On this sunday night, with monday looming on the horizon, I decided to take a break from grading to paint. There are several reasons for this, the foremost is that I know I am a better teacher when I am actively solving the same problems I am asking my students to. With the problem of what to make, I started a painting from a black and white photograph of my mother with her parents looking over the edge of a cliff. If I had to guess, I would place them in North Carolina. I think my brother and sister are making it into the composition on either side of my mother, although figures come and go once the painting progresses. This completes the image as a pseudo-self-portrait, my mother sharing the place I would be in if the painting was true to the time period of my siblings. It potentially also makes my brother my uncle if the time was only true to the original source photograph.
This point gets me to the reason why I love painting so much; its ability to transform reality and traverse time. Potentially I am missing the power of other mediums, but I cannot resist the thought that painting outweighs other media's ability to assimilate, accumulate, record, transcribe, and combine time into a believable reality. As well as the way it exists in our brains or perhaps more specifically ours dreams (subconscious). I am so thankful for having painting as way to move through time to be around my mother in an active way again, as opposed to a passive viewer of photographs or old home movies. The only other way I have experienced her in a similar way is in my dreams. In that space, we have gone on car rides together and talked about mundane everyday activities. My dreams of my mother are never extraordinarily (outside of the impression of spending time with her). They are just the mass of moments that make up everyday life. Those moments, and that feeling of being near her again are the moments I want to reclaim in my conscious reality. That is why I paint. That and the thrilling experience of mixing and pairing colors in a way that recognizable imagery emerges.