White Lace Dress
22 X 30
the story of this painting
The Master's mind
is like space.
People don't understand
They look to her
She treats them
like her own children.
Tao Te Ching(1)
Story of this Painting
Sitting down before
this painting veiled in mystery even to me the painter, my eye fell
upon a photograph David handed me this morning that I had casually
placed on my art table to take in later. There I was draped in white
and creme lace in a threesome of casual conversation, the fear of
my own death shattering my face. It wasn't the first time I'd seen
death clothed as such, but at that time she appeared winged and her
face revealed only as light. Unable to even approach painting, this
vision of Spotted Fawn, Rolling Thunder's wife in her death garment,
I chose to build her from a mannequin, an unending 3 year process.
Yet as I re-enter this painting there is an intimate understanding
that here too death sits and reigns terrible in glory, life sustained
by a thread.
the symbols with which I chose to attempt this healing image for my
sister. She had found a lump in her breast and after my experience
with my late husband's cancer, tumors went hand in hand with death.
This shook me to my foundation and painting again became my avenue
for expressing my concern for her and dealing with my own fears.
me to my childhood home . . . My mother Eloise stands at the door
to her bedroom, summoning me to join her. The room is comfortable
and familiar, warm light streaming in through thinly curtained windows.
My sister Lyn is already there serenely waiting and watching. Lifting
the lid of her wedding chest, a well of unceasingly interesting treasures
that captivated me as a child, mother pulls out two lace bedspreads.
One is white and the other cream. With great aplomb I inform her that
they shouldn't be used together, only white with white or creme with
creme. She turns to give them to me as a gift, but in response to
my remarks she only gives me one rather than both of them. In embarrassment
I wished I'd kept my mouth shut, for it would have been wonderful
to receive both, each so unique and exquisitely worked. She lays the
creme lace cloth out on the bed and pulls off her own blanket. Quietly
folding it, she turns and gently with much love offers it to my sister,
saying she won't be needing it anymore. Tears stream down my cheeks
as I realize this must mean my mother is dying, for who would offer
such a gift if this were not the case. In closely observing Lyn's
blanket I see that it is much more beautiful than I'd acknowledged
in the past, not only practical, serving to keep her warm but the
colors of the sunset, lavender to orange, like a beautifully woven
Indian blanket. My gift was also beautiful, but the narrowness of
my understanding had not let it enter the realm of the practical.
Two lace blankets would have kept me warm and allowed me to be more
creative, not relying so much on preconceived notions of what constituted
Sadly I realized
she must love Lyn more than myself for her openness and acceptance
and I could understand why . . ..
The dark Lady
is rigid, She is made of stone and sits overlooking her vast realm
atop a ridge of mountains. Rolling green hills and ocean sunsets perform
for her approval, but she sits there sternly, never moving, waiting
for the night's heavy veil. Only then can you approach Her for a boon;
on trembling knees like quaking-aspen, eyes open like a wild-deer,
seeking knowledge, requesting an age old map. Mouthing words that
fall and break like crystal ice on polished rock, you wait and listen,
ears stretching into long elfin points. Deadening silence resounds
through your chest and terror tremors chasms in your throat. Nonsense
chatters on lips pale and dry. Slowly, slowly your death opens her
eyes. Swooning you fall into her arms and she cradles you her most
Presuming to know
is a disease.
First you realize
that you are sick;
then you can move
The Master is
her own physician.
She has healed
herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly
Tao Te Ching(2)
Mitchell, Tao Te Ching, p.49