Summer Soltice Blues

Today we had the maximum amount of sunlight in a 24 hour period. It also marks the beginning of summer. I celebrated it today by having lunch with two friends on the Rondout Creek, which runs into the Hudson River. It was a crystalline afternoon as the temperature and humidity were perfect.

Yet in my celebration sadness crept in, its tendrils deeply wrapping around my heart. The light will become less and less each day. Already I felt the emptiness from friends and family moving on.

As I drove over the Hudson the sun was slowly lowering itself for sleep over the Catskills, cloaking the sky in hues of pink and blue. The tribal beat of Dead Can Dance was lightly drumming. I struggled to feel grounded.

I went to see the Alice Neel movie at Upstate. I had received an e-mail from a an artist who had shown a fabulous fresco in my Erotica show in my gallery Her son was one of the cinematographers in the film. I am always up for a glimpse into the art souls of others, and it is was even more interesting that it was a woman.

It was a moving documentary about a woman who gave up everything for her art. What so many today value as necessities did not exist in this woman's life. She sacrificed a child, and at times the safety and well being of her remaining children for her passion.

She lived in difficult times. Woman were just earning the right to vote, the depression hit. It was many years before she received recognition in the art world for her painting.

It was a moving and sometimes brutally honest story. Her sons talked about the pain and uncertainty of living in the Bohemian world. There was anger yet forgiveness.
But most of all there was great love and respect for a woman who captured the very soul of the people whom she painted.

I think sometimes that I am an intense person and I live an intense life, but after this movie I realized how relative that is and how safe a life I lead. I don't really give up that much for my art. I have a nice house, I eat well, sip on my spirits, and have a steady income from teaching. My art is fluff.

Sometimes I think - if I only had the guts to leave it all and just paint.

Inspired, enlightened, encouraged and empowered, I left the movie in deep thought. I was silent the ride home. One of the last lines of the movie was Alice talking about how you could do anything if you set your mind to it.

Anything.

In praise of Alice. Patti

Comments

Judy V. said…
Patti,
I will look for that Alice Neel movie. Here's to guts.
Happy Soltice Sister
Judy V

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