Only yesterday did I make myself actually draw something since August. I chose a photo that my late husband took while we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together five years ago. I made a grid, and just using a number two pencil, I am drawing as close to the photo as possible. I also took the drawing, "Fall of Fundamentalism" and covered it over with gesso and texturing to begin a new work. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, other than just let the painting process guide me. The drawing is tight and very focused in comparison. The two pieces could not be further apart in approaches. A physical allegory to my widowhood.
It will be his five month death anniversary on the 15th of January. No one tells you how awful grief is. It changes your life like an earthquake leveling your home, and now you sift through the rubble to pick out those things of your life before that are still useful and precious to you. The wind howls, the cold bites your skin, and the feelings of vulnerablity never leave. The days repeat over and over, as you keep finding more things in the ruins of your home. Even that is not a good analogy, but it is all I can think of for now.
Still, life pushes you on, and you can't spend all your time looking for all that you need to look for. There are jobs to do, people to deal with, and I am no different. My job is caregiving for my father with dementia. It only adds more aftershocks to the already ruined landscape of my life. Yesterday, I finally had to stop looking through my rubble to accomplish my drawing and primed substrate.
All my adult life, my artmaking process was done because of the memory of a young man drawing wonderful cartoons in my art class in high school. For about a year and a half we dated and admired each others artistic abilities. I always thought he had much more talent than I did. Back in the day, he always was encouraging me to do artwork. Through the next 38 years, I did just that, artwork of any kind, in respect of the relationship we had as first loves to each other. When he found me five and a half years ago, I was finishing up my teaching certification as an Art Teacher k-12 for myself after raising six children. He was so impressed with that accomplishment in my life. All he wanted me to do was make art, once we reunited. Though never enough due to the responsibilities of having to work to pay the bills, I tried to continue to make some artwork when possible. I always did it for him.
Now that he is gone I feel my reason for doing artwork is gone as well. The joy is just not there. The support he gave me is gone. It feels so pointless now. But, everything I do feels pointless nowadays. Grieving someone so dear and close to me and caregiving my father who is more and more childlike everyday, is a leathal mix leading only to depression and hopelessness. I consider it a miracle to be able to do just what I did these past two days.
A drawing by Jene-Paul Lemieux 2011