There is an OLD Jefferson Airplane song, largely forgotten, that’s been in my head for weeks. It’s called, ‘If You Feel.’ Here it is:
While lots of fun, it’s not exactly their best effort. The drumming is a little funky and the vocal battle between Marty Balin and Grace Slick kinda takes over half way through. To me it’s a song all about joy and abandon. It’s a happy thing! The lyric is simple and memorable:
If you feel like china breaking
If you feel like laughing
Break china laughing
Break china laughing, laughing, laughing
If you feel like leaves falling
If you feel like smiling
Fall leaves smiling
Fall leaves smiling, smiling, smiling
If you feel like love making
If you feel like flying
Make love flying
Make love flying, flying, flying
Not the first time you know
Got up to go
As I mentally played the song over and over in the studio this week, my painting experience was joyful and abandoned – everything I’d hoped it would be. I had great fun splashing and scratching, scribbling and scumbling. I was so appreciative of the music that I scrawled the first set of lyrics on the face of the piece and considered doing a triptych – one painting of the same size for each stanza.
Then I did what I always do: I walked away for a day. When I came back, though I liked what I saw, I felt a little disconnect between my painting experience and what it produced. I was having an elated painting experience; what I saw on the canvas was violent. Mike even said it was angry. I started to reach for the gesso and then stopped.
We are living in violent, angry times. That reality had colored my work for more than a year. I continue to concentrate on establishing a peaceful base within myself from which to dance with pigment; but it’s a process. It’s going to take a little time. For today, I think I’ll let this piece reflect the chaos at the end of the song rather than the joyful beginnings.
And I think I will do two more pieces and let it be a triptych.