Ree Drummond posted a couple of photos to Instagram today, showing my portraits of her for kiddos hanging in her kitchen. For someone who makes her living writing and blogging about food, it’s a high honor to have her looking at my art every day while she cooks and does dishes.
It was a great way to start the week!
You know that thing when you suffer an unspeakable family tragedy and you recognize within moments that it’s the kind of thing that changes the course of your life and others forever? And you start feeling unsettled as you watch things and people changing and slipping away from you? And then you receive more unthinkable, unbearable news and for the first time in your life you suffer from depression and anxiety? You start therapy. You lose 35 lbs.
Andrew Wyeth said, “Really, I think one’s art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes.” And really, the depths of my own has been tested, compromised, doubted, dwindled and currently only exists as a faded shade of something I once carried around like a comfortable belly full of oatmeal. These days there is a swarm of bees living in my chest: Anxious. Doubtful. Not of myself.
I can’t bring myself to paint.
Many days, I retreat to the quiet of my bedroom, sink into the pillows and wait for sleep. Every day, I put on a dress and some red lipstick and present a portrait to the outside world of the person I am trying to be again. It’s difficult, being one thing and being perceived as another. It’s lonely.
To the clients that are still waiting for their paintings, I will come out of this. The last six months have proven, poignantly, how my art is so directly linked to my psyche. Creating art for a living can become mechanical and rote, but when your heart is broken your art is broken as well.
Know this: I will fix both. I am asking for understanding while I navigate some of these very delicate personal issues, and I hope that making art will be a part of that healing. I think maybe it will even change a bit. There are concepts knitting themselves together in my mind, picking up the dropped stitches of my brokenness and making something new and stronger. Different. Better. I can feel it though it is still raw and unsettling.
I hope you’ll be patient with me, and gentle. My art and my heart will be the better for it.
What kind of birthday present do you get for the person who has everything? In this case, the person was my business partner, and the birthday gift was a painting of her with a skull face.