Sunday, February 11, 2007

Calendar Series: 20th Month / 222,222

Today it occurred to me again that what I had been trying to do by painting the "calendars" was to reclaim, a month at a time, beginning in January of 1971 when I was 21 years old, those parts of myself and my experiences that I had relinquished while mistakenly thinking that that was what I needed to do to be accepted and loved. 

I am also remembering that while in the process of beginning to paint "calendars," after being alone for almost two years, I had entered a relationship with a recovering alcoholic who gently suggested that I might benefit from an eating disorder support group. He was enthusiastic about my art work. 

As a result, I began making paintings with his acceptance of me in mind as well as my past experiences. He, along with most people I encountered during that time, liked the calendars more than my previous chalk pastel images. 

By using color, symbols, numbers, letters and landscape, I was able to "talk in code." What I was talking about and what was experienced by the viewer were often two different things, but I didn't see that as a problem. For me, "222,222" was a visual depiction of a person's attempt to create meaning when feeling overwhelmed by circumstances beyond that person's, or anyone else's, control. It didn't matter if no one saw what I saw. I wanted to know what other people had seen and experienced. The words that often came up during this time when people commented on my paintings were "beautiful," "healing," and "celebration."

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