Thursday, February 1, 2007

Painting in America (1986)

Still not feeling well. Looking forward to feeling better in a few more days. 

When I look at this painting, though, I remember what vitality feels like. I gave this painting to a friend who liked it almost as much as I did. I remember identifying with the words of another artist friend when he said that he couldn't imagine anyone liking his paintings MORE than he did. Of course, this goes against what is sometimes said, that artists are never satisfied with their work. Most often when I look at these images painted so long ago, it is as if I am looking at the work of someone else. I wonder how the image came into being, where it came from, what it means. I try to remember. Maybe I am satisfied with my work because it seems more like a gift received and shared than something I willed into being. 

In the past few days, I have been reading Dreams from My Father and The Scarlet Letter. My cousin had recommended The Audacity of Hope on her blog and that led me to read Dreams from My Father. The second book, recommended on another blog I visited, is one I first read when I was very young, many years before I knew that my own great-grandmother (my father's grandmother) had been born "out of wedlock" in 1853, three years after The Scarlet Letter was published. I am moved by both books. 

In the words of my mother as a little girl, "Books is my friends. I will stick by their sides until I die."

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