Thursday, May 7, 2009

Paintbrush strokes

I have never attempted to write a blog post after 36 consecutive waking hours, but there's a first for everything, right? If these thoughts fall flat or abruptly stop altogether, I blame the sleep deprivation. At least my teeth are brushed and my face is washed...I'm prepared; no mascara on the pillow case tonight.

At this point, my mind is too busy for sleep. I just finished my ninth and final semester of college (the quantity of classes I'm taking this summer will count as another full semester, but I don't want to think about that now). I want to reflect back before I move forward.

So I'm going to take us way back this evening, to not just my first day of college but my first day, ever, of school. I was headed off to Standard 1 at St. Heliers School in Auckland, New Zealand. I know what I wore that day because we have a picture, but I remember those first few minutes of saying goodbye to my mom and sidling up to Mrs. Bourke without any documentation.

From there glimpses of my year and a quarter at St. Heliers are disjointed flashes of remembrance, at best. The way Julia's ponytail swung so proudly, high atop her head, as we ran across the playground. The way Tim Glatt's long eyelashes made me feel giggly. Field day events in our gym uniforms: white shorts and light blue t-shirts. Singing New Zealand's national anthem at assemblies in our dark, closterphobic gym. Sliding down a wet slope during recess, my leg going under a fence, and earning a scar down my right shin.

There are many random (and relevant memories) stored within me from my four formative years in New Zealand, yet I know so many things are lost. As I considered this attitude and response I gained from never getting to go back and visit NZ in the past fifteen years, I wanted to capture a snapshot of what I presently feel like life was like there, acknowledging that I bring glamorized biases and nostalgic innocence and my own degree of imagination to make up for what I lack in vivid memory. So, here you have the first of my paintings from my final series in Painting II this semester...

The second piece in the series ended up being a lot different from the first. I took my experiences and relationship with Bellingham, WA, the place I lived from ages eight to eighteen, and attempted to capture my present response to these memories and landmarks. Instead of childhood innocence, you get some adult realism. While beautiful objects do exist, their presence is disputed by the the choice of moody, gloomy colors. It's supposed to be sad and yet also beautiful. An uncomfortable mixture of both. A response I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with in real life...

And the lines across both paintings? -- they are road lines I pulled forward on the surface as I finished out the paintings to explain my composition and emphasize a sense of place through further complexity and layering.

[05/08: 14 hours later...I just woke up half an hour ago. My neck's a little stiff, but the rest of my body is thanking me for much needed rest. I started writing these last few lines while falling asleep last night, so I figured it would be wise to hold off on publishing until I was more cognitive...]

I just wanted to share where much of my time and thought have been in the last month. I'd love to hear which painting you respond to more and any other reactions you have. These paintings are 2.5' x 4', acrylic on masonite board.


Anonymous said...

Lael, You are so talented, so gifted... you have deep thoughts and you can communicate those with paint and with are truly an inspiration to me. Well done on your final two pictures. They are beautiful. Love, Kirsty

Lael said...

Kirsty: Thank you so much for your words. I don't see much point in making art if the only person it moves is me, so thanks for helping me continue to find purpose.

Shan. said...

Firstly...36 hour stretch not good!!
Nice recollection of past...i don't know how much and how back I can recollect..some day i need to sit, think and document !
You paint too...gifted!!..both the paintings are nice in its own way!

Rachael said...

Sweetie, you've already heard my comments over the phone--you know you always impress me with your creativity, thoughtfulness, beauty & displays of artistic talent. I've appreciated the conversations we've had about your art.

(Excuse me, 'your first day of school' was at home w/ teacher 'Mom' Just teasing.)