Thursday, January 23, 2014

Art Journal Thursday: More Room in a Broken Heart

Most mornings I wake up with a song in my head. A few days ago, I couldn't get Carly Simon’s “Coming Around Again” out of my mind, particularly the lyric, “…there’s more room in a broken heart.” Like an itch that I had to scratch (for this can be quite maddening) I knew I wasn't going to get any peace until I worked on what that lyric meant to me. So off to the art journal.

Using a torn coffee sleeve with gesso and undiluted acrylic paint spread over it adds great texture.

It made me think about loss and how we soldier on afterwards. My grandmother, Jessie (or Nanny as I called her), suffered the loss of a husband and a few miscarriages, but she kept on with a broken but open love. Pragmatic and tough, she was still filled with love that she showered on me and the rest of her family.

Taken before they left for Guam.

She married my biological grandfather, Michael, and moved with him to Guam. A career Navy name, he was stationed there before WWII began so she came with him. There are photos of her in the jungle, the mess hall, and hanging out with friends. My uncle was born there but he and Nanny had to flee as tensions with the Japanese began to intensify. She returned home to North Carolina to find that Guam had been invaded by the Japanese. She waited for 18 months wondering what had happened to her husband, giving birth to my father and caring for my uncle. She learned that Michael had stayed behind to blow up munitions and had been captured and killed.

Applied gesso to the burlap with a dry brush, let dry and used a palette knife for the red. 

She could have given up but there were children to raise and a life to live. She met the man I knew as my grandfather and they moved to Kansas. They tried several times to have children of their own, but sadly it was not to be. Again, she had the opportunity to give up and make a stone of her heart. But that just wasn't her. She kept herself open. I am sure that she had her days, dark and full of the weight that these tremendous losses caused. But they did not over take her.

Layers of paper and ephemera with gesso, rubber stamp ink and thinned acrylic paint applied over them.

Her heart may have been broken many times, but there was still room left to fill.

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