(Above painting: “My Life Without You…Inside a Fairy Tale”)
I wish I had a time machine. I’d go back to the 1970’s and do major renovations. Yet, some of my experiences inspired early novels and novellas. Recently, my paintings reflect those days.
The early 80’s were where I found my heart. I wouldn’t change a thing. Within a college art studio, I discovered myself through painting. In history, literature, drama and music classes, I realized that I had a brain, despite what I’d been told early in life.
Later, for a while–1987 through around 1995–everything became a circus, and days and nights were a blur of vivid characters, larger than life people and moments. Photography and magazine interviews, conducted on a tiny tape-recorder, defined my life further. That too passed, and then came the late 1990’s, when I wrote fiction and poetry. But, the one constant through all of my life is visual art.
I recall nights I spent drawing childlike figures on the back of old photographs, waiting for my grandmother’s nod. She smiled slyly when I carved faces into an Italian library table that my family had brought here on a ship from Italy. My mother didn’t scold me when she had to refinish it with sandpaper and varnish. She bought me watercolors and was in awe at the horse I painted for her in third grade. She said to my Dad, “Hey, she’s pretty good, you know she is.”
Today, I continue to paint. I tell stories on canvas. My art is dark, often not pretty, but I say things with it.
I have a lot to say. Besides the heartaches of youth, I had a brush with cancer twelve years ago. I survived. Recently, I thought I was heading down the same path. A health scare emerged. I was terrified until a procedure proved that there is no cancer…that I have time. What to do with that time? After that experience, I spent a month shopping in thrift stores and malls. My closets got so full that I had to invest in some storage units. But, hey, I got some cool stuff.
Needless to say, the shopping was a diversion, time taken to think about what I wanted to do.
Friends who’ve read my novels tell me to write. “You write so well.” “It would be a waste if you didn’t.” To be honest, I hate writing novels. Sure, I’ve written a few, but as I get older, the writing, rewriting, proofing…and doing it again until all is as perfect as possible, it drains me.
My fiction has been compared to taking a trip on acid, or fever dreams…mostly horror–and my audience is small. However, I’ll still write. I’m writing this, aren’t I? Novels, not so much.
Then, there’s painting…painting is laborious. I lay a canvas on the floor and work. I’ve always worked like that…since forever. Now, with age, my legs and back ache after hours spent on a project. But I don’t mind.
I don’t mind because I have lots to say. And whatever time there is left, until I’m too old to work as I do now…that’s what I’m going to do. You can’t serve two masters…you have to do what touches your soul. So, here I am, and I’m going to tell you stories on canvas.
I’ve shared some of my recent work here. Inspired by symbolism and experiences from long ago, forged with wisdom I’ve acquired over the years.
April 16, 2019
These things–they’ve kept me safe since 1978