This earring is a tiny part of a 2'x4' painting I started in the beginning of 2016. You can tell the earring is tiny from the size of the canvas weave. I painted it with 1 hair of a brush. That's just too tiny for me to paint, let alone see!
This painting leaned against the wall, the bookcase, the fireplace for months. I started to resent the damned thing because I didn't know what to do with it. I had an idea; I just didn't know how to bring the idea into reality. I leaned it up against a heavy chair that I had also started to resent, and varied my time between ignoring both or glaring at both.
One day, I decided to move the chair to the basement. This was something I'd been afraid to try because when I say the chair is heavy, I mean it's really heavy with cast iron parts inside. It's also big and awkward, with legs which prevented me from using a dolly. There's also doors and corners to negotiate from the living room to the basement.
I shoved and hefted the thing to the top of the stairs, then realized the only way to get it down to the next step was to lean over the high back of the chair to grasp the arms, then lift, then drop, lift, drop... with visions of tumbling head over heels to the cement floor at the bottom. I debated the pure stupidity of the risks, and did it anyway.
Somehow, the removal of the red chair made me feel more kindly towards my red painting. I painted over some of the red with blue and felt more kindly still. I started working on the painting in earnest. Perhaps some people can't understand how furniture moving can have a lot to do with creative expression, but I'm pretty sure others will understand painting the living room walls might help even more. How many artists through the ages painted glittering jewelry for those living opulent lifestyles while the artists starved and shivered in their studios while glaring at something intrusive in their spaces?
This painting has been hard for me to do because the point of it is to address negatives -- and I don't enjoy dwelling on negatives. I want to force bad memories into the darkest places in my mind. Elina St-Onge wrote, "Every painful emotion... is like a child in distress. When we repress them, it is as if we purposely lock this child self into a room, forcing it to relive a trauma alone and behind closed doors while we look the other way. In other words, it is self-abuse."
What if all of those painful emotions are precious inspirations?
If I ever complete this painting, you can tell me what you see in it. In the meantime, painting it has been a journey of looking for abandoned children in locked rooms. It's a process of discovering what really matters to me, which is often wrapped around my worst memories. Perhaps, the only real path to happiness is through the places we avoid?