This piece is the second in a series of posts featuring oils I painted from 2006 to 2012 that explored my interest in layered work. In this piece, I used a combination of brush and pallet knife. One of the recurring themes during this experimental period was the alternating stages of covering up and exposing color. With some paintings, I wanted to layer heavily. With others like this one I added layers for the sole purpose of deconstructing or removing them later. I wasn’t interested in blending instead I was curious to see what still remained beneath.
I created ‘Rotting’ in response to a moment in my late 30s when I realized in a profound way that aging was indeed happening to me too. It crept up on me until one day a handsome sales clerk looked right through me like I wasn’t there. I thought I had more time after my divorce. I’d been so busy I hadn’t noticed I’d slipped from maidenhood into maturity. It was a difficult realization at a moment in my life when I had hoped I might make up for lost time. I think Bonnie Raitt said it well:
I see my folks are getting on
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through
Those lines are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring back at you.
Bonnie Raitt, “Nick of Time”, 1989
This is a very personal image about loss and anger and fear. Some women I’ve talked to told me they never went through this. For those of you who have, I know you understand. I made it through that difficult transition to find new love and new life. It turns out that the spirit stays fresh even as the body ages.