Thursday, September 20, 2018

Of Love, Loss and Letting Go.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the  the stars makes me dream.
- Vincent Van Gogh

Grief is an odd thing, isn't it? For me, this process is like an ocean washing onto the shore. Everything is calm then the tide starts to come in and before I realize it, I am standing in a puddle of tears. What could be considered even odder is when it is over a beloved little heartbeat that was once at my feet. But it is what it is and it is how I feel.

I believe that people can and do spiritually bond with animals. I believed this as a kid playing on the neighbors' farms. I believe it today. The unconditional love that these beasties give transcends any of us. Animals just are. They are who they are supposed to be (given environment and temperament) and act accordingly. There is a light about them that I rarely find in humanity.  I was blessed to have the bond seemingly returned.

I also believe as creatures of the field (and sky and sea), they are perfect in creation therefore they return to the Creator. There is no dogma to sift through. There is no judgment. They are innocent. This may be considered a new age placebo or anathema or whatever. But it gives this old girl comfort.

In saying “good-bye” to Russette, I have accepted that it is probably going to be a life-long journey. I am not good at letting go by any means. I fight. I kick. I scratch. I cry. I will always have that Dutchie girl-shaped hole in my heart. Thank God my rabbits help make my heart large enough that it won't collapse into itself. So … I am ok.

I wanted to do something to help the absence. I wanted to do something to – I don't know – bring her briefly back? This is my project of love, loss and letting go.

Since Russette was always at my side during my arting adventures, it only seemed fit to do a piece of her. Of her leaving me.

She would run across freshly inked drawings and canvasses. She would steal pencils and paint brushes. When I would use a portable drawing board she would sit in my lap under the board. This was part of my process for almost a decade. This is the first piece that I didn't have to go get another pencil or chase after that specific color pencil she ran down the hall and hid somewhere.
It was a lonely drawing.

Russette giving pointers
Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here is a favorite of mine. One afternoon the song played and that was it. An idea hit. Note that what I see in my head is NEVER what the final ever looks like. I just trust that the idea/imagery will take me somewhere.

I wanted a mixed media. Something that represented all the media that Russette spilled, chewed, stole, walked across: An organic element coupled with computer graphics.

She started as a pencil sketch on Dura-Lar with inked blues on the back. Acrylic inks and acrylic gel for texture are the front. Color pencils fill in some details. I really love the color pencil over the acrylic gel.

Fabulous phone photography
The above image/process shows the final steps.
After all was complete – I put it away for a while.

My concept of death is hopeful at best, terrifying at worst. As a kid I used to imagine “the cosmos” as the place of spirits. Mine were similar to Carl Sagan's COSMOS – without all of the math. My cosmos are overwhelming, beautiful, engulfing and welcoming. Now came the computer part. Much was experimental. Much was me looking at old pieces and NASA photos. Some was me staring at the wall.

I represent death in my symbolic work with the white/greyish eyes.
Her heart-light took some thought and trial. But I like where it ended.
Circles are feminine and connecting.

Memories fade. I wanted to somehow represent that she was leaving. She was free. But she was also disappearing because the Earth doesn't stop. The sun comes up and those left behind have to return to the Land of the Living. Returning to the Land of the Living sometimes feels like dying.

Happy travels until we meet again.

Mixed Media