I did this painting for the opening of a new gallery. The director was disappointed when I delivered it and informed that he was hoping for a drawing. I thought this comment was shallow and he would see if he looked closely, how meaningful the painting was…but he didn’t. I was rejected once from a competition years ago when I submitted a painting of my son. The rejection letter expressed a disappointment that there were too few drawings submitted (a letter not directed to me specifically but left me dumbfounded no less.) Drawing comes so easy for me that I consider painting to be the real achievement. I like the delicate application of the pencil combined with the bold use of a paint brush obviously, however here in ‘You are what you are’ it is only about the paint.
In my narcissistic search for myself, I never realized that my grandmother had a life before me. She was a quiet woman, reserved, frugal and dependable. And yes, I was concerned when she would yell at the TV during a basketball game but that was my grand-fathers problem…not mine…at least until my daughter was born. At 2, my daughter wanted a hoop-a-loop. Not a hula-hoop. Finally, I learned that a hoop-a-loop was a net and a basketball. I signed her up on a team at 6 and soon had other parents in as much disbelief as me. The ref suggested they take her out of the game because she kept taking the ball from the other team and going back to make a basket. No one else had a chance to play. It was my daughter’s innate understanding and drive for the game that made me realize my grandmother’s passion. I understood why a woman who survived a great depression would go to college to coach what certainly had to be one of the few basketball teams for women. I loved watching my daughter and my son play and slowly acquired my own appreciation for the game. When there is a lonely ball on the pavement, I pick it up, spin it, dribble, and take a shot… something I’m sure my grandmother did and my daughter does. So you see Mr. gallery director, there are three generations in my little painting with an awareness and acceptance of who we have been and who we are.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” Thich Nhat Hanh