Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's really getting personal

Hi ya'll. Last year I talked about doing an exhibit with my Silent Voices series in Macon GA in April of '16. (Yikes, it's been that long since writing here!) Well, turns out it was on the schedule for February! So...... this week I'm delivering 15 canvases to the 567 Center for Renewal in downtown Macon. For the folks who might be in the area, the opening reception is Friday the 5th at 6pm.

Because the exhibition is happening sooner than I had planned I'm not able to add all the pieces I had hoped to- namely the ones with the stories shared by you. I hope to continue working on and adding to this series as time goes on so I do still plan on adding your stories as another element to the show. For now I'm doing well to finish painting the last canvas along with doing the other bits and pieces required for such an event.

Here you can see bits and pieces of 4 of the canvases. 15 of these 48x36 paintings take up some space in my house!

So why am I doing this? This isn't a selling show. I do portrait commissions, teach art classes and paint landscapes that sell through galleries. What's the point of borrowing a vehicle and hauling these things to another state and then a few weeks later going back to pick them up again. The point is the heart. It's a labor of love. The point is opening minds. The point is having a voice when for the majority of time mother's voices are not only overlooked but intentionally shut down- and sometimes not in a very nice way. We're just bitter and angry old ladies after all.

For the most part though, I think people just don't know. They don't understand what infant adoption means because they've been so filled with the industry propaganda of rainbows and unicorns- adoption is beautiful don't you know? I saw a meme on Facebook today that struck me as appropriate when thinking about doing this exhibit....

The timing for that was perfect. Yesterday I was having a mini panic attack at the thought of putting these paintings out there. They are very personal and I've never shared them anywhere except here where I'm not face to face with anyone. It's easy to share on the internet. It's harder when you're looking a stranger in the eye and having to explain what the work means. I've been working on these canvases for a few years because I have to do these in between the projects that pay the bills so doing this show is a big deal for me. It's the culmination of a lot of time, tears, thought and therapy.

Another bit of timing that was perfect..... remember I said these canvases take up a lot of space? In the process of preparing I had to move things around the studio and office. The earlier canvases have been stored in front of a bookcase in my office for quite a while. Well, you know how the domino effect works. Once I moved them out of the way I had to clean out the bookcase- because I could. While I was sorting things I came across an old notebook. Only the first page had been written on.

It said....
"My roommate Lanny and I went to the drugstore down the street and bought a pregnancy test. My heart was pounding, she was trying to be supportive but all I could feel was the screaming fear pulsing in my veins. The only words going through my head were- can't be, can't be, can't be, can't be happening to me. I'm just stressed, that's why I'm late. Other little voice saying- but you've never been late before. The 'can't be' chanting continued in my head all the way back to the apartment, the hot Ft. Lauderdale sun beating me down block after block."

I have no idea when or why I wrote that. Maybe it was the very beginning of the notion that sharing would be a good idea. It just seemed to me to be the voice of my 19 year old self showing up just in time to remind me to keep going, to put on my big girl panties and deal with sharing these paintings- in person.

See you in Georgia.