Last Week, I Fell In Love With A Painting

I open up the multiple, bolted locks and saunter into the rundown warehouse.

It’s the building that houses my studio, my new studio. I have a studio. I’m on my way to becoming a painter.

I rent from a woman who makes her own clothing; whose profession it is to teach others how to make their own clothing.  Our studio is so cool we don’t even have heat. We have a fireplace. In hopes of avoiding a fire, I use a space heater.

As it happens, there is another artist in the building.

As it happens, he puts up monthly gallery shows of various artists in the small hallway of the ground floor. 

Into his world, I walk. I pause to look at the pieces on the wall.

I laugh, smile, and ponder the different, absurd images. And then I stop. I stop and I stare and I smile if not blush.

Here is a painting that makes my heart thud.

Yes, I internally close my eyes and bliss out. Yes. This.

It’s large but simple; a man lying on a couch, an everyday relaxed pose you could imagine your brother or father doing.

But something about it, the patterns he involves, the pillows, the floor, something about the emotion he injects into the piece. It kills me. It straight up makes my brain start tinkering differently.

Within me, I feel something I have not felt from the two dimensional form in a long time: resonation.

Like the bow strings of a violin, I vibrate.  I am called upon. I am special, I am charged. I am changed.

One of the great powers of art is its ability to open up the inner, emotional walls of another. The ability for one object to inject a passerby with momentum.

For days afterwards, I fly high. I research willingly on the internet. I look up this artists’ other work. I read articles, watch videos of him speaking about his work. “That painting,” I repeat to my husband. “That painting.”

I email the artist. “Tell me about your work,” I say. “Tell me about your process.”

I start imagining where I could go from here. I start having visions of the type of work I could do, incorporating ideas from my recent inspiration.

I feel the burning inner sensation of desire; desire to create, to live, to run free and work. Work at my destiny.

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But then, from a distance far below, a small, familiar voice begins to kvetch. 

“My throat hurts,” she cries.

Warning bells go off in my head. I descend. I prepare for battle, going to sleep early.

And in the midst of my dreams,  I hear it.

That pitiful cry: “Moooommmmmmyyy.”

I stumble over and my heart falls open onto her. I feed her bright orange liquid to make her forget the pain, and we both return to an agitated slumber.

The next day involves dark rings under the eyes, weary, discombobulated, uncoordinated dialogue, and a doctor’s visit.

Strep”, he says.

I take in my other daughter, just to be cautious. A child with the flu sneezes in her face. I tense. I prepare for battle.

In the middle of the night, I hear it.

“Mooommy.”  Cough. Wheeze. Flu. 

Days pass. In the bed, out of the bed. Couch. Kitchen. Bathroom. Bed.  Tending, nurturing, praying, hoping.

Last week, I recall distantly, I fell in love with a painting.

But this week…

This week, I cradled the bodies of little creatures whose skin is my skin, whose lungs are my lungs, until we could breathe, talk, and smile again.

But last week…

Last week, I was in love.