I love the internet for the fact that it's where I get much of my inspiration and get to hear about amazing musicians. Last year some time a friend recommended I check out the amazing musician, Tom Dickins. I was blown away by his beautiful voice and have been happily enjoying his music. The only thing I don't like is we have a very large ocean between us, so I am not able to support him in person. I'm hoping one day to be in his neck of the woods to see him play in person, because I know it will be even more magical then seeing him in videos.
Yesterday Tom posted a new song he'd written inspired by people's suggestions on twitter. I still can't believe something so beautiful could be written in 10 minutes. It blew me away and moved me. It made me think about my own relationships with my loved ones.
So I tweeted that it made me want to create something as beautiful. Tom, who is a total sweetheart tweeted back to go for it. So I set about painting. As I was painting I began to cry. It was a moment of real joy, but also thinking about my relationship with my partner. (Here in America husbands and wives are usually called spouses, but I hate that word. The term partner seems much more endearing and what I think my love and I are, two people who are equal who choose to be in a loving committed relationship.)
I don't often "explain" or talk about my work. I like that people see what they want to in my work or form their own stories that fits into their lives. But this painting felt so personal in a way and like a moment in my life that needed to be recognized and thought out. I started the painting after seeing the video a few times, but I hadn't read the lyrics or saw what Tom had written about what inspired the song.
When I heard it I immediately thought of a story teller telling people about how life is hard and things get rough, but you must hold on to your loved ones and weather the storms. It also made me sad as I painted thinking about people who aren't allowed to be with their loved ones. I've been with my love for 15 years. I was barely 21 when we wed and many friends and family were very upset that I was getting married. I even had a pastor who I had known most of my life refuse to marry us. It broke my heart that people I loved would not support our love and our desire to be together. Many people asked why didn't we just live together? But to me that wasn't an option. And for my darling boy he wanted to make sure that I would get medical care, which was often needed as well as he would have the right to see me in the hospital or advocate for me when I could not.
The longer I painted the more I thought about how long I have taken for granted the privilege of being married to someone who has spent their adult life making sure that I am well taken care of, treated with respect, and loved. And how many people don't have that right. It saddens me that we still live in a world where people want to have a life with loved ones and they are not allowed. Not only partners, but friends, children without parents, grandparents without grandchildren, all kinds of people that have holes in their lives where people should be. What is life without love and friendship? It's a sad day to day trudging through instead of a hopeful daily life full of little moments of joy.
The painting is called, Stormrider. The two figures are loved ones hiding under a protective blanket waiting out the rough weather and seas of life. When you're young blankets protect you from monsters in your closet and under your bed. In the painting it's the metaphorical monsters of life that are kept out and away. The blanket is a knitted blanket, because to me there is nothing more comforting then a hand knit or crocheted blanket made by a loved one as a special gift. Being a knitter I know that if I make you a blanket or any knitwear it means that you are special to me and very loved. It's my way of wrapping you in a hug that you can touch again and again.
I often get asked about the figures and faces I paint. What gender they are always comes up. In this painting I really hope that people can see a little bit of themselves despite gender. That maybe some how they will make you think about the loved ones in your life and how important they are.
Tom is in the process of crowdfunding his solo album. He would be so thankful and happy if you checked out his website and got in on the fun helping him fund his album. I can't wait to hear what he creates. I'm so inspired by him and independent artists like him. We need to continue to support and encourage artists with good feedback as well as our hard earned money. What they do is so important and they can't continue doing it if we don't show our support.
http://www.pozible.com/index.php/archive/index/5939/description/0/0 This is the link for his solo album project and he also has a great website with videos and more information about Tom's other project, The Jane Austen Argument, www.tomdickins.net