Here’s the painting video I uploaded to YouTube today, as part of my ongoing project to upload my art to that platform. This time, the music didn’t trigger a copyright claim, so I didn’t need to make any changes to the video. The only additions are the subscribe and playlist icons at the end. Other than that, this is the same video I’ve shared with you before. But, like I’ve said many times, art changes depending on how we feel when we view it, what’s going on with our lives and in the world, and the perspective we have at that moment. Does this video feel different to you (if you’ve seen it before)? It does to me.
First of all, I have a different perspective from you because this is my son and he has grown and changed so much from the age he was in this painting. I also know that those candlesticks were my parents’, and my feelings about those have gone through several changes over the years. At the time of this painting I was in a phase in which I wanted those in regular use. It was part of my grieving process. Mom used to save the things she thought were valuable. “Save those for good” was the idea, which meant that I don’t recall her ever actually using those candlesticks that Dad had brought home from the Vietnam War. They were just perpetually “saved for good” until she died.
When I was cleaning out her room, I also found the socks I’d given her for Christmas in her drawer- brand new, never worn. I did not buy those for her to save “for good” (never!). I wanted her to enjoy the fuzzy simple luxury of warm comfortable feet. But she put the socks in a drawer. So, I thought of those socks, and the candlesticks became a symbol of never saving good things until it’s too late.
I see my face in the opening clip of this video (at the top of this blog post), and besides realizing I look much younger there (which means my face looks older), I see that my eyes are sad. I have come a long way and after a couple years of regular use, those candlesticks have only been out a few times since then. You can see one of the candlesticks in this video from my Christmas 2020 show. I think that was the last time the candlesticks were in use.
The candlesticks are now tucked away in Mom’s hutch- furniture that has glass doors for displaying dinner plates or special things. I don’t need to use them. They are a bit too fancy for our current living situation and end up in the way in our tight space. I have nothing to prove to myself or to anyone. I was fixated on certain things during the grieving process but life has a way of moving on and drawing us in. I’ve let go. It’s now fine to put the candlesticks away, but where I can still see them and use them whenever I want to, but don’t feel the need to put them in the center of our world.
I still don’t save anything “for good”. I have special things that belong to me and I don’t stash them in a drawer for someone to find when I’m gone. But there’s a balance. When I try too hard to respect the meaning in every second, I exhaust myself. It’s like whispering in a tunnel, expecting the echo of a whisper to be heard. Even if I were to yell in the tunnel, if no one is listening, my voice will still end up bouncing around and going nowhere. Sometimes I try too hard. It’s OK to care a little less, while living a little more. It is good to just “be”.