Here’s the skyscapes news for March.
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.
I have just completed “Jessie’s Sunset” – a painting to be auctioned for the Alzheimer’s Association next march. This is a response painting to the artwork of an Alzheimer’s patient, Jessie Hobson (see earlier blog).
I chose to paint Jessie – I have not met her, but a female figure representing her – looking out at the ocean sunset, the storm clouds coming between her and the vanishing sun. On the beach behind her lay two beach umbrellas with blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
The writing at the edge of the water reads: “Did you ever notice as you walk down to the water, it is so happy to see you, the whole ocean waves hello.” A couple of lines from a poem I wrote many years ago.
Across the spines of the beach umbrellas are the words: “Umbrellas are a memory that let us down slowly.”
If you are reading a lot of end-of-life metaphors into that, yes, that is my intent.
Jessie Hobson is an Alzheimer’s patient, and has painted this memory during one of the workshops held by the Alzheimer’s Association. (At least I think it’s the Alzheimer’s Association that is organizing these – I hope they will both forgive me if there is another care entity that is the actual organizer.) Although she did not title her work, it was sent to me as ‘Beach Umbrellas’.
I have been again selected as a pairing artist to create a painting that will be auctioned next March with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. I the next few weeks I will create a ‘pairing piece’ in response to Jessie’s work. As the facility is about 200 miles from me, Caroline Harwood who is the artist contact point emailed me a few photos of work and this one jumped out at me, reminding me of a poem I wrote many years ago. I had a similar inspiration last year.
My biggest decision, though , will be which medium to work in, as I have free reign. Last year I created a watercolor in response to a watercolor. This year I might use something else…