i write of pink, because. because i bought two rather large (for me) canvases that i’d hoped i could work on forever, or at least longer than 10 minutes. the problem was, i also bought a brush, a larger brush.
because i saw it as an investment in time, i thought, ahead, of what i would paint. not the subject, per se, because….subject? but color. limited palette. i’d gotten a specifically requested rose madder as a gift (yes, i know; who is madder than rose), and i thought, it would be my keynote color: the rose, abetted by tit white (as my art teacher would call it), and, rather than the door-stop of black, i’d add ombre through sienna, and a few shades complementary to my rose. in my mind, i saw it.
i’ve never been good with limited palettes—always reaching out for more—and it was strange how limiting this felt (rose begs for blue!), but i persevered; it was like a physical urge that i chose to ignore.
now, we come to the hard part (for me) of this tale: i had rather innocuously chosen rose, well, okay, pink. but it was international women’s day, and though i’m cynical of how pink has been commercially usurped by a questionable breast cancer campaign, there is still pink, deep in me, and it all arose as i worked, in a frankly painful way.
have you read … cannot recall the name … so and so’s mother? it is the fictional (i think) tale of the mother of an artist during the impressionist period in france, a tale of the degradation this woman had to go through (model/prostitute…the line was so thin) to obtain precious art materials to create, in oblivion; her son became the famous artist. yes, it’s a whine (on my part, not the book). i recall a fellow ‘artist’ in the ’70s, when i was studying art in toronto, telling me a watercolor i’d slaved over had no ‘center’; too ‘womanish,’ or some such nonsense.
as i continued to paint in pink, that called deeply for blue, a call i avoided, so many layers of feeling / association came up: how vulnerable (vulnerable / vulva) pink is; how deep in the flesh, the inner layers, where we are, indeed, all the same). i wanted to hide the “pinkness” the “flesh,” to protect it, just as some women felt the invasiveness of the landing, the male landing, on the moon. so, my pink, to me, became all things feminine, and it became apparent to me that this cannot stand; this division: we are not women or men as a species, but an interconnectedness, within. it would be a glory to be a total female, but who is?
i remember a walk at a sufi camp (where walks of different attributes are explored) where i embodied the absolute feminine. ah, it was such an ease and rest. i saw it demo-ed a few years back when, for a brief time a rooster and a hen would occasionally wander onto the property where i lived. the rooster, a little bit scary; you could tell he’d take you on if he wanted to and felt you’d given him reason. he was the outlook guy.
the chicken lady, now she was interesting. she could care less; she knew, at some level, the big guy was there to totally protect her, and under his aegis, she roamed contentedly, in innocence and ease. but, in real life, who can be just rooster or chicken?
we are called upon to be both. there is no big outer male protecting my way in the world, like a sweeper in the curling game; no, i must hold this post, and i do so reasonably admirably (in my own mind) and of necessity, thus, my life, more complex. so, in real life, no one can be only one or the other; that is what jung and all those other smart guys say, and i concur; we hold the dynamics of the archetypes within, including the male and female, of course. and, truly, who would want to be solely one or the other? (well, except for some repubs in denial).
but, yes, to dive deep into the female archetype, and, eventually, arrive at the goddess, leads through some vulnerable, painful places: all the obvious #me,too stuff; all the ways being female lands us in second-class citizen stuff based on men who use their power, literally and figuratively, in such unenlightened ways. it has been eye-opening, and painful; which is why i love art, creativity, in all its forms, for the Light it brings. if i could not paint, i’d sing or dance or do all three, and write. i wish us all this ease of creativity.
and, a side note: my art has never been easy or obvious for me, and yet, it has never left me, and my life is richer, far far richer, for it. i wish you all the desire and means to explore your creative nature, whatever its form, from a delicious meal to a sublime oeuvre of any fantastical kind. blessings, and peace out.