I’ve been on a sort of moving/holidays hiatus from painting for a month or so, but now that I’ve got a bit more time, I’m back with one of my favorite paintings to date: “Box of Light.”

The image was inspired by my lovely Canon SLR. The colors/layout/title were inspired by an Ani Difranco song, Promised Land, in which she sings, “What is a camera but a box of light?” The song itself has a different message altogether, but I think that phrase, box of light, is just so striking. I’m amazed by the way we can take hold of light and use it to create art and visual records. Photography isn’t my chosen medium for art, but I have nothing but awe for the technology that allows us to look back on history (personal, cultural, national) and really see what life was like. So I guess this is my tribute to the camera. Thank you, George Eastman, and all your forerunners, for inventing the hand held personal camera.

On a side note, about a year ago, my maternal grandmother passed away. In her best years, she was a lover of art. My memories of drawing, painting, and crafting with her have the kind of vividness that only nostalgia can supply. Her style was realistic, and her subjects tended to be the trappings of domestic life – cats, flowers, landscapes. I wonder sometimes how that might have differed if she had lived in a different time. If she were my age now, when women have liberties so commonplace that we don’t even appreciate them, would she have still favored realism and domestic subjects? Would she have tried out abstract styles or portraits? When I’m long gone, what will my subject matter – a camera, butterflies, trees, blocks of color – say about me?

I’ve inherited some of her blank canvases and canvas boards, stored still in their plastic for the last thirty years or so. Even the backside seems like a work of art.