I mean is that the person I was when I was alone, my inner voice, did not always jibe with my outer voice and over time, especially as I have found a true voice in my work, has come closer and closer to becoming one and the same.
I don’t know if I can explain that with any clarity. It’s a feel thing, one that instantly comes from holding one of these paintings and still seeing the division that once was in them and in myself. It is not anything to do with quality or subject or process. It’s just a perceived feeling in the piece, an intangible that maybe only I can sense. But it’s there and it makes me appreciate the journey and the work that brought these two voices closer together.
My alone time immersed in these pieces has seldom felt lonely and, going back to Hoffer’s quote, never did I feel that I ceased to exist in my oneness. I know people who are like that, that need constant interaction in order to feel alive and vital, but for me it has often felt almost the opposite. That probably is a result of that division of my inner and outer voices that I have been trying to describe. When I was alone I was always comfortable with my inner voice and the work that resulted from it served in the forms of companions.
I definitely exist in my solitude and my work, my constant companion, is my proof.
I am going to stop now. Enough confession for one morning. I have new companions on the easel to which I must attend.