Thursday, July 22, 2010

Processing Dylan's surgery through paint

As most of you probably know if you read my blog somewhat regularly, my 18-year-old son just had extensive surgery to correct his scoliosis.  Thankfully the operation was a success, and he is in the long process of healing now - which means trying to function while doped up on Percocet and Valium and weak and wobbly in his legs and trying to learn to re-assess the world from 2 inches higher up!  (The surgery made him significantly taller, so now he's about 6'4".) Apparently it makes a big difference to ones center of gravity to be that much taller, so he's having to sort all that out too. 

This painting is one I did a few days after his surgery.  It's based on a photo taken the day after surgery when he woke up, groggy and swollen-faced and in pain, in the PCU, yet still wonderfully present.  

It is helpful to me in times of stress to express my world visually.  Painting Dylan did two things for me - I painted him with my hands, a much more expressive way of painting than when I use a brush, so I could feel the vitality of my feelings, my fear, my anxiety, my relief, my concern, my gratitude.  It all comes out through my hands.  I could get my mind into another mode - no longer squirreling around frantically in the aforementioned feelings, but rather thinking more analytically, using a different part of my brain, yet still focused on my darling son.  Towards the end of the process, I did use a brush at times, so I was more delicate in my touch, expressing my tenderness and gentleness and absolute love.

Some people process their lives through words.  I do that too when I journal or write this blog, but I think the more profound process for me is to paint and visually re-create something I've seen and am experiencing.

How do you process your world?

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