art · mindfulness · rest

a pause

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As Hurricane Dorian barrels toward the Bahamas from where I descend on my father’s paternal side, I watch news updates. I send good thoughts to the Bahamas and to my friends and family in Florida and the Carolinas. They are in this storm’s path.

I also return to painting. I typically paint every August and December, or before a new semester and between the fall and spring semesters. Painting is a way to press pause.

I could literally feel my breathing change as I sat on the porch of our tiny house where some of my craft and art supplies are stored.

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Inside the tiny house, the recently departed novelist Toni Morrison holds court. Her image from a magazine sits in a frame.

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Perhaps because I am seeing the circular shape of Dorian, my paint brushes move in circles in ways that draw my attention to many things. I watch thoughts come and go, thinking of the past and future, but mostly the present. Being present is a good thing after two good weeks of teaching. I have some amazing students with whom I am learning.

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In addition to completing images in a series I began last December, I made two small pieces that have special resonance. One of them is of a cardinal.

I pay homage to the cardinal who playfully looked in and out of our home’s windows this summer when so much weighed on my mind as I dealt with a family member’s illness. I called Summer 2019 “the summer of the cardinal.” I made this painting to remember this fella. He reminded me to make time for play. I finally have a moment to do just that.

I also made a small painting of the African continent. It looks like a conch shell that also brings thoughts of Dorian and especially the Bahamas. I grew up eating conch, a shellfish that is in many Bahamian dishes.IMG_6345.JPG

As I continue to enjoy the slowness of this Labor Day weekend, and look warily at the slowness of Dorian (and enjoy the return of college football), I hope for the best. There is so much going on in this world. I must continue to hope things will get better for everyone.

(“Albert Camus once wrote that a person’s creative work is nothing but a slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three images in whose presence his or her heart first opened.” – Edwidge Danticat)

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