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images I was told I would have bad karma.

A member of my family is not speaking to another member of the family. This has been going on for years. Rather than go into the drama of why she is not speaking to her, the family member just says, “She died in a mining accident!”

No further questions are asked. A look of horror passes over the questioner’s face and the subject is dropped.

We all thought this was best, since it really is boring to talk about family members’ wrong doings and such. And to play the victim is ridiculous. No one in my family is a victim. We may seek council from an attorney once in a while, but we are never victims.

One school day in the fall of fifth grade, our daughter was questioned about this family member as in, “Do you have any relatives living close by?” Our daughter answered, “Well, we did, but she died in a mining accident.” The teacher was not put off. He asked what mine. Our daughter said she did not know.

Since then we have filled in the blanks for everyone in our family, so that this second question does not throw us. Usually we just have to say, “She took one step back too far!”

Copyright  Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014  All rights Reserved

Day Four/Image Four

“Afloat” image. Solo show. Installation at Ceres Gallery, New York. This image is “taking place” in the air. Buildings in the sky floating upward, surrounded by birds.

Bad Work Into Good

This is about painting bad work.

As painters, we know it is disheartening to paint, day after day, trying to get our actions to meet our goals. What we see in our minds is fluid, a wise professor once told me, and cannot be translated into an image on the two or three dimensional surface. Ever. But it does not stop us from trying.

We are constantly surprised by what comes about, sometimes good, sometimes not.

When we paint tirelessly everyday, we keep going. It is so hard to spend, as David Lynch would say, most of the time looking at the work and very little time altering what we have done. It is hard enough just using that part of our mind which is non verbal. It puts us in a different world.

When we see that we have produced bad work, we are inclined to give up.

I learned through experience, that it is in those very bad paintings, the truth: That, we have reached a higher level. And we need this challenge to break through. When we do, we create something better. Better than all the work we have done before.

I see it this way: We practice (a plateau where nothing changes and we are satisfied with our work), we rest (giving ideas time to develop), and we learn. It is in the learning that we create bad work. And that is a very good sign.