For the last three years I’ve created a painting for Alzheimer’s Association for the fundraising – and one of the interesting aspects of this is that I get to do a painting in response to the painting of an Alzheimer’s patient. This year I happened to be in San Diego around the time they started this year’s project, so I was able to see all the available patient’s artwork instead of a small selection of images emailed to me because I’m so far away.
Many paintings spoke to me, but one spoke louder. I am very aware when looking at these pieces of artwork of the decline of life of the artists, and this aspect alone significantly alters my response. The painting is by James Youse, and is on the right. It is simply titled ‘House’ – and is on the right above, but the part that struck me was the difference between the house and its reflection in the water. My initial urge to respond was with a poem, which I did, and then created a refractured watercolor, including the poem on the painting.
- The Speed of Light.
At the edge, after my day is done,
sense of fulfillment resting in my heart,
my body’s atoms coming all apart,
returning to the dirt from where they’ve come
I’ll stop, before I dip these aching toes
into the water of the after life
(my soul arrived before the speed of light –
I don’t know how, but that’s the way it goes),
So I can see the breadth, the depth, the height
I leave behind, before my dive will break
the surface and destroy what others take
to memory, being slower still than light.
The vision in that lake will, by and by
return to stillness, leaving only sky.