As unusually warm winds blow across the political landscape, I find myself effected by some of the grit and debris and dust that is caught up in the swirl. I have an interest in politics, but to date I have not felt a particular urge to let that subject seep into the work that I do. Somehow though, in the last year, my eyes have gotten scratchy, my skin keeps getting scrubbed, and the dust of some subtle dissent keeps finding its way under the studio door and into my paint.
It occurs to me daily that I am most likely one of the least qualified people to address pressing social issues. I have never been in the military. I have never run for office. I do not have the hot heart of a dedicated protester. Global conflicts, Immigrant travel bans, environmental destruction, racial tensions, women’s rights, gender politics, and the construction of beautiful border walls are not most reliably addressed by a person like me. I don’t know much about scaling these walls at all. But with any art that I create, I try to face the canvas intellectually and passionately, with reason, with a sense of humor, with humility, with kindness and generosity towards others, and with a sense that peace and beauty are more powerful tools and exhibit more rational force than bombs, anger, frustration and violence.
As an artist, I search for insight and for wisdom. I do want to be bold. I do want to have impact -
I did participate in the Women’s March . . . Hey! - maybe all that grinding grit and dust will finally abrade my varnish and will expose some beautiful layer of color. Maybe I will just open the damn studio door, eat the grit, be coated by the dust, collect the debris, and mix it all into the paint until I see something relevant and meaningful appear.