Monday, June 19, 2017

The Great Divide... or... the Space in Between

Prelude to Acceptance and Recovery

I have anguished for a lengthy period of time about continuing to post... for a number of  strong personal reasons. Allison's sudden passing has certainly been one of them, but I can't let that in itself become a driver in my decision.

Posting here on my blog has always provided me a strong motivation to connect with other like-minded artists who share my passion to express our feelings and ideas in paint. Giving that up would be depriving myself of that valuable opportunity to share my voice and connection with  those who share my path.

I intend to hopefully examine and discuss my attempts to create and pursue a "new normal" for my life in the face of the huge void and upset that Allison's passing has created within my daily life. Strangely enough, this new state of daily living somewhat follows the old path,... even though I know and totally accept that the "old normal" forever slipped away into the obscurity of a place that I am yet unable to travel to... along with my lovely daughter Allison' s physical being and presence.

At this moment, I propose continuing to post choosing to select "sunnier" memories of Allie. I hope to show how they might reflect and support a clear view of a kind of cross-pollination of my current healing and painting processes that I have discovered and am exploring.

All voyages into the unknown involve dealing with a cauldron of strong and potentially caustic personal emotions within... of sadness, fear, doubt and distrust. Think of man's first attempts to step out beyond what was known on land in a small vessel out into the vastness of an ocean... not knowing what lay ahead and without charted knowledge and experience to guide you.

Deep personal grief is exactly akin to that. I can now readily relate to the overwhelming sense of disorientation and fear that accompanies deep loss... that moment when what you knew and experienced as "normal" life disappears in a single instant from view and beyond physical reach. A common expression of compassion offered by many who came to me to add words of comfort or express their own disbelief offered was "There are no words". And that is indeed the fullest truth.

Selecting a Pathway to Recovery... and a "New" Normal

During my entire lifetime I have recognized the value and significant role of Nature... painting and music in establishing a feeling of harmony and peaceful accord. They inter mesh to help form a creative web upon which I have always been able to "rise out of the ashes" of the discord that lately, seem to exist more and more... everywhere in life. It is these three significant gifts or guideposts that I believe can light my pathway towards... that "new normal" I seek to exist in.

My therapist/social worker suggested in our session yesterday that I very much needed to actualize my own well-being and healing by trying to learn not to assume responsibility for the health and well-being of everyone else around me. She gave me "a "homework" task to choose two definable and achievable activities based purely upon my own enjoyment that I could easily conduct and would focus upon this self-supporting goal.

I replied almost without hesitation... "Yes... painting en plein air for a day. I haven't done so since late February when I was in the Barbados on location for the day at Hunte's Gardens". After some thought I added a second task. "I will attempt not to contact or check in with any of my (now grown) children during that same week of change". Now to follow through...

First Steps

After reading the prelude, I'm sure that all of you can figure my primary intent in choosing the title for the post. It most certainly pertains to the great and incomprehensible void in which each member of our family has been sadly thrust. However, I intend something else as well that perhaps puts a more positive "spin" on the title's intended meaning.

While I was in the midst of trying to find my footing (and a worthy subject) for my first major painting to begin that creative recovery, I sat alone in our gallery for an afternoon staring around the collection of landscapes that I had created without the burden of sadness... worry or grief. I felt strangely calm as my eye passed along the walls from one to another.

While doing so, I began trying to select "favourites"... though I rarely ever have any. I suddenly realized that I was basing my attempts upon the comments that had come most recently from visitors as they walked about our gallery space for the first time.

I believe that the common denominator which drew both the viewer and me, the artist to think "good thoughts" and to feel a common familiarity with each piece was the simple fact that the physical space between the artist's eye and the actual subject (physical place) was decreased to such a degree... that both shared a more equal perspective from which to find a common feeling of joy.

The greater that feeling of shared verisimilitude and joy... the greater the likelihood that the viewer "might" actually become the owner. My title then speaks to the artist's ability to cross that great divide that separates "the ordinary" from the "soul grabber". That space unites the spirit of the artist... the viewer to the subject. As artists... let us all dream... to be different. Let us at the same time... serve our Selves!

In grieving... one cannot physically cross the "Great Divide". However... we can in spirit adopt/choose a pathway which incorporates Faith... Hope and Trust in something... or Some One... or even our Selves.which may beyond mortal planes and understanding. I choose that pathway of Hope rather than cynicism and despair... a pathway that embraces a belief that the vastness of this Universe contains opportunities, and even miracles we can neither imagine or yet understand.

Let us continue to believe in... and paint only that which brings us joy.

                              "Summer Siesta in the Islands" - oil on birch panel 24 x 30 inches

"There just aren't enough words"... so I'll simply let the painting speak to your heart... as it may!

Good Painting... and rich blessings to ALL!


  1. It looks like a good spot to start off on a new journey. The waters look calm and the bends in the river will offer up unexpected gifts. A positive painting and a trip full of promise. I am glad that you continue to paint and to look after yourself. Best wishes.

  2. Thank you Lisa... One day at a time... and one painting at a time. I do feel an increasing sense of calmness that seems to remain longer.

    Thank you for dropping by and for adding these positive wordsGood paintings of encouragement.

    Good Painting,
    Warmest regards,

  3. Dear Bruce the days and nights of blogging land pass so quickly, yet our friends stay in our memory whatever happens. I haven't been visiting your blog for a while so when I found you again I was heart broken and couldn't believe that your beloved daughter had passed away. It is hard to believe, she was so strong and vital and it felt as if I knew her from the photos and stories of your life together. I wish you peace and hope that you will find a way in paint to journal the life of your special and dearest daughter.

  4. Hello again Lass!... Yes Time does has its way of "playing tricks"... and slipping past us all too quietly. I am saddened to note that many of my "old" blogging regulars have (I would guess) moved on to greener ($$$) pastures... or in the hopes of finding some. HA HA!! The art world is not as lucrative... or as easy to make one's way in as it once was. Too many "players"... pun intended HA HA! One still has to earn their way and play for the right reasons! Passion is the go word!

    Thank you for you most kind words in regards to Allie's tragic passing. I do miss her so very badly... each and every day. "There are no words"... I find peace in my painting and my deep commitment to honor her as she asked to continue "our work" in her honor... and I shall... for as long as I am able.

    I am continuing to blog for the same reasons as before... but am re-energized to do so by this challenging event in my life. There is only Hope present... when you work yourself through it. Grief is a strange animal in this magnitude. My "new normal" is quite simply...a work in progress. Sound familiar?

    I hope that life and painting continues to yield happiness... health and purpose in your life. I strongly suspect that it does... and will. Let's remain in touch. I have greatly missed your voice too Lass!

    Good Painting!

    Warmest regards... and rich blessings!

  5. Greetings Laddie! good to hear your voice again in blogging land. You sound good and speak with clarity. Take a day at a time and take your time over everything. The creative life is healing and also a part of our everyday life. It is also a quiet place to go to. Many have left blogging land for the social life of facebook. I had been concerned about one artist and wondered if he was still painting, turned out he has a massive fan base on his facebook page where he posts most days! I too have been enjoying facebook. I do want to get back to my secret garden here in blogging land. Best wishes my friend and I will check back here again to see if you have any paintings to post and news. Blessings Caroline

  6. Hi Lass!... so nice of you to return and leave such uplifting and supportive words! I am indeed following the creative path to help we cope and find my way through the emotional minefield that grief scatters at will... it seems.

    I (sometimes) use my facebook messenger to speak privately with select friends and relatives... but I am neither looking to create a "fan base" nor wishing to take part in chat room-like conversations. I remain perfectly comfortable simplysharing ideas and processes with like-minded and kindred spirits like yourself Caroline. That remains an objective for me and offers an outlet for my writing enjoyment. Good therapy as well...

    I do hope that you continue to find your way back on your own terms to "your secret garden". I always look forward to visiting your site and am anxious to discover what you are doing in paint... and in your personal life.

    Good Painting... Good health and Blessings back to you Lass!
    Warmest regards,