Thursday, April 1, 2010

Unicorns and Pink Meadows

I hope you don't mind that some of the stories behind my pictures are filled with real life--and death. This story is painful--but ends with great hope.

I remember the day our beloved Grandmother Jenny flew to heaven. I sat in the upstairs hallway and cried in the dark. She ran into the arms of her Savior after a long hard night of struggle.

I began to paint. First a stormy reddish sky. As I wept, I crunched sodden browns, streaks of yellow and shadows of darkness into the murky horizon.

I sat back to ponder the stories Grammie had told of her life. Sharp peaks of hardship thrust through the years. She'd conquered them, one step at a time. I knifed thick paint from my palette, forming jagged mountains. Then tears as I covered the jutting peaks with cool snows reflecting pink from the angry skies above.

As I remembered her words of wisdom and faith, gentle tree-clad hills swelled beneath the mountains . . . I thought of her laughter, and the twinkle of her blue eyes and a bright meadow blossomed with faint pink flowers.

I smiled through my tears, recalling Grammie's vivid imagination. I retraced her wonderful stories peopled with elves and faeries. Then from my brush, the outline of a unicorn emerged. His white coat danced with pinks from the painful red horizon, reflecting the cheery pink flowers at his feet. His dark red and pink mane swooped joyfully against the mountains, and his face grew kind and winsome . . .

Spreading out from the unicorn's feet, yellow centers appeared in the pink flowers, twinkling vividly in the tender green grasses of the meadow.

I looked at that painting for a long, long time, thinking about how delighted Grammie would have been. Then I signed my name.

Painting has a way of expressing my heart.

In the hours I spent wielding my paintbrush, I worked through my pain, sorrow and feelings of anger and loss--to precious memories of my Grandmother's courageous life, to thoughts of her laughter and whimsey, to arrive in a place of peace.

And I can feel her smiling.


Lois said...

It's so beautiful Beth! You made me think of my own dear Granny, who took care of me and my sister when we were babies after our mother died. Even after my Dad got remarried and she had to give us up, she always told me that I was hers. I think she was the only person who ever truly loved me unconditionally. She went to heaven 14 years ago and I miss her so much.

Lois said...

Thanks for the hugs Beth! You are a sweetheart and yes I do know exactly what you are feeling. Hugs to you too!

~Cheryl said...

Very tender and touching, Beth. ♥

Clytie said...

Ah, how I miss her too. I'm so glad you captured the essence of her beauty and imagination in your picture. And your grief as well.

Shadow in the Moonlight said...

love this picture, love the subtle pink tint round the unicorn... its tail is so luxurious and silky, great piece of imagination.