Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4 — The Scars on her Back

Week 4/52

I wanted to do something different this week, something without textures, but they got the best of me again. I'm just in love with the textured look, and I think it looks much better with the square size. So bear with me, this mania shall go away soon. And again, some of the textures are Pareeeerica's, some are my own and some others are textures that I've had for 4/5 years and that I can't find the credit for. So really, if you recognize any of them, let me know through PM and I'll credit then!


When I visited my college for the first time, they took us down to the restoration workshops, where we would spend the greater part of the years to follow. I was in awe. I thought I could change the world one painting at a time, and most of all, I thought I could paint and still be able to say 'hey, I'm a restorer! I'm doing something useful with my life!' — which was foolish, because no matter how useful and amazing the craft is (and it REALLY is), it was never for me. Still, I was very green about the whole thing, thinking that I could just tweak this and tweak that and erase all that was bad and keep all that was good. And as this girl took us on the tour, she stopped us in front of a painting, a huge dark thing, which I think is still there, to this day. It was torn, ripped, had paint coming off everywhere — basically, it was a wreck, so she stood in front of it and asked us all "What would you do? Would you paint over it all?"

I thought to myself "Of course", but being the painfully shy thing that I am when I'm intimidated — and I really was intimidated, visiting college after a year of dealing with daily full-on panic attacks — I kept to myself. But someone said the words for me, and this girl smiled and shook her head.

"Actually, we don't. These pathologies you see, these accidents, they're a part of the piece's history. They're a part of what defines the painting, of the path that took it to where it is now. It's not our job to erase history. We will control the pathologies, we'll keep them from harming the painting any more than they already have, but we won't eliminate the scars. You'll still see that there was something there."

I keep thinking, as people, that we work in the exact same way. These past few months haven't been easy on me, emotionally or physically, and they left me covered in tears and rips. But those figurative rips, those scars, are what makes me who I am now. And I love each and every one of them. I have an actual scar on the lower side of my stomach, from the appendectomy I got when I was 14, and I absolutely adore it. I actually celebrate it, because it reminds me of a day when I was unbelievably brave. So why should I treat the other scars differently? They are all there for a reason, and they do weigh on me sometimes, but they're a part of my path. And what I make of them defines who I am.
It's up to us to be the restorers, here. It's up to us to take the rips, sew them up and make them as pretty as we can, because that's what we're here to do. We have that choice, even if sometimes it feels like we don't. And that's what makes life so damn brilliant.

[I am SO sorry for how long this is. I'm impossible, I know. I talk too much. And a 'thank you' note is in order, to my friend Carlos Neto, who sort of brought up this issue for me in a post he made on a friend's photo. :) ]

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Your photos are out of this world. What's the word? Ethereal.

    I just chanced upon your blog today. I'm definitely adding this to my reading list!