A Letter from a Fellow Tortured Painter

an angel wrote to me today – from one painter to anotherout of respect, she shall remain anonymous — but her words to me today meant so much, and were eerily reminiscent of “Letters to a Young Poet”, by Rainer Maria Rilke (if you haven’t read that yet get yer butt to Barnes and Noble!!!!):

If we can not see- we feel our way through the
darkness… run our hands over a face so we can know
it. If we can not remember a song we hum the tune. If
we do not know the language we gesture or draw a
universal language. To communicate becomes a need for some as raw as survival.
There are days when the articulation is easy.I look people dead in the eye,clothes fit just right. Others it is painful to even make any eye contact at all. This is what it is like to paint.
Yes. I know the torment, the depression you speak of. I am touched & honored that you confided in me this experience. I know it like I know my mouth my hand my belly. I am feeling it too.
What has changed for me is the hunger. Last spring I quit fighting it. I used to question if I could be a painter for a very long time. Now I have given myself to painting. It is my solace. I do not approach the canvas only if I feel inspired. I approach it in the same way I approach drinking water or eating…it is a must. Some days I dont feel like it. I do it anyway. I also realize there is a good deal required besides the brush. So my dear friend you are painting when you reach out to others, or search for inspiration, or work on PR. I have a young child so much of the time I am not in the studio I am at home. So I observe. I look here and find inspiration in others work. I study an expression or the way light falls or the feeling of sorrow.
These months are always the most difficult for me. I am learning to sit with my grief…anger…depresson to know that they will pass. My grandmother taught me well when i was young. She had one of the most difficult lives i could imagine. She gave shamelessly. She loved and cared much like a saint. When she was troubled she would work. She would force herself to put her hands in the dirt of her garden or clean or make something…so she could see how possible change is.
I bleieve our idenity is vast. I mean i really beleive it with all my heart. We our much more than we can fathom. So you paint….amazing paintings. But you are always cherished even in the times you are still.
New York must be very cold. It is very cold here too.
My daughter and i made pancakes & spaghetti out of Play-Doh last night. I was trying to write you back but she was impatient. I thought of you.
MMM that Peas&Carrots painting is genius.

in good faith,

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Filed under art, children, imperfection, life, love, painting, Uncategorized

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