I called my friend Harriet once, around the time FirstBorn was thirteen. Maybe fourteen. Whatever…he was feeling his soon-to-be manly oats and was a total, absolute pain in the ass.
I wanted to kill him.
Oh, indeed I did. But first I needed to find out if a jury of my peers, i.e, mothers of teens, would put me away for life or give me a high five and send me to a spa. Prison was out, horizontal stripes make my ass look fat. But a spa? I could handle that.
So I called Harriet and asked if it was against the law if I did away with my son. Figured her kid, a few years older than mine, was still alive. I wanted to know if it was by choice or grand design.
She told me it was perfectly alright to kill him, as long as I ATE him. She said it with conviction, without any hesitation, so I knew it must be true.
But there wasn’t enough Maalox in the world to pull that one off.
I’m kind of glad I stuck it out with FirstBorn. He turned out okay. Pretty good, actually. And now when he calls and tells me what’s going on with Princess GrandDaughter, I find myself laughing and wheezing and enjoying myself immensely.
Because grandchildren are the best payback.
And now that we’ve established that, I’m going to put on my Arty Life hat and tell you to gather ’round. Because I don’t want to shout, not on the interwebs, not where everyone can hear me. Because they might not understand when I say artists must kill their children.
No no no…don’t jump to any conclusions and call me as your defense witness. The children I’m talking about the ones that bleed paint. Or clay. The ones you’ve put your heart and soul in and then one day you look at them and think you suck. Or maybe just I can do better than this.
The number one lesson I teach my students is nothing you do is precious. You need to be free to experiment and push beyond your comfort zone in order to find your creative boundaries. And once you find them you need to push past them too.
It’s incredibly liberating to create without attachment to the outcome.
This was an assignment from Judy Wise and Stephanie Lee’s Plaster Workshop. I carved a portrait of a young girl into a plaster covered board and then painted it. There was nothing wrong with it, I’m sure someone would’ve bought it some day. But to me it was an assignment. I didn’t feel my artist voice. So after letting her hang around the studio for a couple of months, I whipped out some joint compound and had my way with her.
Looks like buttercream icing, doesn’t it? But it’s not, I assure you it was death-in-a-can for the poor dear. But her passing gave rise to this…
One of my all time favorite pieces. Something from the sweet creative spot.
The title? Portrait of a Young Girl, Revisited. Of course.