It can feel like we have been left behind and all we have left are the pieces. Pieces of moments that flash like pictures from a place that we wish we would have known to hold onto differently at the time. Loss that is sudden brings a tremendous new sense of awareness for moments. We learn to bend and stretch them into the present. With God's help, as we walk longer down the path - the path narrows. The light gets brighter and the vision, more clear in our hearts and sight. That is all my art is. I am grateful that you see that too.
It isn’t often I paint a dark horse. They scare me really and my art has always been about perseverance and healing - to acknowledge the shadow, the pain, for me is a tunnel with a depth I don’t know the bottom of yet. You and I would discuss these things writing out thank you cards at midnight on corporate restaurant stationary.
I have a weird skill for my age and it is that if someone suddenly loses a loved one, I know exactly what to do and not to do. It isn’t some special magic, they are just things that people did for me. There are days of my life, just as days of your life - that you never forget who showed up. So it’s a privilege to show up in that way for someone else and one day, that was you. When you know someone is in a pain so great that you don’t think you just do. That is all my art is. Doing not thinking.
Those days can be like a person right next to me is experiencing an earthquake of seismic proportions and all I can do is hold their hand because the ground I’m on isn’t shaking, but I know what it feels like.
I had intended to paint you coming from a dark place but stepping into the light and walking that path. The galaxy of all galaxies, where the light starts to come in and illuminate everything around you. A galaxy of 7’s because your wedding was one of the most fun things Kevin and I did in Las Vegas. I have watched you open up, become that light, and move forward into a more peaceful and grounded life of love, spirit, and gratitude. I am so proud of you. I am so grateful for the example.
Normally I will send the pallet and keep you updated but I wanted this to be a surprise and just show up on your doorstep. A few weeks ago the painting was like a big glittery mountain and that was perfect. I loved it. The second place in my life I ever found God was driving north to Las Vegas from Boulder City. There is this mountain range and the light from the stirp was shining from behind the mountains. I found God in that line where the mountain meets the sky. Where the Earth meets the sky, so that is in the painting too. But it wasn’t sticking. It wasn’t right.
This can be the most frustrating thing. Knowing it’s good enough, but knowing if I keep going it will be better, but the attachment to losing what I have already made. Kind of like a Price is Right showcase showdown in my head. What am I going to do?
I kept going and for a week every single thing I did to this canvas made it look like a rose. I’ve never specifically painted a flower before and it felt so out of context for my process that a rose would keep coming out. Over and over I tried to change it. Then, it hit me like a lightning volt.
I was carefully placing a tiny amount of the broken glass all around it and the thought was so sudden I dropped a ton of it on the canvas. Like falling off of a wave and being spat out like a washing machine I remembered everything. Walking across a football field and sitting in the bleachers with you. Her name lit up in candles. A purple scarf. Her smile in all of the photos. It was a second but for that second I didn’t breathe. The world and everything around me skipped like a record.
She has her wings now and a whole galaxy to bloom within. She is striking and powerful, forever young but knowing. She is the grace, the light, the constant companion that knows you know and doesn’t feel sorrow or separation. She is every star and every flower but wanted to visit your house again in a way that you can see what it all feels like better. The love. The freedom is beyond what we can perceive - like a galaxy of wonder but with the comforting hug of your favorite bear, soft and gold.
It is intimidating to paint a piece that is so rooted in loss, in pain. To have the nerve to turn it into something beautiful anyway. Especially when we feel we have been left behind with just the pieces. But you have walked through the dark and into the light too. So you know how to find the light in the dark. Even when it hurts.
I feel like she came to me and all this time has helped me sweep up the pieces a little bit and put what is still left and unlimited back together on this piece of art. The illumination of the entire galaxy as her spirit. The broken pieces, the light, the power, the love. She has never separated from any of you. Not for one second.
Thank you for being so open to the power of God and understanding my art. Thank you for your sight. It blows me away every time you get another piece because suddenly I see it the way you see it and I can’t believe this is my life and I made that. A weird phenomenon.
I hope this stardust, this rose, illuminates the love in your heart that will never fade as she shines, shines, shines.