Archive for November 14th, 2010

No Mail

This is a piece that’s been bouncing around my studio for a month or so, one that I call No Mail.  It’s a smallish painting on paper, measuring about 8″ by 14″.  I haven’t decided whether I will show this one or simply hold on to it.  It’s a matter of whether I believe others will see anything in it rather than me wanting to keep it for myself.  Maybe it’s that I see a very personal meaning in the piece that is reflected in the title and I can’t decide if it will translate to others.

For me, this painting reminds me of my childhood and the house I consider my childhood home, an old farmhouse that sat by itself with no neighbors in sight.  Specifically, this painting reminds me of exact memories I have of trudging to the mailbox as an 8 or 9 year-old in the hot summer sun.  There’s a certain dry dustiness from the driveway and the heat is just building in the late morning.  It’s a lazy time for a child.  Late July and many weeks to go before school resumes.  The excitement of school ending has faded and the child finds himself spending his days trying to find ways to not be bored into submission.

The trip to the mail box is always a highlight of the day, filled with the possibility that there might be something in it for me.  Soemthing that is addressed only to and for me, a validation that I exist in the outside world and am not stranded on this dry summer island.  Usually, the tinge of excitement fades quickly as I open the old metal maibox and find nothing there for me.  But occasionally there is something different, so much so that I recognize it without even seeing the name on the label or envelope.

It’s mine, for me, directed to me.  Perhap’s it’s my Boy’s Life or the Summer Weekly Reader.  I would spend the day then reading them from front to back , reading the stories and checking out the ads in Boy’s Life for new Schwinn bikes.  Oh, those days were so good.  The smell of the newly printed pages mingling with the heat and dust of the day to create a cocktail whose aroma I can still recall.

But most days, it was nothing.  Just the normal family things– bills, advertisements and magazines.  Or nothing at all.  The short walk back to the house seemed duller and hotter on those days.

That’s what I see in this piece, even thought it doesn’t depict everything I’ve described in any detail.  There’s a mood in it that recalls those feeling from an 8 or 9 year-old, one of anticipation and one of disappointment.  Childhood days with no mail.

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