Abstracts, Semi-Abstracts, Watercolours, Acrylics, Mixed-Media.White Rock, British Columbia, Canada ✩ Soothe your soul! *All content © 2006/07/08/09/10/11/12/13/14/15

Friday, January 11, 2008

The secret behind the painting

"The Chapel",
renamed "Refuge" on Oct. 22, 2007
= Original photo of RC boarding school,
with Mother Superior and all, circa 1956

the warm sunny afternoon

out on the balcony, last year, 2006
Version 3

Version 2 - quick 2x3" sketch
Version 3
Looking at the works now - a year later - with the exception of the "quick sketch", the other two versions do reflect to some extent the "need for perfection" and "uptightness" implicit in the expected conduct of a Catholic boarding school of the time.

I loved the swimming pool, almost as much as I loved this chapel yet, I have no interest in painting it... it gave me pleasure but it hardly gave me any comfort and refuge.

It is possible that the peace I find these days in "places of worship" (any place of worship, including deep in nature!) comes from those times, those deeply held convictions of safety - the comfortable isolation felt in the silence and alone-ness of the experience in an sacred (empty) building/space.

This chapel was a literal refuge for me, for I could hide in it - choosing the second floor (right above the front door), or choir mezzanine, to escape all the living demons on the grounds!

I was absolutely safe there.

God was taking care of me - or so much I believed, as my only solace was to find a protecting, loving figure even if "ethereal"... I did become a very spiritual child while residing in the institution.

There was a grotto with the Stella Maris virgin behind the chapel, I used to escape there too, with the two resident German Sheppard's - my only living, breathing friends in the "entire world"! I have no desire to paint this one either.

The "Maria Ward Institute" - a bilingual (Spanish/Hungarian) boarding school - had "formal grounds" although, it was originally a Spanish Colonial ranch we had wonderful statues stategically placed about. I don't remember ever running around on the grounds, except on Easter Sundays when we had phenomenal eggs hunts ... :)

A lot of what transpired there came to shape to an astounding degree the person I am today - it is mind boggling how a series of events, situations in childhood can still play an active role in my daily life even today - absolutely mind boggling, but true!

I like the way this building feels/looks; there is something "orderly" about it, trustworthy, despite the neatly (sharply ?) trimmed angular hedges - in clear contrast with the warm ocre colour of the structure and the graciously curved dor and bell cupola convey.