Taking Back My Power

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A few years ago (I”m trying not to remember specifically) I had 3 of my paintings stolen.  Yup. It happens, I guess. There was a new restaurant in town. A Cajun place on campus corner and I ended up hanging 3 of my paintings there.  Some time later I went back for dinner. What I found was the place bordered up. The restauranteurs had fled in the middle of the night and taken everything not nailed down including the kitchen sink … and my paintings.

I contacted the landlord, who owns a great deal of campus corner, and did not even get a courtesy call back.  My friend was more angry than I at the time. I buried the anger under self-blame “Oh well, the food wasn’t that good I should have known better” and “They’re gone, nothing I can do about it.”  So, I moved on and kept painting. Unfortunately, though I had photos of the paintings they weren’t good quality photos. Not the quality that prints could be made from. So, it was a real bum deal.

Losing a painting, or two or three, isn’t the end of the world. They weren’t Picasso’s after all. They were still my work. Something that I had envisioned and brought to life and they also represented different periods of my life I was going through at the time.  I had emotional attachment to them. I would have sold them, but to a good home.  I did a pretty good job of pushing them out of my thoughts and only occasionally did I think about them.  Until today.

This morning I woke up and while reading “Finding Water” by Julia Cameron, I was inspired to repaint the Paris bakery painting. It was one of the first paintings where I think my personal style started to develop. As I write this I have sketched the drawing and finished the under-painting. When I finish this writing I will get back to putting the actual color to the canvas. I might actually finish it today.

When I painted it the first time it took me several weeks of classes to paint. Now that I’ve had more experience I might be able to knock it out in a day. Which, also inspires me to find the not so good photos of the other two and repaint them as well.

Today I am not just painting a picture. Today I am releasing a long-held anger and resentment toward the “thieves” who took my paintings with them and probably just tossed them in a dumpster.  They could do that. But what they can’t steal from me is my creativity, my memory and my skills. I could paint dozens of that Paris bakery if I wanted to.  So, the jokes on them. And I feel better!

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4 responses »

  1. What a great post. I can really relate to your admission that you sort of tortured yourself with the image of such precious work going in the Dumpster. Did you also let yourself think of them in just the right setting, giving the right person some daily happiness? Not the thief, of course, but perhaps the down-on-her luck waitress who was given the paintings in lieu of her last paycheck? We should let your imaginations run wild in both directions and I’m just certain you did. Anyway, thanks for the post and good luck with the reclaiming of the scenes…

  2. Thanks Tammy. I did think that perhaps somebody else might have them. Carla thinks one day we will walk into another restaurant and see one of them haning. The irony is that someone at my apartment had set out 3 smallish canvas on a sofa they were leaving behind. So I had retrieved them and put Gesso on them. So I did the new painting on a canvas I found at the dumpster. Seems to be some justice in that! haha.

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