It is my last morning here in Chicago. I sit drinking coffee that Layne made for me, reflecting on my mini-residency here.
Sometimes when I don't know what to write, I just make a list:
1. perfect hopeful weather for 12 days
2. the charming walk to my studio each morning
3. trudging the 3 flights up to my perch
4. opening the door and finding that my studio here smells exactly like my studio at Richardson Hall in college at Louisiana Tech (thank you humble beginnings that now smell like home)
5. my lovely host Layne Jackson - a painter's painter, a woman's woman, an extraordinary person, and a blessing to me. truly.
6. making dinner in the evenings and watching art films with Layne.
7. Layne pretending to read Dutch, and me laughing harder than I've laughed in quite a while!
8. my work. my work which went oh so well.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. There were low moments. There were mini-floods of doubt in the beginning. There was fatigue in the end. There was a night of disappointment and loneliness so strong I went home to Layne and had a good short cry. She hugged me just as I needed. Each time there was a low-point, it was redeemed, and soon. Like angels appearing all around me.
and most importantly the work went really well.
I'm starting to think I have actually learned from my experiences as a young artist so far: how to get started, how to push through the doubt, how to fill the well, go easy on myself, when to back off, when to tighten up on the brush. and (unlike some other areas of life) at least the painting seems to respond to my efforts, my care, my diligence, my love.
and this experience has been no exception. It went better than I could have imagined. Each day, arriving at my temporary space, pulling the staples out of the canvas from the day before, removing the painted canvas from the stretchers, and pulling a new piece of raw canvas from the stack, stretching and stapling and starting a new. There was a question when I began this trip, if this was possible, to work this way. and now I know, it is. You begin a painting the same way no matter where you are. You stare down that white rectangle, hopefully with a glimmer of love in your eye, and you proceed with a fair amount of Faith. (Just as you would with everything else important in life ;)
This work has truly "UNEARTHED" itself from within me, and I look forward to sharing it with everyone at my first Solo Show on Oct. 2 at Sibley Gallery in New Orleans.
Today I return to the studio to put everything back in the suitcase, like some magic trick. (the suitcase I came with got a broken and irreparable wheel on the way, and I failed to recount the story of my arrival when I was dragging the gimp suitcase down Division St for a few stubborn blocks before hailing a cab). So, alas, I purchased a new suitcase here in the windy city, and I return with the better part of a solo show all tucked into it with care.
Tonight I board the train "The City of New Orleans", and spend 19 blissfully contained hours blazing back home. Home. Everytime I leave, I'm glad I did, and then, I can't wait to go back. :)