When they are older they will doubtless stand still for a portrait to be made. They will smirk and give their parents attitude and mom and dad will have grown a few more wrinkles and hopefully will still hold each other’s hands tight.

But this. This is what it looked like when they were young and ran free and mom and dad were new to each other and what they were creating… When little boys threw leaves in your face, acted a zombie and the stuffed elephant was held dear in every picture.

This is what it looked like when everything was just beginning

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  • Jackie - YES! Sharon, your words and images calm my mind and inspire me.ReplyCancel

 

We drove across the country and I shot a roll of film, and the photos were all a mess. Light leaks or maybe my kids opened the back of the camera, and the few that turned out I missed the focus. This year this has become a recurring theme. The equipment I hold in my hands is old and turns against me or maybe I’m just not good enough. Maybe I am losing the heart to make it work.

An artist’s statement gives a basis for a visual artist’s collection. It explains what they have created based upon who they are and what they have to say. A faulty artist’s statement leaves nothing to the imagination, nothing for the viewer to work out, or it’s so vague that anyone could have written it and the viewer is left no wiser about what they are looking at. And then there are the excuses… In college you always knew which students would use their artist’s statement as a way to explain away their mess. Say that you meant to do it and a weak painting might stand.

I am drawn to the uncertain, the mystery, but I always thought I had a thesis for my life. My marriage, a home and my children… they are my body of work are they not? And also I make pictures, sometimes I am paid for them. Art, right? I am a maker. But what happens when all you make and see are messes and mistakes. What happens when your collection isn’t cohesive and you can’t recognize yourself in the mirror? What happens when you wake to see all the mirrors pointed back at you and your life, and it wasn’t the thesis you wrote out in grade school?

Then you need a word to speak or a picture to paint. Something to make your heart feel again. Happiness lies disheveled but there is still a world of interest out there. There must be something to say, that proves you are here.

So I dig through film I had given up for lost, splatter paint on canvas and grow so quiet I can hear my dreams breath. Listening to the thoughts I shouldn’t think.

This is not a project or a manifesto

This is one person saying, I don’t know

But one thing is clear, I would rather see these photos, the dry lake bed bleached pink and the mountains fading over exposed into violet, than hold images perfect, all the hues, tones and values neatly arranged until they mean nothing more than a xerox.

And maybe all the failings, mess and mistakes make the masterpiece.

maybe

 

“There is no misery in art. All art is about saying yes, and all art is about its own making.” – John Currin

 

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11-2014 . Canon AE1

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Last December we went back to Indiana for Christmas. These are a few film shots from the kids’ first ice skating session  at the rink I skated at when I was younger… it was a quite an experience. For more unplugged moments head on over to Childhood Unplugged.

12 – 2013 . Nikon 1Touch

 

Before a year had passed, we moved from the house you died in .

Or maybe you died while I stood in the street getting the mail, or at Trader Joes, picking the kids up from school. I don’t know.

But you are gone and so is the rose bush that threw white petals across the wall while I sat on the couch and bled you out. Because spring comes in February in California. They are singing hymns in the dead of winter cold in Indiana, but nothing is religious here. Not even the seasons. All is sacred, the ocean washes  all the earth’s holy water and we walk barefoot the sand and streets, but there is no rhyme or reason or religion. I think that’s how the Keeper of time who flings planets into orbit would like it. Waves and rhythm, but no religion.

So they cut the rose bush back to barely nothing, when we moved. We tried to bring it with, to carry everything in transition. Suburban nomads, but the roots were too deep. I walked the few blocks back and told the new residents of our home of four years that the thorny branches barely peeking up from the soil look like nothing right now, but if they only give it a chance they will grow more than they could ever imagine and fling petals like snow in February spring.

That house sang full of baby’s laughter and children growing. But we were losing our way. They grow tall and each magic moment races on towards the fearful future, and all it takes is a breath of wind for the petals to fall. Like snow across the ground. A chill.

And now we are here – a new house, new spring. Does anything ever begin anew, or we just racing on from that one single moment when He spoke? I wonder what the word new sounded like when His lips, human flesh, curled round that word. I wonder if it made the universe tremble, did time loop back or at least skip a beat?

It’s March practically and I don’t know how that happened. How could time so audaciously move forward? How have I lived a year without you and learned absolutely nothing? How could everything my hands have touched to turn your name into a legacy stink so brilliantly of my humanness. We are one gaping wound, we hold each other’s hands in the fall and fling arrows at each other reckless.

And angels wish to dream as us, they wonder at our bravery and brokenness. They see the Father hold us as He never does them, and they lay out stars when our hearts are dark. A beacon home.

Because every light will go dark, and all that will be left is beyond. Beyond our ridiculous failing futility. Ridiculous we are.  We buy the groceries to buy them again. We speak to say the wrong thing. We play the games and sink into our thoughts. We go where angels fear to tread… into sin and brokenness, into loss of even ourselves. Into Him.

Loss is emptiness right through to where you don’t know if you’re there anymore. Loss is walking the house trying to remember what you’re looking for. Loss is an angry screaming out of everything that doesn’t matter because you’re too afraid to look at what does – because it isn’t there. Loss is a rip, right in the middle of reality.

How did I forget that it had been a year? How did I waste day after day? And how did I live – we are a victory each day.  How did time sneak up on me? It’s the fabric we’re imprinted on, but still the elusive bit of our story.

Like petals blowing across the wall, covering the ground, a winter spring. And the rose bush chopped down, a new home, a year gone. Words spewed out and chores done tedious and us ridiculous and the angels looking on.

Just trying to sort it all out, til we make it back to the start of forever. That’s where I’ll see my love with all the wounds healed and he’ll see me, that’s where the life will be. And we’ll drink deep and walk further in with angels and children traveled before us, our sins and despairing stories wiped clean.

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images from my last walk with Beacon quiet inside of me, someday everything will be sorted out

  • Stephanie Bloomer - That was beautiful, Sharon. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for the loss of your baby. God Bless you and give you peace.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - “Before a year had passed, we moved from the house you died in.

    Or maybe you died while I stood in the street getting the mail, or at Trader Joes, picking the kids up from school. I don’t know.

    But you are gone…”

    I feel you, here. And I have felt this. Thank you for sharing and for giving my heart the words. xReplyCancel

 

eff 2014… well it was a year God grew us and challenged us and showed us his love… but seriously eff 2014. it was rough, really rough, but now it’s 2015. Christmas was our last hurrah, it’s when we showed a year of loss and heartache that we are still rejoicing and we are still holding each other tight. we are miracle of miracles, still in love. I’m learning that at this point in the game, that’s some kind of magic and not to be taken for granted. the year ahead might be just as heartbreaking as the last, but we are running forward, and we’re gonna make it because our Father gives us good gifts – smiles and love, good vibes and little boys bouncing and running through our days.

 

 

btw this Christmas was so unplugged that not only were there no presents that plugged in, but there weren’t even any batteries… you can join other families enjoying the every-day away from screens, full of imagination and good times at childhoodunplugged.com . and here are a few ‘portraits’ from the day

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  • Monica Calderin - Sharon! That video was everything! Girl, you have some serious talents. Makes me want to learn how to shoot video like that. Talk about putting the pressure on to up my game! Geesh girl, that was good.

    Here’s to 2015! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Erica Short - Sharon, I just watched this. The video is perfect.ReplyCancel