This series of nine paintings was inspired by the death of my father in 2023. We had a difficult relationship and disagreed on many things. Yet, we still loved each other. This series was a means to work through those unresolved difficult parts to find, if not joy, at least healing, and growth. This process led me to Tonglen, thus inspiring the name of this series. Meaning "sending and taking," Tonglen is an ancient Buddhist practice meant to awaken compassion. As we inhale, we breathe in suffering, our own and that of all those experiencing the same; as we exhale, we breathe out relief.
This practice calls us to invite in life exactly as it is, the suffering and the joy and the everything-in-between, to connect our personal experiences with those of all beings; to cultivate presence and radical acceptance, a place from which our wakeful work can begin; and to send healing energy out into the world.
In relating our suffering, we can begin to see clearly that nothing is separate; we are radically interconnected and interdependent. Grief and love, too, are not separate; joy and sorrow are one and the same.
This series is available to see and purchase at Midnight Gallery, 4315 Independence Drive, Schnecksville, PA, 18078 from December 9, 2023 to February 24, 2023. You can call or email them to purchase a painting and they will ship it to you. The paintings are all mixed media on cradled birch wood panels, 18" x 18", and framed in black wood floater frames.