Art is dirt and grime. Art is light and magic. Art is skill. Art is emotion. Art comes from places that the artist doesn't even know exist sometimes. When I drew this woman in my sketch book, I knew she was me. Well.... not "me", but me. You know what I mean? To a certain degree, I think many of our drawings and paintings are self portraits.... even if they're a tree. But, I digress...

I drew this woman in the beginning of 2020. We were just beginning to get a whim of the coming quarantines. I was blissfully happy at the time. But she knew. She knew what was coming. Look at that face. She's beautiful. She's who I felt I once was. Young. Voluptuous. Smart. Sexy. I was dealing with a lot of perimenopause issues at the time. I think my ovaries were channeling through my pencil.  She also seemed sad. She looks troubled. She looks like she hasn't slept. Dare I say, although it was not my intention, when I looked into her eyes, I saw a woman struggling, broken. This digitally embellished image has the rain, which feels so appropriate. Easier to hide the tears. 

Months later, life would imitate art. She was my intuition on paper. It became hard to look into her eyes. Maybe she tried to warn me. Maybe I didn't want to see. I sat broken, with tears outnumbering the rain, and angry that unlike my drawing, I had spent my youth already, and had never become everything I wish I had. I had given it away at what felt like too great a cost in those dark moments. 

But there was another image. Another digitally embellished version of the same drawing... 

She is the same woman, with the same circles around her eyes. But she looks like she has survived her brokenness. She has risen from the ashes and even in the midst of the darkness, brings her own light. She is made of stardust. Her beauty is her own and not up to the interpretation or delight of others. She is a badass who will never be a victim again. But instead of it hardening her, it has softened her. She will never judge again. She will never hate again. Because the lesson she has learned is that for all of her good intentions... She didn't get it right either. If she had it all to do over again, she would make other choices. And she is damn happy she doesn't have it all to do over again, because making other choices would mean she wouldn't have all of the people she loves more than everything.

You see.... That's a f*cking hard lesson. The one where you realize Every choice had a consequence and no matter which path you chose, there was going to be joy, and there was going to be suffering. None of us gets through this life without going through some fires. Some may make better choices than others. But even those of us who "think" we did everything right, will see in hindsight that there was another way. Maybe a better way. Maybe an equal way?

But there are other lessons too. Lessons within lessons. Because someday, I may draw another image of a woman going gray, and feel sad for her. I don't want that to happen. I want to draw a self portrait of a 50 year old woman who took the chance to rise when it was given to her and made the next chapter the best chapter. I want her to have smiling eyes because she showed her children it's never too late. I want her daughters to say, "That's our mom. She did it."

That's the thing about being broken, that's where the growth happens. 


But the real reflection of this post is.... Art. It's amazing, isn't it? A foreshadowing. A friend. The only soul who really knew. And in the SAME woman, a survivor, an inspiration, a motivation. SHE.... This IMAGE gave me the strength to become a better version of the same me. Healthier. Stronger. Wiser. Much more open. Much more kind. Much more aware of her stardust and magic than any earlier version in any scrapbook on any shelf.  One was the woman I was. One was the woman I had to become. And they both were inside of me. As an artist, I don't often express the fact that I do not feel in control. I am at the whim and folly of the muse and the flow of the medium on the substrate. The Universe wants some stories told. Or revealed. Is it the universe within, or the universe without? Stardust. Magic. Awe. Wonder. Glitter. Grunge. Darkness. Light.