There comes a time in every artist's career where the obscure becomes clear, if only for a moment. That moment is so bright that it is burned into the soul to remain a constant even when the dark returns. Works of art are no longer work. The artist is now creating purely from within. What is discovered there will become the artist's style, I suppose.
That moment came to me at what is probably a later stage than others, but as my favorite man loves to remind me, I am, and have always been, a late bloomer. So after years of creating works for class assignments, commissions, and boundless experiments, I finally painted what will forever be remembered as the "game changer", the "ahhh haa" moment, the "this is who I am" piece.
At the beginning of this year I was spending hours at my desk trying to compose all the ideas in my head into what would be the first painting of a long overdue series. After many hours, days really, of staring into the void of white paper, my favorite guy said to me "ok, I want you to draw a picture of a skull with the face being torn off and flowers on one side. Then you can paint that." He also added that he would draw the same and we could truly see the differences in our creative brains. Well, that got me. A challenge. So I went right to work. As I started sketching in the 3 required elements I started thinking about the details I dream of painting, skies, stars, the Milky Way. At that time I was extremely homesick, and pictures of the New Mexico night sky were constantly in my visions. I wanted more than ever to be in those stars. That's when it hit me, the background would be those stars, and the skull would be floating in a them. I had a background challenge that I had never attempted, but had painted over and over in my head for years. But wait, the flowers I had drawn were Stargazer Lillies, my favorite, of course. So away I went frantically painting for hours a day. I did almost nothing else, except go to my regular job, for 3 weeks. I couldn't get the paint down fast enough, and the ideas just kept coming. Every emotion I had been trying to compile previously to this piece was suddenly aware that I had awakened, and they were screaming to get out. As the paint layers grew thicker, so did the meaning. I began to realize my favorite guy tricked me into painting me, and every element surrounding my life at the time, or maybe he just knew what I needed to get me out of my head. I will spare you the details of every iconic moment set curing in oil, but I will say if you look to the far upper left hand corner you can see the constellation Aquarius as it set in the sky on Febuary, 9 2016, as I painted it. The last two stars of the left hand reaching out are resting on the stargazer's head, anointing it with creative musings, and at the heart's center of the water bearer rests the moon.
I'm not sure which part of this painting thrilled me more. The beautiful, flowing followers, the twisted, self-destructive, self-realizing gazer, the many hidden faces of emotions in the cloudy texture of the Milky Way, or that simple set of white dots. What I do know is that the 3 weeks I spent lost in this glorious 4'x3' oily surface of infinity were 3 weeks of pure delight. The first work of art that I loved from beginning to end. The first piece that I hated to finish, but couldn't wait to complete. The Stargazer.