Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Fisherman's Sunset

"A Fisherman's Sunset", 12x16, oil on canvas panel

Sometimes an event will happen in our lives that leaves us unnerved, off balance, and totally out of control. I now understand what it's like to literally "See red". This happened to me a few days ago. Without repeating the incident, suffice it to say that a person whom I love very, very much, hurt me deeply. The feelings that I felt after a one minute phone call left me feeling simultaneously empty, incredibly sad, and trying to control an anger that was beyond my ability to control.

I had been painting when the phone call came. I can't even remember what I had been painting. After the phone call, I couldn't think of anything other than trying to deal with the anger and pain that I felt. I picked up my palette knife and began smearing paint all over my canvas. Red paint. Red, hot, orangey strokes plastered on the canvas like flaming embers. I just kept smearing and smashing red and orange cadmiums onto the canvas, without even being aware of what I was doing. Not long afterwards, the phone rang again and it was someone else. We talked and I became calmer as a result of this voice of reason and grace. I cleaned off my palette knife and stuck the canvas in a place where the cats would not walk through it and make cadmium red footprints all through the house. (Yes, that has happened before, as a result of not having a studio and painting in one's kitchen where everything is accessible and paintings are as vulnerable to cat-paws as mosquito-landings. )

The next day I was still upset. But by the end of the day I had settled myself, knowing that only God can change people and things, and there is nothing I can do to change or help a loved one once they've reached an age where they are capable of making their own choices- be they bad or good. Nothing, that is, except to continue to pray and have faith that God will touch that person and change them from within.

I took out the painting with the red strokes of flaming anger written all over it and looked at it again. I decided that I wanted to create something soothing out of the chaos I had rendered the night before. Recently, I had read something on the Daily Painter's forum about the deep pervading loneliness that can ensue for a fisherman's wife, when the husband goes off to sea. Fisherman, or sailors, especially those in the military who are submarine sailors, leave home and often are not heard from for months at a time- and the fear and loneliness that ensues until their return can be heart wrenching.

So with that thought fresh in my mind, I decided to make my angry painting into something much different- hopefully a reminder of how wonderful it is when a loved one returns home after a period of absence and darkness, and an example of how inevitably hope reigns eternal in humans that in the end love and goodness and mercy for all- even the lost- shall prevail. I guess the story of The Prodigal Son comes to mind here, and I sincerely hope that God in His infinite mercy can truly forgive all the prodigals in this sad world of ours.

This red hot painting of anger, frustration and sadness has hopefully evolved into something a little more peaceful now that I've re-worked it. The globs of red paint dried overnight for some weird reason, since I live in Florida

But life is filled with challenges. Each day is a new day and we must try to love to the best of our abilities, even when the loved one has hurt us deeply, or the paint has gotten dry and unwieldy, and hope becomes dimmed by repetition of failure. I hope this painting has some beauty in it, despite its origins. And I hope that anyone reading this who can identify with the deep emotions that render us helpless at times will realize that we are only human, and judgment of others is foolish in view of one’s own human frailties. Luckily for me, I have an outlet for my emotions. I am very grateful for that.

Thanks for listening. Now you know how some paintings come about....

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Micah R. Condon said...

beautiful painting, and thanks for sharing the story. this painting is so full of energy and it's great that you were able to turn something negative into something else. Hope the cat footprints worked out :-)

Paintdancer said...

Thanks Micah.

I tried to make it into a positive painting, although you may notice that the sail is heading away from the house, which suggests conflict if one assumes the fisherman is trying to get back home. On the other hand, if you don't know the story behind the painting, one could think the fisherman was headed out to do some fishing. It's all in the viewer's interpretation.

Anyhow, the cat painting faired better than the carpets, which were white. Also the cat wasn't very happy either when I locked him in the bathroom for over an hour and had to try to get all the cadmiums off his paw pads with canola oil. He wasn't happy, I wasn't happy and it taught me never to leave a wet painting on the kitchen countertop,where normally he knows he's not allowed!

Trine said...

background stories of paintings are so interesting. I do need to write more of them.

Kim ellery said...

Beautiful painting!
I receive the daily painters email daily. I cannot tell you how often I have clicked on your paintings, not knowing the artist, just wanting to get a better look at the painting. Needless to say I am a fan!
After reading your story of how this painting came to be, I realized why the connection. I too am passionate about color and God! I wish I lived near you, and I would ask you for some painting lessons!
If you get the time, check out my website... let me know what you think!
On another note.... God can take anything bad, and turn into something good! Keep inspired!
Your fan,
Kim Ellery <><

Gifts of Creation said...

Hi! Your artwork is so beautiful, stunning and inspirational! I have featured you on my blog as one of the "lovely blog" award winners. I am looking for 15 new blogs to feature and you are number 5.
Come by and visit!