Friday, February 10, 2006
Both Sides of the Painting
PRELUDE: I need to reiterate that much of what I write is keyboard diarrhea. The painting exists; the rest is simple literary expression. No need to call the rubber room guys ... yet... ;)
When I was in art school, I had an assignment to design a cover for the magazine “Psychology Today”. My designated feature subject was anxiety and depression.
I did a painting of two faceless, genderless figures in a box of swirling brushstrokes. One of the figures was peach colored, the other deep blue. At first impression the peach figure displayed a sense of exhuberance. It reached out toward the upper left corner, beyond the confinements of the box. It seemed only a blink from joyously bursting through the frame of reference. The blue figure was diving down towards the lower right corner. As it plunged, it wrapped its arms around the legs of the peach figure. Its body language suggested stealth and dynamic swiftness.
As you looked the two over, you came to realize (as was my intention, anyway) that the peach figure possibly wasn’t in a leap of exhuberance, but a struggle to remain in its upward direction – straining to break free of the downward spiraling grip of the blue figure. Straining to keep its head above the murky waters of despair.
I got an A on my assignment. I was proud of that; A’s weren’t doled out freely at my college. Maybe it was foresight incarnate.
These days, I seem to find myself on the inside of the painting. I have much to be happy about, much to be thankful for. My life is blessed. Yet anchors of sadness weigh me down. Some I am unable to pinpoint – ghostly succubi of my own offbeat aquarian brooding artist-type psyche that have dug their talons into me and pull me down periodically for sick sport. Others I seemingly have brought on myself. Offenses for which I have repented and have not been forgiven. Accidental sins that are not permitted pardon. Kicks in my gut just as I begin to regain my composure. Blind eyes and deaf ears ignorant to my exhaustion.
Sometimes I feel that I cannot break the surface of the dark waters anymore, yet no life preserver is tossed within my reach. The cold cobalt counterpart of myself seems determined to drown me no matter what. Sometimes I get so deep that the bright light of day becomes only a pinpoint, far far above me.