As fate would have it, the very first painting that I sold a few months ago after I let people know via social media that I was ready to share my work, was called “Breakthrough”. It was a painting that went through numerous transformations, starting out quite differently from where it eventually landed, taking its time to let me know what it needed. Suffice it to say, there are many, many layers of paint, oil stick, acrylic marker and graphite beneath the surface, creating a road map of a call-and-response journey from blank slate to completion. Paintings like this one help to pave the way for the ones that follow, hence the name, “Breakthrough”. My beloved painting found its perfect home with Amanda Rogers, a former colleague of mine from my teaching days. I love what Amanda wrote about my painting, and decided that her words merited their own blog post, so here are her insightful reflections:
“The first person to see my new painting after I hung it, looked at it for several minutes, then said, “That’s going to be a conversation piece”. She wasn’t kidding. While everyone who sees it praises its beauty, everyone sees something different. “It’s just like the view from my cottage dock”, one friend told me, seeming astonished that Barbara Reade, whom she had never met, knew so much about the view from her dock. “It’s a cornfield”, another person told me, “see the clouds over top?” “Those are buildings”, another admirer argued. “It’s like when you come into Hamilton from the east side”. “That’s a storm”. “No, it’s a sunset”. Me, I see a lake in northern Ontario near the mouth of Moon River; I recognize those two burned trees. In Barbara’s abstract, yet ever-mindful swirls and slashes of colour and texture, we see our own lives, moods and memories. We see what we need to see at that precise moment. My little painting radiates some energy that engages not just the eyes, but the heart. And that makes it more than just a conversation piece; that makes it a little bit magic.”
The conversation that happens between a painting and its viewer is an incredibly personal one. Thank you, Amanda, for giving “Breakthrough” its forever home.