Robert Dillard 1928- 2011
In this painting I created back in 2004, I had just returned back to Maryland after living in Ohio. I was born in Ohio but My heart was birthed in the world. This last month I relocated back to Maryland from Colorado. It was a gruesome 5 day drive. We gave away most of our major furniture, but we kept our books, beds, and art supplies. The essentials. It was a hard week. My father passed away the Friday night we arrived. My father was my hero. My mother was my shero. With all the new transitions and the major losses this last months I had to sit down and reflect on where do I go from here. Similar to the painting I created above I feel a sense of open skies next to major landmarks in my life..my Mom and Dad. For anyone who has parents who have passed away the feeling of just not knowing what to do with one’s self is very real right now….
I unpack my studio supplies last week. I set up my drafting table. I sat down after many days of crying and tried to gather enough strength to at least think about art. Art, music, and writing have been my survival tools for life since I was a child. In creating art I find a voice to deal with the world. It gives me a creative license to explore joy, pains, grief, love, and hope. This is major time in my life with two parents who have journey on. I have a need to just create from my spirit, soul, and body. The painting above came to mind.
Next to the tree by the house is a man sitting in a vase field contemplating life. When I create the painting in my mind he was a slave that had just gained freedom. Freedom is a strange thing with. With freedom there is responsibilities. With freedom there are regrets and hardships. Leaving Colorado to explore the art world on a bigger level has given me freedom. Having two parent that encourage me helped me be free inside. When those around you pass on it really hard to find a meaning to life and live. I struggled for the last week trying to grasp what they taught me and how to keep living with hope inside. It is only in my faith that been able to hold on this past week. In this painting, the blues skies dominate the horizon. The possibilities of what can be in life gives me hope to carry on. Art takes imagination and so does living with losses….
If you don’t have a dream or a sense of who and what you are…. you can become hopeless. Through the tears this last week and the last few years I have had to find hope. I let God turn my garment of sorrow into a garment of praise. When My mother passed away in 2008 I struggled for month to get pass it. It will always be with me inside but I had to think about life in terms of how to move on. From her going home she gave me life. I published 9 books with my husband after her passing. I created several series of art that are still slowly selling today. My mother and father were hard-working people. They raised 8 awesome kids putting them through college and more. My dad always told me as a child to reach for the universe and if you can have that… grab on to a star! I am grabbing for stars!
Inside myself I am still hurting but looking for the star to grasp as they shoot pass it to heaven. This painting of contemplating life reflect in a deep way the need to sit down sometimes and really meditate on what just happen and had to proceed after great despair. My dad was an amazing man. I sent him a large harmonica this last year for him to learn to play it. He taught me how to releases my soul play the” Boogie-Woogie “ melodies on the piano. I started playing piano when I was about 6 years old. I have played for Jazz bands, marching bands, solo, and small bands since then. I was able to pick up several other instruments and master them with his encouragement. This last two years I produces and self published my first CD, I am working on another. My dad encouraged greatness. In his seventies he still took classical piano lesson at Capital University in Ohio. He never stopped learning in life.
From a man that was born in 1928, tapped dancing on the streets on West Virginia, worked in the coal mines briefly at 12, and raising 8 children putting them through school…. is heroic. As I reflect on my art , writing, and music and see that even sill there is more to accomplish when I compare my life to his. There is more to do.
This week I sat in my studio and I looked at this painting. I can’t even recall who brought it. All I can recall is the feeling that provoked me the day I created it. In 2004 when we relocated to Maryland that time we were homeless for about 2 months. When we moved to our new homes it had a sun room I used as a studio. It was a new beginning and a time to reflect on what I had just been through as an artist, mother, wife, and daughter.
I created volumes of art from that tragic short experience. The following year I met Rosa Park. She was going to purchase a painting I create in my new studio from that experience called the “ Sit In”. From everything I go through I try to connect my experience, trials, tribulations, and struggles. I have so much deeper to go to release those experiences. I can look down from the bridge and see rivers that are wide and deep that flows in me. From the bridge in spirit my parent are on higher bridge looking down and seeing me stare into the deep. They knew I’d be okay. They gave me all they had. And I tried to receive it all. I will miss them both greatly and will tell their story, our story in my art, music a writing. There will be day when there will be no more goodbyes.
So now I am in my new studio with a wealth of emotions, good and bad! I sat down and began to write in my journal new goals, new dreams, new ideas, new sculpture, music, painting and décor products. It was like fresh rain. I am still working through things but I have defined my plan of attack to express and create historical art, whimsical art, books to finish, children books to start, and new paintings. In designing my studio it will take several months to have all my supplies, furniture, and shelving in place. It is a new level of freedom contemplating the past and future. I am the man sitting under tree in the painting.
As an artist my studio space is every crucial. This is the birthing place of what could be the next master piece I create! lol. It will be the proofing ground of what does and does not work. It will be the new home of my creative mind to let a river run through. I am excited about the possibilities. I thanks God for my parent who are now with him that taught me to press on in hard times, push pass the tears and live. I had many tear in his life that have fallen on my art while creating. Hiding in some of the greatest paintings I have created are small rivers of tears mixed in acrylics paint. Unlike Jackson Pollock who had cigarettes butts peppered in his art, I will have residue of water in every piece this year. However it will be mixed with new visions, new ideas, and expectation. My soul is looking for this new vibe that will come from such great life vibration. Watch this year for a more defined art and writing, intense themes and expression, and a new sense of voice that is unrestrained in my work. Watch for my new rivers and new skies….