Where to begin with this one? Oh, Lake of Forgiveness, how I struggled.
This painting started about 3 years ago as so many do - with the spirit of experimentation. This time I was experimenting with some new media, gels, etc. and thought it would be fun to play with fabric collage in the underpainting. (It's basically invisible now, but under so many layers of paint, strewn across the horizon line are some fabric violets that were the original impetus for the painting. ) How many times did I not know where in the world to take this piece? Probably a hundred, at least. I would paint, stop, look, paint some more, then stop again and look. The piece was going nowhere. So, I put it away for another time.
The painting cycled through many more overhauls until I just got sick of it and finally resolved to make something happen. So, I went to my standby- the clear landscape. I know that when I'm lost, it's good for me to focus on something- and often that's a horizon line- where the sky meets the earth or water. But even after I decided on the subject, we (the canvas and I) went round and round again. Sometimes paintings are just "difficult", they don't want to be resolved so quickly.
I can honestly say that when I titled the painting, "Lake of Forgiveness", I still wasn't sure if it was finished. But when my collector saw it's most recent incarnation paired with the title, she knew she had to have it.
Lake of Forgiveness. For Tricia it means one thing. She loves it because it's a beautiful visual reminder of how we all need to let go of whatever we hold onto, hold against, hold over, or hold far away. For me, it's the same, really. Forgiveness is something that I struggle with daily, with others and especially with myself. Allowing myself to be more tolerant of my own humanity and a little less critical of my flaws. Allowing it to not be perfect all the time, allowing myself to make mistakes and still love myself and love those mistakes.
That canvas and I had a lot of forgiving to do of each other until I finally gave it a title and deemed it finished. The struggle was long. But that's what a practice offers- the opportunity to struggle through something and come out the other side- with whatever the lesson holds. Painting isn't just about making pretty pictures for me. It's a practice that work with that continues to take me to the other side- where peace resides.
And now I hit the ball to your court: Where can you do some forgiving? And then share. Why, you ask? Because it's courageous to share. And life is now.