10x10 acrylic, resin, ink, glitter on canvas. The name "Althea" means "to heal."
Around 2008 I was in a place where my relationship was falling apart, I couldn’t stop drinking, and I also couldn’t get a job as a substance abuse counselor even though I went to school for it. Turns out you can’t actually get a job in a drug rehab if you can’t pass a drug test. I went to this interview on the West Side. It was a rough area. What I remember the most is the guy interviewing me coughed violently into his hand for a few seconds before reaching out to shake mine, and I didn’t shake his hand. So I didn’t get that job.
There was a huge storm brewing, just the darkest gray clouds. I walked past a thrift store. An exceptionally junky-looking one. For whatever reason, probably to shop so I wouldn’t feel my feelings, maybe because I didn't want to get on 290 in a downpour, I walked in.
Sometimes when I feel the most sad even today I will go to a thrift store and “rescue” something off the shelf. Which has all kinds of characters in my house. I have a big yellow flamingo, a ceramic angel fish. A yellow hippopotamus wearing a top hat. This day I started flipping through photo frames in the store.
I found a framed picture of a very old woman, wearing a fuzzy light pink sweater and a lot of gold necklaces. The woman was sitting in a rocking chair, against what looked like a wall of baskets. Her hair was white, short and permed. She had on those 90s octagon shaped glasses like the queen wears and from behind them a pair of the most electric light green eyes I have ever seen peered out at me. Softly, she smiled. I remember smiling back.
I bought the picture because I felt peaceful with it, and $1.79 is a bargain for the perception of peace. For years she hung on my wall. If people asked I just said she was my Grandma because it was a shorter conversation than “Hi I’m constantly trying to fill the void and these are the lengths I will go to do that.”
Years later her frame had cracked so I took the photo out. On the back in cursive “Althea 1990, 90 years old” was written in blue ink.
All of the paintings I created for my “of the light” series were to represent healing and water. “Althea” means” “To Heal.” This piece is a stretched-out, bent moment of finding that moment of healing and peace in that thrift store in Althea's sparkling, light green eyes, gold jewelry, and white hair. The gray in the picture represents the storm that is within the moment of healing - present but not the focal point of the piece.
I wish I could say I still had that picture. At some point in my thirties, I had to start making space and letting go of all of the objects I have saved up from previous versions of my life. But the moments of healing have stayed. It is a privilege to share this with you and for her to get to live in your home. The paintings are like puppies really. I just want them to go to beautiful people that love them. I am so grateful that this Althea is on her way to you. I am sending you extra healing through the storm & much love.