I remember times of wondering whether my children would ever learn to tie their shoes, get up on time, be responsible, remember to say please and thank you, take care of personal hygiene willingly and regularly.... At those times I did not feel very hopeful and questioned my ability to be their parent. Thankfully, my children are reasonably responsible, clean, polite, and can tie their shoes. They now tie the shoes of their own children. I am glad that I did not stress too much (most of the time) about progress I wanted to see on my time table. Sometimes they learned by suffering natural or imposed consequences, and sometimes they learned just because of having the time and space to grow and learn.
This is a painting from my "Regarding Fire" series. On day two of high heat and humidity in my area, I thought a sprinkler would be good to cool off. This sprinkler, however, is supposed to go on in the event of heat from a fire. I believe it is to minimize the damage of fire. I wonder about what internal sprinkler systems I might have to go on in the event of heat from pressure, conflict, or frustration. How can I respond? If I have the time to intentionally wait, I can pray, read and meditate, write in my journal, rest if I'm tired, and eat if I'm hungry. Sometimes there's no time for those, so I can do my best to respond with clarity and strength, dousing the heat and not adding to it.
Here's a toy fire truck I painted. The toys belong to my two-year-old grandson. He likes to play with his fire trucks and has some other fire-fighter-related toys. When he hears sirens he often goes to the window to see if he can see a fire truck. The real fire trucks we saw at the Moody Street Fire House were overwhelmingly huge. I think he and his dad got to sit in a real fire truck a little while ago, too. Size, I suppose, is relative. Sometimes I feel big and sometimes I feel very small. Both are true.
I have two exhibits in July 2019, both on the theme "Regarding Fire." One exhibit will be at the Thomas Crane Public Library, in Quincy, Massachusetts. The Library will also have a virtual exhibit and a video interview available from their website: http://thomascranelibrary.org
The other will be at the Newton Free Library, in Newton, Massachusetts. My work will be in the Main Hall and another artist, Ruth LaGue, will be in the Gallery. We will have a reception together on July 11, Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. https://newtonfreelibrary.net
These exhibits are of new work and will have some writing framed separately from the paintings. The theme will include some of the benefits, safety measures, damage, repairs, and questions regarding fire. This theme has also become metaphorical in that when we have damage-- emotionally or physically-- recovery takes time and is a multilayered process.
I was reminded that fire changes things. It can damage and destroy, but it can also refine. It is difficult to accept or embrace these kinds of changes. (I painted this from a Boston Globe photograph by Matthew J. Lee of a fire in East Boston in March 2019.)
A recent painting for my "Fire" theme is this fire house in Waltham, Massachusetts. I visited recently with my almost-two-year-old grandson. It was a little overwhelming for him being so close to the huge trucks, but we talked to a nice fire fighter who told us the old fire house would soon have renovations and an another section added with more bays for more trucks. The fire house was built in 1890, and I'm sure has served the surrounding community all these years. It seems like changes and updates to the building are due. Grateful for the work of our first responders.
I made this drawing from my imagination, before I understood much about recovering from childbirth. I thought the man got bigger around the middle, too, as maybe he was eating more as he waited for the birth of his baby. I thought the man's bigger belly would linger after the baby arrived. Now I know the woman's belly takes time to go back to normal. Now that I am a grandmother married to a grandfather, I see our bellies are not so trim. We are talking and working on getting our bellies in better shape. We are also anticipating a birth of a grandchild.
The bright green chair was sagging and sunkin in the seat. When would it have been stylish? I didn't know. It didn't look attractive or comfortable now. Maybe the next stop for this chair would be a dumpster. At one time I am sure it was attractive and maybe comfortable. We have been clearing out stuff at my church to downsize our space. Letting go of things was difficult. There were memories attached, possible usefulness left, and value as recycled material. But we had to let things go into a dumpster. Sigh (of relief and discomfort).
Whether I am sitting by the warmth of a fireplace or walking outside on an icy-freezing-frigid-cold day, these two shall pass. I can tend to get anxious at the idea that either experience could last forever or too long. I can also get anxious at the idea of having to let go. I might not appreciate either experience if I had never experienced the other. I hope all of my life's varied pleasant and painful experiences will lead me to live in the moment and have gratitude. "This too shall pass" can be a comfort during uncomfortable circumstances. But maybe any circumstance would get uncomfortable if it lasted too long. So for today, I am grateful that life changes.
Change is certain. I've been painting this house as it has been rebuilt after a serious fire. I have painted about 20 paintings of it. I like to notice and document, through my paintings, the changes. Sometimes I felt impatient when I saw no changes. Then I realized changes were happening inside the house that I could not see. My last painting had a "for sale" sign on it. I figured it was done. No more changes. Then I thought that the new owners would certainly make changes. Maybe they would make paint color changes inside, furniture, decorations, and then moving furniture around from time to time. So even if the rebuild part is complete (for now) there will still be constant and certain changes. It was reassuring and comforting to me. Sometimes I think I should be finished and arrived at some place of adulthood. But I am not finished. I continue to learn new things, have old wounds heal, gain some new ideas and attitudes. I can celebrate being unfinished.
LeTtiNg iT gO...BLoG
Linda T. Hurd. I don't feel like a real writer or artist, but I am both.