I used to write more than I painted; until a ridiculous number of events crashed into my world like a random meteor shower, rather than a systematic series of life experiences. The outcome left me voiceless. My words dried up completely, be they written or spoken. I became as good as mute. At times my actual throat would constrict when I would try to speak. My words used to flow in effortless patterns, without the need to search for them. Communication was easy for me.
My voice is still rusted shut, particularly when I try to speak as myself, on matters other than the utterly superficial. It is as if my vocal chords have seized up, and no amount of oiling will ever fix the problem. My typing is the same. The casual reader can have no way to know that these fingers that used to dance across the keyboard now stop and start in a disjointed series of movements, with pauses over a minute long, unless I tell you that this is so. “Stop”. “Write a few” “pause” “words”. “Pause for a minute”. “Write and backspace”. “Backspace”. “Backspace”. “Stop”. “Stare at emptiness”. “Give up”.
I am an artist as well as a writer. Surely I can paint what I cannot speak? You would expect so, wouldn’t you?
No. I cannot. I cannot even paint what I cannot say. The ability to express all that I am feeling and all that I have experienced dries faster than acrylic on a hot day when I stand there, laden brush in hand, and prepare to fling colour at canvas.
It has taken me over thirty minutes to write this much of this Blog post. I am actually forcing myself to perform this little exercise.
The art I have produced has become more prolific than any words I used to speak. The only reasons that there are not four finished canvasses already uploaded (because there are four unfinished paintings left to do) are based on unfavourable weather and the acquisition of a rescued puppy that is taking up my time.
However, all the art you see here; from “And Aastaroth Made Love” onwards has been painted while I process that meteor shower that hit my life.
Most artists have some sort of thought process running while they work, even if it is just, “Okay. It’s that bit. I really, really have to get that line right!” or “No. It is a cooler blue I need here”. At other times one thinks “Feel that fur. Really feel it. Look at the way it grows. Imagine running your fingers through it. Paint the way it feels“. And sometimes an artist will paint while thinking about nothing more than what they need to do to prepare for dinner. The artist’s mind is not always a glorious creative orgy of thought and expression, focussed on the current creation on the easel and the message the artist wishes to convey to the viewer on the work’s completion.
And so, here I am, painting birds. Wildlife. Seahorses. Anything and everything but the meteor shower that hit planet me. What were my thoughts as I painted these things?
“Sable. The colour is less burnt umber here and more sable. The betrayal. Feel that fur. Antique white. I will never speak to another person again. Trust is now in the minus figures. Permanently. The gloss on the eye. Remember the direction of the light. She. Yes, and the depth here. A line here will add the depth. Yes! He said I was. Why? My fault. Nothing to do but. Blend. Shade. Blend. Where is that beige? Ah, there it is. It is too much. Loss. Betrayal. Ugly. Old. Has-been. Death. His body was already cooling when I got there. Theft. Somewhere to lay my head. I must be. What next? No. I loathe. Feather light strokes here. Gentle. Gentle. Soft. Too hard. No. No it’s okay. Why can’t I speak? Okay. Time to let this part dry”.
And, at the end of it all, as a piece was uploaded, no viewer had any idea that I could have been thinking or processing one tiny inch of one massive meteor in a huge shower I have not even begun to conceptualise or comprehend as I painted a cute baby owl or a solitary wolf.
I have written more here today than I have done in a long time. I read it back and none of it makes much sense to anyone but me. My apologies for that.
I was hit by another meteor six weeks ago; the biggest meteor of them all so far. An unlikely ‘astronomer’ warned me about that particular rock over eighteen months ago now. I wish I had listened to him, but his prediction seemed off when he gave it. He was wrong about the ingredients but he was as accurate as it is possible to be about the nature, trajectory, and the impact of that particular object.
And so I write now and try to resurrect some semblance of who and what I am after being hit by yet another piece of ‘space junk’ . I know I am no longer what I was.
Maybe, now that I am no longer what I once was, I simply need to learn how to communicate again.
But when something hurts as much as a near-extinction level event on planet me it seems that all processes except the ones necessary to continue to survive at a basic level take precedence over the ability to express myself accurately in any medium whatsoever.
This Blog post is my first faltering attempt to find my voice again; or something near it. The only problem is, I suspect that no one wants to hear it at all.