|Looking toward Abiquiu- New Mexico sky|
I used to paint skies like this. Moody spits of land against an oceanic space. Luminous horizons. Blue almost violet against a startling spill of pink (almost orange). Or thick deep grays infused with glass greens and flannel soft lavenders. I loved it at the time. It felt liberating. As if I was breaking new ground. I was breaking new ground. Not in the world of art. Or painting. But new ground for me. I was breaking open my vision. My idea of what was possible. Painting in joyous strokes, letting go of detail and storytelling. Flirting with abstraction and simplicity and essence. Fooling around with the juice of paint. Its silky slide across the canvas. Its buttery invitation to let go.
My heart couldn't get enough of it. I was drenched in the idea of it, the wide open endless offering of it. Painting skies and clouds and thunderstorms. So of course I did it to death. Then the magic faltered. I lost it. The urge to paint, that is. To conjure skies. Rain. Trees in twilight.
I am stiff fingered now and unmoved to pick up a brush. The one closest to me softens his voice in reassurance, dovetailing words and images into my silence. Waiting, he explains to me, is part of my process. He's seen it all before (my paralysis).
He looks away without sighing and touches my clenched left hand. He brews me peppermint tea. He washes the dinner dishes and stacks plates and bowls in a bamboo rack, whistling a Neil Finn tune. He does not judge. I am astounded by this kindness.
My husband knocks on the bathroom door and opens it a foot. Want me to read to you? he asks. I see he grips a copy of a Kathleen Norris book. I smile and unclench my hands beneath the water.
Sure, I tell him. I love it when a man reads to me.
~New Mexico 2008