Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I've been asked often why I put birds in all of my paintings. Although I've discussed it often, I want to make it clear to all of those who support my work that there is purpose behind what I am doing.

When I was growing up as a child in Jamaica, we made a sport out of knocking birds out of the sky, or a tree with slingshots. I swear I was a boy back then, but as it turns out, I've always been a girl! :0) We did all kinds of things with birds, even ate them...so gross in retrospect. Maybe that's why I'm a vegetarian now. It wasn't until I started getting into my teenage years that I began to appreciate their true beauty, grace and freedom. I would watch them fly away and always wondered where they were going and if they got there.

In 2000, I started dialysis. Dialysis is for people who have End Stage Renal Disease. You have to go to a clinic or a hospital three times a week and sit in a chair for three to four hours while a machine pulls your blood out of you(via 7 gauge needles) cleans it, and then pumps it back it. Essentially it does what the kidney can no longer do, but it can never fully replace a kidney. There are a myriad of side effects, and then there is the feeling of being trapped...on a machine.

I was blessed by God. I didn't spend a lot of time on the machine (just under a year), but those were some of the most difficult times of my life. I encountered many personality types at the dialysis center. Some souls had given up, there was no joy left in their eyes, no hope, while others had become completely numb. One gentleman there had been on dialysis for nearly 20 years. His skin had gotten so tough that he injected himself with the 7 gauge needles. I always cringed. He said he never wanted a transplant because he felt that was what God wanted. I always told him that God wanted me to be free so that I could create.

When I was there, I always brought my sketchbook and my headphones. The sketchbook kept me busy, and kept my mind occupied, and the reggae music drowned out the screams that punctured the air. Pain from frequent leg cramps and a myriad of other things caused people to suffer, and I did my best to escape, despite.

Those were the days that I decided that I was going to be a true artist. The 'counselor' would always come around to talk to us. She would always ask me why I drew. I kept telling her of my goals, and even though I didn't have much then; I whipped out a business card that I printed on my computer. "Check out my website", I would say, I had created a generic one for free. I had to remain optimistic in the face of death, so when I received that blessed gift from my brother, that second chance, I decided that I wanted to fly.

I paint them because they are a true and personal representation of how I feel now. I feel limitless, not bounded by illness or fear. After I received my transplant, I started off running, and now I'm flying. Soon I will be able to soar.

         image courtesy of GOOGLE

Posted by Posted by :::Renaissance Woman::: at 5:26 PM



Chloe said...

You have a beautiful story that demonstrates that you have been truly blessed by God. In looking at many of your paintings, I wondered about the inclusion of so many birds. I love the interactions that the birds have with humans in your works as if whispering to them that they too can be free and live without limitations! Do you have a favorite bird? May God continue to bless you in all that you do!