Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Gift of Hansy

dog portrait by Lori Levin
pet portrait by Lori LevinBeginnings of 8x10 oil portrait.

It’s been a long time. I’ve heard from several readers expressing their concern over my well being. I was so surprised to find out how many people I’ve never met, regularly checked into Soulful Studios. Thank you to those who reached out. I am physically well and still giving others gray hair.

Emotionally I’ve been struggling. My life has changed yet again but this time my art couldn’t carry me through it all. At first it was an outlet but then it became frightening. Humans make connections to places, scents and tastes. Sometimes this is a good thing. Think of the smell of cotton candy. Where do you go? Other times it can have devastating results. Think of the smell of a musty basement or alcohol wipes. I was truly unaware of the associations I had made with the process of making art. Holding a brush surrounded by the aroma of oils and paints kept taking me to a place I no longer wanted to visit. Feelings would bubble to the surface that I had no desire to face. A soul can only take so much and finally I was flying the white flag. I put down my brush.

The fact of the matter is that the world really doesn’t care if you are screaming surrender. Life goes on with or without you. If you look like dead meat vultures will make a meal of you. While I watched the scavengers circle I was called to duty. A pet portrait was needed. This was no ordinary portrait but a proclamation of love. Love is something that I can never resist. So, again the brush was in my hand.

Above is the beginning of Hansel. Hansy’s “mom” was going through great loss and pain. As all good dogs do, Hansy stayed by her side to soften the grief. Dog’s can be selfless that way. They will absorb the pain of those they love. If you don’t believe this, try being with someone that has a heavy heart and walk away feeling light. It is impossible. Hansy had a noble purpose beyond also being comic relief. The man that commissioned this piece knows this and wanted to honor that and his love for Hansy’s “mom”. This is irresistible to me. The painting needed to be done.

Now I’m forced to face those feelings and find new connections. I’m pleased with the progress and thankful to be saved from myself one more time. I do believe being able to paint as I do is a gift and to let my easel collect dust is probably a sin. Creativity is not supposed to sit in the shadows. It is light and must shine or it becomes just another part of the darkness. I can’t let that happen. So until the sun shines brightly again, I’ll just keep lighting candles.