When Innocence Leaves You by guest blogger, M. Rae. She has a book out that I very much enjoyed. The link is below:
So, I'm the guest blogger, I see. Carl has asked me to discuss this painting, his first oil in awhile. Honestly, when I saw it, it took be aback. It's jarring, it's disturbing, it's Bacon-esque. And it made me feel uncomfortable things. It made me think. That's how you know an artist has done his job; art is supposed to make you feel something, it doesn't have to be hearts and flowers, it can be any feeling, as long as you feel something.
Now onto my feelings. After the initial shock, it made me think of two very distinct events in my life when the innocent face of childhood was stripped from me. The first was my 9th birthday, July 27, 1980. I was a daddy's girl and my father's mini-me. Where he went I went. He was a proud and distinguished military man and when I was young, he was in charge of certain barricks (for the uninitiated, barricks are where they house soldiers who aren't living in family housing). The barricks containing my father's office were referred to as D-27, a neat communal type place with an efficient, if not overly nosey cleaner named Lena, and about 30 young recruits. I was their unofficial mascot for years. The boys from Quebec taught me French well before I walked inside a school, the others fussed over me. I was given endless amounts of treats and attention and best of all, I got to go to my daddy's work.
On that fateful day in 1980, with my mother standing in the background, arms folded in resolve, I was told I was no longer allowed to go to "camp" as my father called it. Apparently, there was something under the towels the young recruits wore exiting the showers that was a problem. Well, all the young men I ever met were fully clothed and respectful. I never saw a towel. I was crushed. What I got from this was somehow, there was something wrong with me, I was being punished for something. I had no idea what, but apparently, and in my mind at the time, it was turning 9. Somehow, growing up, the one thing I so wanted to do, was a problem. Looking back, it wasn't..... I had no interest in towels or what was under them (and again, was never exposed to same), I just wanted to hang out with my father at his work. First little chunk of innocence gone.
Fast forward to 1984. I turned 13. I knew about towels, sort of, but not really. I still had no clue exactly what was under them and I thought Geroge Michael was straight and he and I would be married when I grew up and became beautiful and got boobs (spoiler alert, he died before I got boobs, and he wouldn't have cared anyway). The point, I was still naive. There was this book, an old one, that was all the rage. A name in literature I had never heard before, given my literary knowledge was Shakespeare, Judy Blume, and whomever it was that wrote those Sweet Valley High Books (damn that Jessica!). This guy, George Orwell wrote a book about 1984, it was on the news, adults were talking. I was a precocious child (intellectually, not socially, you understand), so I desperately wanted to read this book. It was forbidden to me. Like that stopped me. I was able to seripticiously get a copy. Creeped me the F*&k out! I can say I didn't understand all of it, but, I can say there was another moment that took some innocence. I began to question what I was being told, by my parents, by teachers and anyone else in general. I wasn't going to be under the control of "Big Brother". It was my first introduction into the idea that maybe everything I'd been told wasn't true. Well not really, but the first one in official print. I questioned things before, the church, the existence of god, why the rules were the way they were, but I never saw something in actual official print that seems to back up my young burgeoning feeling that something wasn't right with the line I was being asked to tow.
That's what this piece is. I know it looks like an evil baby Hilary Clinton. Because she knows what's up. She's been inside, she knows what time it is. So do I, now, but this piece is about those tiny bits of blissful innocence life just takes from you when you move from a little girl to a woman. It's necessary, it's a transition that needs to happen, but there's a sadness in it. I still mourn the days I could have spent with my daddy at his job, days when we could relate to each other, because I was soon to become a stranger to him, something and someone he simply couldn't understand desipte his love. He tried, but a man with a grade 4 education had a difficult time relating to an awkward girl, coming of age in an era of unprecedented sexual and social freedom and who loved philosophy and literature. I wanted to talk about ideas, he wanted to play crib. And I did, all the time, as much as I hated it (I still hate cards), because I loved him....another chip in the youthful armour, sometimes you gotta do stuff you don't like.
Sorry, back to the painting. Evil Baby Hilary is the best possible depiction of what happens to us. We're young and happy, with gorgeous smiles, innocent, the world is a place of safety, of wonder and fun. Then, it shifts, it just does. For some of us, that shift is easy, maybe gradual. For some of us, it's sudden, a big ass jerk out of the life we knew 24 hours before....and those are the people that'll get it.
My memories of summer, the ocean, mom and I in happy times, long ago, are great memories. When I was little, my mom, sis (she's five years older than me), and I would go to islands, beaches, and campgrounds for summer vacations. These are some of my fondest memories and they're times of the closeness of our little family without my father. Divorce is hard on kids, but mom tried in certain ways; she took us on a lot of great trips. I know the divorce was very hard on mom too, and I don't think she ever really recovered from it. I think my parents did love one another, but they had issues they allowed get in the way of a healthy and successful marriage. One big problem with that is it's especially hard on young children.
In this piece, called, Take My Hand, I reckon I'm the little girl. We, as children, just want to feel loved and protected. The little girl in this painting represents all little children and their need for a loving bond with mother. As I look at this painting, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness because I miss those times of long ago, the closeness, our tight, little family. Maybe we can't go back, but we can live for now, even though tears may fall into the distant memories of those we love.
My better half, Misty, loves this painting. It was a lot of work, but felt very good to paint it. An artist knows they have done their job when the hand, arm, back, neck, eyes, and feet are sore. :)
There's definitely something special about a lighthouse. This one is very old, but still in operation. The waves get up, the churn and swirl, with the impending storm. Will this old girl be able to withstand the storm? You bet your sweet ass it will. She's the Savior in the Storm.
Summer; the beautiful heat, color on the skin after a long, pasty-skin winter. Yay! This woman has come into her own. She has really embraced summer. She has let go. Liberation and excitement awaits.
I called this painting, She Was Ready to Let Go. I'm proud of her moxy. I'm proud to say I like the cut of her jib. Welcome to freedom... X
When I was a boy, Spring was so exciting for me. The school year was edging closer to the end (ha ha), the long, cold, snow-filled winter was over, and everything was coming alive. The smells (yes, I liked the smells), the sounds of the birds and kids outside, and the feel of it all. It was healing, somehow, and it felt freeing.
In this piece, Anticipation of Spring, the girl waits, she's lost in her own thoughts, thoughts of the coming Spring. She thinks of the flowers that will come, the little birds that will flit about in the branches of the trees as they produce their green bounty. The Spring, to her, is like poetry come-to-life. Isn't that the way it should be?
Have you ever walked into a room and someone had set up flowers? Wow, it's a rare and magnificent thing. The smell, the variation of absolute beauty, and the feel; as if nature had to come to live here.
I'm so proud of this piece, Rustic and Gorgeous. It flowed so freely as I allowed the painting to come to life. I want life to always be vibrant. I always want to remember the things that matter. This painting is all about what matters; love, life, excitement, family, and the vibrant HEART. X
This painting is called, No Worries. It's about heading out there, being resilient, and experiencing so many things.
The crow, so tough, so crafty, and so smart. This crow is all those things... and more...
This woman, she's a trooper. She's like the crow. She likes to see what's out there, through thick or thin.
When the rain comes down, when the wind slants your way, remember what and who you are; you're a warrior, if you want to be.
This piece is called, Night of the Raven. This woman is a night person, loves her raven, and embraces the sweet, dark night. The night holds mysteries. For those that are drawn to the night and the moon, there are countless delights.
For me, ravens are powerful. They stand all kinds of weather and difficult conditions. They are often around, yet we don't always know where they are.
Crows and ravens are very special and unique to me. They end up in my work, often. I'm so glad they do.
Below, I've included some photos of a raven that was searching for something to eat outside of the building I live in. The raven was there as I arrived at the building. That was great timing.
A trusty boat, the beautiful ocean, a lovely day; all things I treasure. Where I hail from, eastern Canada, it's OCEAN! I love it. The salty smell on the air, the sound of the screeching gulls, the look of the waves coming in, the FEEL of the whole thing. It's amazing and it's healing.
I'm so very proud of this painting, Just Waiting. It talks of my love for the ocean and her power. She waits there, just like this boat, beckoning us to come... and be free... X
Come down to the sea. It calls to you, it whispers, it pulls. Come to the raven power. It holds mysteries. Perhaps some things will be found out. Maybe they won't. The woman is majestic. She has her raven. He has her. All is complete. All is paradise by the sea.
I called this painting, Her Best Raven. I'm pleased with how it turned out. The big raven perches, strongly. The woman is with her favorite raven. The piece shows the pull and power of the female and the raven; two wonderful creatures, enjoying the sand and sea, together in this unfolding, epic tale.