I struggled with this painting… I didn’t like it, felt trapped by it as soon as I began with the oil. If it had been acrylic, I would have taken a roller and gessoed over it; it was either, save it, or lose the canvas. I was upset, because I wanted to do something figurative, something that felt like it belonged with the 6 or 7 I’ve done since December. But now it works. Not how I wanted. But it feels right. It belongs.
I went to the memorial for Consuewella Africa and rally for Mumia. There was a video. I see my face in the mirror, but I haven’t seen an image of the rest of what’s happened to me in a long time. There was this… person. Myself… in a stranger’s body. It feels connected.
Painting. And this other thing. When I’m at the easel, my back hurts. My leg and hip hurt–but it’s me there, painting. The space I occupy–that I still occupy… is shrinking. This is what I’ve been feeling, even before I saw that video. Now I understand … sort of… what it is. Making a piece of art, I still am there. Real. Anything else… anywhere else… I lose myself… in this strange body. The one I saw in that video. Every new piece of art… is a repository. Leaving myself behind. These are–what I’ve been moving toward. I don’t know whether these pieces are better or worse than any I’ve done before. But they’re from … who…what … I was. I look at them, and I see myself from within.
28×18, Oil on Canvas. This began as an image of ASL sign for ‘sleep.’ What I think about when I paint…. …if the brush makes two marks on the canvas, my eye looks for a third. When I see the third, I set out to see where it leads. If it leads to a fourth, and no further, I’m disappointed at the early end of the travels. So much depends on where that third mark will appear. This is how painting is like music.