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Archive for September 11th, 2011

Before…

Back home, safe and sound.  Sweet.

First, many,many thanks to everyone who came out to the Gallery Talk  at the Principle Gallery yesterday.  You were a great group and made my time in front  of you  very easy and enjoyable.  I hope I was able to pass on somethings you might not have known or answered whatever questions there may have existed.  If not, let me know and I’ll try to rectify that. 

I could talk much more about yesterday’s talk  and how much I appreciate those who attended but I guess I should at least way in on the obvious part of this date.  It’s, of course, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks .  I’m sure there’s not a soul out there who hasn’t been made to remember this fact by the almost constant coverage by the media over the last several days. 

In yesterday’s talk, I tried to avoid mentioning this, wanting to provide some sort of diversion, but somehow ended up talking about it anyway.  I think it came about when I was trying to explain how much the support and energy that I received from these folks over the years had transformed my life.  It reminded me very much of a feeling I felt on September 10 in 2001, the day before the attack.

It was a spectacular late summer day with hints of autumn in the air, a pure blue sky and a sun that was softly warm but not harsh.  Purely pleasant.  I remember walking around my pond that day.  I was at the point in my year when I was done with shows that I was going to do for the year.  Both had been wildly successful, beyond what I ever expected, and  I finally had a bit of time to relax and really think about this as I strolled around the pond.  I thought about how different my life was now, in 2001, than it was ten years before.  I had felt myself  a lost soul at that time, living a purposeless life with little prospect of doing much with it.  But over the years, art had come into my life and everything was different.  I found a form of expression, began to see clearer those things that were there in my life that had always been there and were core to my existence but I had somehow overlooked as I stumbled around in prior years. 

I found myself and a reason for living.  As I stopped by the pond with that clear sky above, it all struck me on that day, that September 10.  I felt myself the most fortunate man in the universe that day.  My life felt as complete and satisfying as I could imagine and I was filled with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for my good fortune.  I had trouble believing it was my life I was indeed living.

Of course, within 24 hours that feeling disappeared in the smoke and devastation of the events of that day.  It’s taken ten sometimes awful years to somewhat approach that feeling again and yesterday, as I felt the warmth of that group,  I talked about this feeling and my appreciation for them for allowing me to regain that feeling.  I don’t know that I made it clear but one doesn’t always speak easily about matters of grace.

The painting at the top was painted on that day and reflects very much the fullness and contentment I felt for my life at that point.  It is filled with that sense of peace and grace I hinted at above.  It came to be titled Before…  

There was a strange twist to this painting.  I always number my paintings so that I can more easily record and track them over time.  The serial number for that painting was 99-911.  I did nothing to make it fit this way, and in fact didn’t even recognize this number’s relationship to the date until some time later.  Just an eerie coincidence.

It  is a painting that I deeply regret ever letting go and though I know that the folks who now possess it have their own deep feelings for this piece, they will never know how much it still  lives with me, how much it reminds me that day, that September 10th when life seemed as good it could be and how rare and fleeting that moment can be.

Thanks again to everyone from yesterday.  Have a good and peaceful day.

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