This image is from our last Beerhorst Family Art show and includes work here from both Brenda and myself. It has been an important part of our relationship over the years being able to make art work and share that with each other. Artists need a lot of support because it can become very difficult to continue in your artistic path when you are going through hard times of just feeling dry and empty. So to have a partner right there in the day in and day out has been a life saver.
I have always felt that Brenda helped me into the world of color. She has an very sophisticated natural ability to put colors together that continues to amaze me. The series of paintings she began this winter has been some of the best work I have seen her do so far. I look forward to the show she will be doing at the Green Well in East Hills next month. Brenda also contributed three of her recent paintings into the Trip The Light dance performance at the Wealthy Theater this month. An image of the three paintings was projected behind the dancer as a beautiful backdrop of color and pattern which created a very rich context for her performance, taking it into a very potent place.
My wife Brenda and I have known each other now some where around 27-28 years. 25 of those years we have been married. We have six children together and the adventure begins again every morning. This relationship is a mysterious thing that is too deep and complicated for me to really understand very well. I just know that much of the courage that I have to go on living out side the cultural mainstream comes from within this relationship I have with Brenda.
We have had many struggles over these years. We have often run out of money. We have had family vacations that turned sour. There have been too many ugly arguments and some times we just let things get old and dull. There are so many ways that we can misunderstand each other and it can be so easy to take a relationship that is now so old for granted. And yet with all these struggles there come the sublime moments to tug everything back up again. This up and down is making this beautiful weave that is our life together.
I know that this good mixed up with the "bad" may seem almost too obvious to write about yet I need the reminder for myself close at hand because the way those tough days when they are upon you can make you feel so overwhelmed. Tugging those good things out of forgetfulness is often just the right medicine.
mole skin sketch book drawing
Last night was date night for Brenda and I and our 24th anniversary. We went around to some of our favorite antique stores. We picked up a couple of really cool old metal boxes with hinged lids for Brenda's studio. After awile we ended up having dinner at the Indian restaurant in our neighborhood. I had been fasting since dinner the night before so it was tough sitting with all those great smells, waiting what felt like hours before our waiter came to our table. I did this little drawing of beautiful B while waiting for our food to come.
Brenda and I met at the Intersection bar dancing in the mid 80s. It was a benifit concert with the local bands Everythings Jake and Top Down. We were trying to save the Eastown Theater that night. We didn't save the theater but our lives came together and have been mysteriously intertwined ever since to the tune of six children and countless adventures. Before she took my humble last name, Brenda's last name was Moulds and she has been moulding me into a better man over the years. I know God is in this mix but Brenda has been his key instrument in this process over this past quarter of a century. She is a woman worth fighting for, the top of my heap, the shake in my rattle and the color on my brush.
Drawing "You are not listening" available here
The other day Brenda and I were talking about how we need an exhaust fan installed in our bathroom upstairs. I do a lot of fix it up things around here but putting in a fan felt outside my skill set and too expensive to hire out right now. She suggested I ask a friend of ours who does remodeling if he would be interested in helping us out in exchange for art work.
Her idea made sense but I felt very uncomfortable with the prospect of asking and taking the chance of it getting awkward. For a while I resisted but eventually later in the day I gave into what I knew deep down was a good suggestion and was worth the risk of getting turned down. I contacted the friend and he was right away excited by the prospect of getting some cool artwork in trade for his services. I am so glad I have not been left to strictly my own devices and am beginning to learn how to really listen for a change. "So Brenda, what else are you thinking?"
Drawing titled, just listen to her is available in my etsy shop
Someone once told me that listening is always interpreted as love. I have found this to be true. I have now been married for twenty three years and keeping tuned into what my wife is trying to communicate to me is intermittent at best. I am not sure if it is my own stubbornness of just plain old dullness, but I often miss some of the really helpful insights she is trying to share because some how that just don't get through.
Sometimes I wonder if some of our missed communication could be related to the different ways men and women think. It seems that men and women respond differently to the same situations having to do with tendencies that may be characteristic of our gender. Speaking generally, women tend to naturally pick up on how people are interconnected and want what is good for the whole group or family beyond what they may personally need or want. The man tends to barrel forward towards what he wants to conquer regardless of how it may effect all those affected by his actions. I have seen this played out in the art world where the women are giving much more of their time and energy to support their husband and children all the while neglecting their work in the studio. While they are doing this the fellas are just charging ahead from one project to the next with out losing sleep over what areas the family may be in need or vulnerable. Oops, did I just describe Brenda and my relationship?
I can't help but think that my wife and I are together because we are very different and have incredible potential that can be only realized if we can find real working ways to stay open and tuned in to each other, so we may receive the full benefit of those differences. The challenge will be hearing that content when it runs across the grain of what you may naturally want to do in any given situation. Perhaps this is where love comes in and enables us to allow ourselves to be redirected in ways that may feel counterintuitive.
Here is to all you guys out there, slow down and take time to really hear what she is saying and then ruminate on it for awhile and then watch your life open up like a blooming flower.