Reflections from MoMA

When in New York City recently, I visited the Museum of Modern Art, commonly referred to as MoMA by the initiated.

I came across a Picasso, not my favourite artist, but one I deeply respect. I got caught up looking at about 2 inches – an eyelid he’d captured absolutely perfectly. Not realistically, of course (this is Picasso we’re talking about, after all), but the exact essence. Effortless, maybe three brush strokes worth. And I began to cry.

As an artist limited in my ability to make art – due to time, career, studies, childrearing, the human need to sleep – I feel so empty. The most fundamental part of me – the very essence of what makes me me – is silenced. Is repressed. Is not allowed to be expressed. There is no time. And when there is time, eeked out, scratched free from the dusty ground, displacing other essential needs – there is no energy.

My life has stolen me away from myself. From my one true self. I make do, I manage. But at what cost? What has been lost in these years where my work of art is a stomping, startling three year old boy? Yes, he’s astounding, phenomenal, an unexpected gift. And I know that there is so much of me in him, my artistic soul imprinted in every mothering gesture he’s received. And yet, I grieve. I feel so incredibly selfish admitting this. But yes, I grieve. I grieve for my art, and I grieve for me.

I made a painting today – working quickly, knowing naptime could end any moment. It is fierce, bold – an exclamation of a painting. My paintbrush grasped the canvas, and wouldn’t let go. Neither will I.


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