Monday, January 14, 2008

The Guardian

I am in the middle of exam week at school with my students and at the end of the semester, so things have been really busy lately. I would love to make posts more frequently, but I just haven't have the time lately. I have a number of topics I would like to address, but in the meantime, I thought that now wouldn't be a bad time to post this painting of mine that has not yet made an appearance.

This piece was painted in 1996, shortly after a near-fatal car accident that I was in. When I say near-fatal, what I mean is that I thought for sure that I was going to be killed. Fortunately, other than a good concussion and some sizable bruises, I was not seriously injured. Briefly, here is what happened:

I was on the expressway in afternoon rush hour traffic, and as I approached my off-ramp, traffic leading up to the ramp was backed up and had come to a standstill. I slowed and got in the line of cars. I saw a car coming up behind me, really fast, and it hit me in the rear, the driver having hit the brakes only at the last second. CRASH!!! My thought was to hang on and try to keep control of the car. Fat chance of that. As soon as my head stopped banging around, I realized that my car had spun around 180 degrees, and a split second later I was hit almost directly head-on by a big black Ford 150 pickup truck. I was driving a Saturn, low to the ground. The truck loomed above me, and BANG!!! I was certain that it was the end. Well, obviously not-- my car was spun in the other direction and slammed into the concrete wall on the median side. After I stopped seeing stars, I realized that I was still alive. The front of my car was smashed almost up to the windshield. I was afraid to look down at my legs. Incredibly, I was unharmed, and was able to step out of the car. About six or seven cars were involved in the collision, but fortunately nobody was seriously hurt.

On hearing of the accident and my narrow escape, a number of my friends said, "You were saved by an angel." I was skeptical, but hey-- you never know. What all of this did to me mentally and emotionally was pretty deep and fairly personal, so I do not think that I will go into detail about it. After all, this is an art blog! Suffice it to say that I was very uneasy driving on the expressway for about six months.

A few weeks after the accident, this painting just came out of me. I was doing commercial illustration at the time, and just about all of my art was very carefully planned out; I rarely just let things happen on their own. But in this case, I just felt compelled to start painting one day. I had nothing in mind whatsoever, but this painting just appeared, almost on its own. I'm not suggesting that anything mystical was going on; more likely just my own mental/emotional trauma, but again, who knows.

I think of the figure in this painting as the guardian angel of artists, hence the title. Don't ask me why there is no paint on the palette-- I don't know. It just seemed right for some reason. The painting is acrylic on canvas board, 24" x 30".

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