Here is a painting titled “the dance of the passion of the parts” that I made on 8/9/78 after waking up and remembering this image from my dreams. I was depressed at the time and thought that by painting the image, I might gain insight into what was bothering me. I sat on the front porch and with a tiny brush from a watercolor paint set with at least fifty colors that my father had mailed me, I painstakingly covered every millimeter of the paper.
Red is pain, blood, anger. Black is depression, no end to night, dismal times. No figure has feet. No figure has a face. These “dancers” represent parts of me that were striving for expression and integration. Shortly after finishing this painting, I biked over to the Women’s Center, hoping to find someone to help me. Turns out, the woman in charge that day became my therapist for the next four years. Her name was Lee, which means the sheltered side, away from the wind.
One memory stands out for me now. While I was painting the background black, one of my roommates commented, “Why don’t you use a bigger brush?” I considered her suggestion. Certainly, the painting would get done a whole lot faster. Truth was that I didn’t own a bigger brush. Even if I had, there was something satisfying about making all those tiny strokes. The rhythm of the movements soothed me. Each tiny stroke was made with hope. I liked slowly filling in blank space, one small area at a time. Sometimes, tiny strokes are all one can manage and, in the end, are exactly what is needed.