|Birches (M.A. Reilly, 2016)|
It has been so long since I have made any kind of art and I want to begin again and decided last week to keep an hour or so on Sunday mornings as a time for art experimentation. This morning, the birch trees in front of my home were the inspiration and I decided to use gouache paint after I found a piece of watercolor paper and a few tubes of paint and some terrible brushes. I like constraints when I paint as they are oddly freeing although the brushes were truly terrible. Cheap brushes aren't worth the effort. Nonetheless, it felt good to see a scene emerge on the page.
A friend told me the way I would work through Rob's death was by making things. Most painting is more about what is not there than what gets produced. John Berger in The Shape of a Pocket wrote, "What any true painting touches is an absence -- an absence of which without the painting, we might be unaware." I thought about absence a lot after I finished painting and set the work aside. This is the first spring without Rob. Even the birches have budded, leafed and Rob is not here to see this. The pulse of life goes on even though he does not.
All around me this sad truth is proclaimed.