30+ years of paintings, talked about one painting at a time: what went into the paintings, what I was trying to say, what was happening at the time of my life that I made the paintings. The paintings themselves are narrative, and this adds a little more to the story that they tell.
I have always believed that when a person first dies, there is a small window where they can still communicate with the living world. When my father died, it was through a Southwest Airlines Boarding Pass that made me aware of his presence. It was totally my father: funny, clever, and complicated. And when my mother died earlier this week I had a similar experience. My mother loved birds, and her backyard outside of Santa Fe was constantly full of them coming and going, eating, bathing, chatting, and quarreling.* Even so, when I took our dogs for a walk that next day, I wasn't thinking about Mom's birds, just about all those complicated emotions that happen when someone you love dies. But as we walked, I noticed a small bird running on the ground in front of us, scuttling through the leaves. Something was wrong with it's wing, so it jutted out to the side as she moved away from us. I worried for her safety, but knew I couldn't do anything about it. On the way back, about an hour later, the same little bird, at the same place, began running in front of us again, and I knew it was Mom. I didn't know for sure what she was trying to tell me, just that it was her. Was she using the injured little bird to make some kind of a comment or was it just her way of getting my attention, letting me know she was still here? I felt a deep sadness, both for the little bird, and for the fact that my mother was gone. Perhaps that's what the little bird was for--to help me more clearly see and feel the loss of my mother.