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October 12, 2013 / Tina

Portrait of this Lady.

Written by Geralyn Rownan

The Inksplinters anniversary painting was unveiled to great applause. The artist spoke again. “I have another painting” he said. We waited; expecting to see another of his abstracts. “I want to give Geralyn this portrait I painted of her.” What? Me? A portrait?

He unwrapped a painting and handed it to me.

“I painted this for Geralyn because I feel we understand each other”.

“Thank you” I said. “I’m overwhelmed” and I was. No one had ever given me a painting, let alone one of me. I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. I had been given a painting- and not just any painting- a portrait of me as an artist sees me.

But this was no photograph, no cameo likeness. In this picture colours ran and dashed against each other, shapes danced through the frame and unravelled like scarves in the wind.

He spoke about the painting and how it represented me; here is painted a bottle of Chanel No. 5, here a lovely skirt suit. Shapes of shoes, slim dancing figures, hats. Colours pink like bright sunrise here, darker there, steps or a castle staircase perhaps…is that flames or my hair blowing in the wind? A riot of shapes and colours. Grace and femininity captured on acrylic and canvas.

This was no pictorial representation of my physical self. What was painted was the essence of me as the artist perceived me.

 “I think we understand each other” he’d said. This, the genesis which found expression in the flowering of acrylic on canvas.

What greater gift could he give?

 “We understand each other”. Implicit in that is also, our need to understand ourselves. To tell our stories. To be understood and to understand others. To howl our aloneness to the wind in the hope that the wind will carry our words to ears that will listen and hear.

Isn’t this what we all long for, need, above all else? This is why we tell our stories. This is why we want so much to hear the stories of others. To connect. Above all, to connect.

We communicate all the time, in every way possible, with anyone and everyone. Words words words. Spoken, written, on the page on the internet on the phone on the blackboard graffiti on the wall frantic scratchings in the diary on and on and on. We have relationships of every kind. Words words words. But communication is not the same as connection. Our souls know this.

In our little Inksplinters group, I often feel moved, touched by their words, connected. It is not necessary nor does it occur to me to wonder about the daily lives, the work, the joys, the family responsibilities, the hopes wishes and broken dreams, the tedium of ordinary tasks, although that is who we are too.

Dear Artist and Inksplinters, I know the essence of you, the souls of you revealed through your writings. I know the songbird, the bard, the darkly comic crime writer, the satirist, the brilliant sci-fi writer and somehow I seem to have a place here too, even if I don’t seem to know what it is myself.

So thank you. Thank you for the painting. Thank you for all that it means to me, and about me – and most especially, the gift of what it says about all of us. Including you.

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