Day 8 11”x14”
My car was full as I pulled into downtown Healdsburg. I brought all my favorites. The impressionist women gleaning wheat in the field. The old house from D street in Petaluma floating over golden hills. The house drifting across the sky, out to sea over huge crashing waves. The old oak tree ravaged by waves slowly crawling into the sea. Heart aflutter, head held high, I walked into the gallery praying no one would see through my facade and know I had no representation and I worked out of our tiny, dark apartment. After all, if they knew I had no studio, I painted at night and I cleaned houses during the day, why would they want to represent me? It’s hard to remember all the details of our interchange now, I see it all in quick flashes, watching myself from above as if I have completely removed myself from the scene. The Gallery owner must have told me they were willing to look at my work because I can see myself lining my paintings up along the walls, I can hear the blood rushing through my ears. “You seem to have many styles.” I hear a voice say. “I do. I paint what I feel, and I never know what that is going to be and when it is going to change.” I respond, knowing it’s not the right answer, but unable to control myself. “Hm, well thanks for showing us your work, but we like to see an artist settle into a specific style before we decide to represent them.“ This was the third stop of the day, I knew the words before I heard them. I wasn’t going to fit in anywhere. I remember I went home that day feeling like a challenge had been placed before me. It was as if they were all telling me I couldn’t do it. For years after I remember the internal battles trying to stop my imagination from running wild every time a series or style changed, and every time, I got exhausted and gave in, thinking this is it, this is the last time, I will stick with this style only. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but I gave up on their challenge. Part of me feels like it was last January when I did this exercise of an abstract a day, and part of me feels like it’s been a gradual process of admitting to myself that I have so much to say. And this is how I say it.