Sunday, November 10, 2013


"Broken" Acrylic on Wood (24x36)

Paintings…Acrylic on Wood. I’ve mentioned before that I hate acrylics…right? It’s a lot of work to get them to do what I want them to do what oils do naturally which is flow and flow and flow. ( on sentence was deliberate.) I learned a lesson with this piece. Stay small when working with acrylics. Small small small. Regardless, I’m a believer in working in other mediums. They challenge in ways you can’t anticipate. 

Anyway…this piece is an encapsulation of most of 2011 and all of 2012. The sins of my youth…the psycho nut jock, basketball player, mountain biker, cyclist, etc., etc., finally reared its head. Apparently, it takes about 25 years for the damage done to break down and I understood what so many adults told me when I was very young…that all this was going cause me pain in my 40’s. Yep. So I had a breakdown of sorts in both knees, which hastened the final breakdown in my back. Despite an adult life lived with knee and shoulder injuries and their itinerant aches and pains and arthritis, I had not known real pain until the L4-L5 nerve root was cramped to near oblivion. Yes, there was sciatica, but that was joined with numbness, loss of control in my left leg and an unstable joint that slipped and danced and ground  on the nerve. I descended to a world of immobility. Pain and immobility. 
2012 ended with spinal fusion surgery (one of five surgeries in less than 12 months) and much of 2013 has been spent getting my body functioning again. You know all the horrors people like to share about back surgery? Yeah, in my case it gave me my life back. No horror. Just joy and gratitude. I have a physical job that I can now do no problem, I am in the gym lifting weights, kayaking, cycling, walking and walking, doing yoga, cooking, basically leaving the house and socializing, and yes…PAINTING. In all of this, I feel more like myself than I have in many years. 
I’m grateful for my back injury because it gave me the benefit of perspective. In a flash, all that you know, your livelihood, the roof over your head, your very identity can be stripped away. So…I take so much more in stride. I laugh more, cry more, breath with relish in a way I did not before. Perspective is a powerful gift. I am grateful for it. 
This painting is a tribute to feeling the fire of pain of 2012. If you look closely the central core of the painting is built around the number four. There is much I like about this painting, but from a critical perspective it feels out of balance compositionally. I struggled with that problem most of the time I worked on it, and seemed never able to resolve. I wonder if it needs to be out of balance as a depiction of the experience that had me out of balance. I don’t know. I deemed it finished and took it off my easel. As I am on the eave of the one year anniversary of my back surgery, I’ve started a new piece. 
Pardon me while I go live the life I’ve regained. 

©2013 Cindy K. Shaw All Rights Reserved

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