There have been periods of time in my life when I will look in the mirror and not recognize the eyes staring back at me. It’s a strange experience. These are times when the inside of me has grown and there begins to be something different reflected on the outside and I wonder who I am? Today as I paint, I feel different. The brush feels different, the viscosity of the paint feels different. I feel like I have grown in spirit and technique. Taking a break from Santa Muerte was good. I had been feeling bad that I hadn’t achieved my personal goal of finishing her earlier. But I understand now that I hadn’t been ready. She wasn’t ready. Collectively I feel the endings coming fast and furiously. Santa Muerte is speaking loudly now. This painting will be different, it might not look it but I am different now and it’s time I begin to reflect that.
My Erzulie is changing quite a bit. She’s a strong one. I’m finding it difficult to be in her energy. There is a sadness. There is a strong maternalistic side existing with an amazing independence. A fierceness and determination cuts through the sadness and creates propulsion.
I think of her single-minded purpose to free and to feed her people. Her drive to do what is right regardless of outcome.One of the outcomes being that her people turn against her, mistrust her and cut out her tongue. She has a great power that must have made others very wary. It was ok as long as it worked in their favor but what if it was turned against them? What would happen to them if they were discovered to be not as true or as honest as She? Her strength and courage must have made them feel inferior.
Regardless of their fears and insecurities, regardless of their choices, She did what she knew she must. As a mother would do for her children.
But the sadness of knowing you are doing everything you can, doing everything right and somehow it still isn’t enough can be thick and weighty. I am in that heaviness as I work on her portrait.
In my painting She will no longer be turned away from the viewer, but facing forward, facing fears, tired and determined. The baby too, will be seen. It’s important to see the children, to see for whom it is we fight. The background has gone from pastoral to a ruined city. The lighting has changed too.
There is a revolution coming and some say She started it. I say She will finish it.