Painting “Aloft”

by cindy

Occasionally, a painting will literally burst from hand to brush to canvas, without any notion or planning at all. Aloft is one of those paintings.

When I began this work, we had just learned of my mother’s cancer diagnosis. She was, at that point, an 18-year breast cancer survivor but the cancer that had then invaded her body was unrelated. Oral cancer, we were to witness later, is a particularly nasty disease. Cruel. Insidious. Brutal.

When Mom was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to some lymph nodes so we knew that we were not going to be seeing a cure. Mentally, I began to prepare for  the inevitableAloft, as it turns out, was an essential part of my preparation.

As I painted, thoughts of my mother were a constant. The loss was unimaginable. Yet it had to be faced. I remember feeling that I needed to do my mourning early in order to be ready and strong for the family when the time came for her to go.

Perhaps the painting was my way of saying goodbye. Perhaps I saw her soaring over the trees and mountains, the flowers, and the colors of the land she loved. Perhaps I was the one soaring, trying to find my way into a life without her. Perhaps I was chasing the wind in search of comfort. This I know: from my perspective, the painting is a view of life from above, a birds-eye view or an angel’s view, if you will.

As for the beads, perhaps those glimmers of light are just that: sunlight dancing upon trees. Or perhaps, just perhaps, those are the shining souls of loved ones who had gone before, loved ones waiting to greet her and escort her on her way.

I always work with music playing and frequently I settle on one piece, one song, to carry me through the core of a work. In this case, I had settled onto this piece, Beethoven’s Symphony #7, Allegretto, a work that is both mournful and triumphant. And if we believe what we are taught in our religions, death is supposed to be triumphant, is it not?