Cedar Lee March 24th, 2015
I have not yet re-started “official” work in the studio since my family’s big move to Portland, Oregon. I am taking some time off–something I haven’t done since having a newborn in the house! That said, it feels like the farthest thing from a vacation–We have just put our California home on the market after much intensive work. Now my task is to get my children and family settled in our new city and start the process of building a new network of friends, contacts, and colleagues from the ground up. My new work routines will fall into place and I will be back to creating as soon as I’m ready.
I want to thank all my friends around the world for continuing to follow me online even though I will be easing back into my work at a snail’s pace. I am going through an intense time. I’ve lost two close family members within the last month.
This painting is one of my favorites from a long time ago–painted in 2007.
My Aunt Nancy died a few weeks ago, suddenly, unexpectedly, and way too young. I am still in shock and at times this doesn’t feel real. She owned this painting and hung it across from her bed so it was the first thing she saw every morning.
I painted it from a photograph taken on a visit to the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I love it because it’s simultaneously peaceful and thrilling, with the calm water and quiet little boats in the foreground, but a riotously colorful sunset and glowing red mountains in the background. You can tell the play of light across the sea is constantly shifting. I particularly love the deep turquoise in the foreground, and that glowing pink shifting into burnt orange on the mountains in the far distance.
This painting will always make me think of my vivacious, loving aunt, who was always one of the biggest supporters of my work. She purchased many of my paintings and frequently sent flowers to my art openings.
My other big loss was my Grandma, who died last week after a long and painful illness–Alzheimer’s. If you’re familiar with Alzheimer’s, you’ll know I’ve already been mourning her by increments for years. I am happy she’s not suffering anymore. That said, I am shocked how deeply I am feeling her loss now. I suppose there is no wrong way to grieve.
My Grandma was a professional violinist and a big-hearted humanitarian who spent her life loving and caring for others. I have no words for how grateful I am to have had her in my life.
Grandma owned this painting: The Big Sky. 40″ x 50″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2005 Cedar Lee–SOLD
She told me the reason she had to own it was that it epitomized the spirit of springtime and made her heart sing! Even though I’d sold paintings before, I consider this the first painting I sold at the beginning of my professional art career, as I created it during my last semester at Goucher College during my independent study in painting, and it was the first painting sold as an art school graduate.
It’s hard to say where I would be without supportive family cheering me on throughout my artist’s life. But I do not take it for granted. Both of these beautiful mother-figures have enriched my life beyond measure. I will honor both of them for the rest of my life with my future artwork. Please keep me in your thoughts during my time of grief.
I do think an artist’s work is all entwined with their life path–when you look back it’s impossible to separate the two. So, I am curious to see where my creativity will take me next, when I come out the other side of all these massive life changes! Stay tuned…