I have experienced a lot of loss and grief in the past three years. Painting and making art has been a very therapeutic part of my healing. It started in May of 2012 with the loss of a very dear friend, Lisa, who lost her courageous battle with cancer at the age of 47. She left behind a loving husband and two sweet children. We met in our breast feeding support group when were both exhausted first time mommies. We became fast friends and enjoyed 9 beautiful years of friendship. Lisa was my best mommy friend, as a grown-up those friends are few and far between. During her treatment, we folded origami peace cranes of hope for Lisa. My family and I made chains of them for her bedside. We wished and prayed on those cranes and she was surrounded by hundreds of them when she left this earth. Friends, neighbors, and loved ones all folded cranes for Lisa. Her cranes were distributed among friends and family at her funeral. I still have mine. A few months after her passing, I lost my grandmother and another friend to cancer.
A year later, another friend, Sharon, was diagnosed with cancer the month I found out I was moving to Oregon. She and I taught at the same elementary school together. We had our kids months apart from each other. She was my neighbor and my children's Kindergarten teacher. I was with her and her husband at the hospital when the doctors told us she had cancer. I lost her this March, she was another young mother of two beautiful children, gone at the age of 39. We had 15 years of friendship together. Sharon was the only person I know who loved Rainbows as much as I do.
I made this painting the week after Sharon died. It is a tribute to Sharon and Lisa and my memories of our friendships. I call this process intuitive painting because I paint colors, symbols, and feelings as I go. I don't know how the painting is going to turn out when I start and that's the whole point. It's the process more than the final product for me but I find that when I commit to an intuitive painting and I show up from a genuine place, the final product turns out and the painting reflects my intentions. I titled it "Taking Flight" after another dear friend whose daughter is currently battling an aggressive brain tumor suggested it to me. It is intended to convey hope for the future and not just loss. I hope the viewer can see that when they look at my painting.