I dug through the cardboard boxes in my parents’ basement and found lost treasures. Girlhood artifacts. Dirty ponies. Chipped unicorns. Doll parts and doilies. This might have been what I was searching for all along.
I really enjoy their dingy condition. We age and so do our toys. I remember trying to pull combs through plastic hair and assembling a little girl altar of ceramic unicorns on my bureau.
Being able to play pretend is a super power that fades as we grow older. I recall being at an age where I became aware that I was losing it. I dove back into pretend play and tried to force myself to hold onto that magic. Sometimes I think it worked. Others, I grieve the loss.
Someone once told me that my heart still believes in things my head know aren’t real. Maybe that’s a large part of why and what I paint.
Glitter craft paper, fake flowers and abandoned toys seem appropriate. It reflects a bit of how I see myself these days. Colors fade. Natural radiance is replaced with cosmetic grade mica flakes. The flow of blood is imitated with waxy pigments. It’s the natural course of things. It’s the hope for magic in the context of reality.
I am not speaking as a sad sack. I think these feelings and memories are important to explore.
Part of what is satisfying about painting for me is that I eventually part with my work. The idea of my paintings existing as an important part of another’s home is very comforting. Will it become an heirloom? Will it end up at a thrift store? Whatever the outcome, that is okay. They go on adventures without me.
I once had two paintings, my Slumber Party Sibyls, that lingered much too long with me. I wasn’t terribly happy with them, but also couldn’t make myself throw them away.
As a solution, one summer night I walked them to downtown Asheville and hung them from a tree in Pritchard Park.
And one of my paintings resting peacefully amongst other artwork in the home of Carl Medley, another creative artist.