Follow the Yellow Brick Road


I am an explorer.


I take pleasure in many modes of travel, including music, writing, painting, dancing…  Each avenue offers a unique opportunity for expression.


What I particularly love about painting—perhaps because it’s non-verbal—is that it’s easier for me to get beyond intellect and resist all temptation to plan ahead. I just let instinct follow emotions’ lead. Don’t worry where you’ll wind up, just go. You’ll see when you get there. Trust.


Mindfulness tags along, but she is light on her feet—the perfect dance partner for the unconscious. They are complicit in their naked improvisations, making up the rules as they go. It’s back and forth, skip, twirl, dip, repeat in whichever order you like, and follow that yellow brick road…


On the rare occasions that intellect tries to barge in, the unconscious reasserts itself: coffee gets spilled; the wind upsets a dirty paintbrush carelessly left teetering on the edge of the page; India ink splatters in my rush to open the container… Happy accidents call me back to the unknown, and I can see once again with a child’s eyes. Everything is new and unpredictable.


I delight in dipping my fingers into cool creamy pots of acrylics, and sometimes I enjoy cutting up cardboard, magazines, bubble wrap, the netting that oranges are sold in—anything that feels interesting—and gluing texture to my canvas. I like that the word relief in French is spelled the same as the English “relief.”


My paintings may not always be pretty, but I can guarantee you that they are honest—which may be why they come to me as such sweet relief. It feels good to tell the truth, especially when truth only reveals itself as you are telling it.


This painting, I made several years ago, right after I got home from the movie theatre. I had just seen Denys Arcand’s Les Invasions Barbares. The film offers many poignant scenes in which the protagonist, Rémy, a terminally ill patient, spends his dying days surrounded by family, past lovers, and friends.


In my own life, it was my hopes for lasting romance that were dying.  Summer was slipping into fall, and my lover had just moved to the other side of the country. It was clearly over, but I wanted one last dance before the burial.


As the sun leaked into dusk, I picked up my paintbrushes and let them cry all over the canvas in a liberating, funereal dance.

On that autumn afternoon, many years ago, this was my truth:


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