Monday, August 11, 2008


How do you deal with grief in your art? For me this is a tough question. There is the one year anniversary of a dear friends death coming up and I am not sure how to put it in my art. She was murdered and I had seen her just before she died. That changes the way I think I would feel if it was a long illness. But I have a lot of guilt that still has not been reconciled. Even coming up to a year I don't know that I have dealt with the guilt. I think about it, a lot. I did not do anything to cause her death or that of her family member, but I wish I could have changed things. Knowing who murdered your friend does not help either. So, I am building a shrine. A Day of the Dead shrine. I have never really made one. I started today and it has made a difference. I know what she liked, I have a few small trinkets (buttons etc..) that were hers. Some things she gave me the day she died. These are part of the shrine. I think I will send it to her mother to put in her garden where my friends ashes are buried.
As an artist I figured I could just do what I needed. Let the paintbrush, scissors, etc.. take over my grief and maybe it would not feel so acute. That is not true. At least not for me. It is piercing. It feels like someone has pushed a very long needle thru my body. I walk around with it. Then every once in a while I accidentally bump it and it hurts badly. It's not like I ever thought it was not there, I just choose to live with it. But now it is infected. I have to take it out and I am afraid that it was holding together a lot more than I realized. This long needle held my heart together.
I have friends. Very dear and honest and faithful friends who all listen to me. I cried and wept and drank more than I ever should on Saturday. I cried and felt terrible. Then of course I felt like the worlds largest fool on Sunday. What a way to wreck the party. Here I wanted my friends around to show me how happy I can be with them and I end up crying over them. I believe they don't judge. But they know me. They know I should not do what I do.
So how does an artist deal with grief. I don't know. I make art. Bad art. Maybe some good. Mostly it is bad. It makes no sense and has no rhyme or reason. I feel lost amongst my brushes and paints. They are foreigners in my little studio. My studio feels like I am in another country. What felt like the worlds safest place, feels the scariest. What could possibly come out of me that I don't know about? What about all that bad feeling? I would be very happy if it dissolved. But no go, it's been almost a year and it still sits there like a huge cement ball.

So, I guess I will wait and see what I can post here, and what I am not afraid to share in this journal.

Thank you to my friends. I really wrote this so you might understand me. I ask a lot of you and I know I can give back when you need me to. I have to get thru this month. That's all.


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