Do you remember when you lost the ability to play pretend? When did you realize magic wasn’t real? When did the weight of reality and eventual adulthood dim the light of your play, your toys became brittle plastic and you worried at their tangled, matted hair?
My paintings have become about that childish grief that I can’t seem to shake. That feeling of betrayal by promises of love, beauty and adventure. That they were all of our birthright and now we find ourselves denied by reality. It’s confusing. It hurts. It lingers.
I think of my paintings as quiet moments, a space you could crawl into and sleep, a cave, a blanket fort, a cabinet, a cupboard. They’re a sticky drawer you open and find something you thought you had lost forever. They’re a hole you find in a hillside and stick your arm in, not knowing whether you’ll be bitten or pull out treasure. They’re that space in time when you’ve stayed up too late in summer and you’re alone in a giant, throbbing world. They’re the memory of moments sitting in scratchy grass and wondering at the freckles on your arm. They’re that space in time right before and after you lost your power of pretend. That transition.
My paintings are the first time I was ever scared, the porcelain swan on my grandmother’s vanity, are when I realized I wasn’t good at horse back riding just because I was a girl, my unicorn jewelry box with the broken horn, the space under my bed, my flushed cheeks, and that dress in my closet that doesn’t transform me into a heroine of some interesting story.
My paintings are the feeling that weighs on me when I wake up from a dream I don’t want to end, can’t get a grasp of, but I know I’ve lost something beautiful.
My paintings are about knowing that there’s a little girl still inside of me, missing her, not being able to reach her because she hides her face from disappointment. Her and my bones are the most permanent part of me. The rest of me gets scuffed, fades from exposure, wrinkles with use and stumbles about like broken toy ponies.
I want you to know that I feel these things, and I want to know that you do too. And that I haven’t stopped trying to conjure up that same depth of belief.
Every now and then I can make a place or time in the real world sacred and feel that glow of endless afternoon and be safe there, but as those moments get further and further apart, I strive to memorialize their passing in my paintings.