The Birthday

Apr 6, 2023

This past winter a gallery director asked if I’d like to be part of a four-woman show this summer. My heart fluttered as “yes” flew through my lips. I’ve only had this opportunity a few times but never with the caliber of artists I’d join.

However, when he said I’d need oh, maybe 15 paintings of both florals and people, that elation gave way to panic. How in the world could I get this done in a few months? My inventory is not that big! So much to do and so little time. Turns out deadlines are a fabulous motivator. Since then I’ve produced three figural paintings. This is the latest, but there’s more to do.

I am always thinking about the passage of time and how much more quickly it goes as I age. There are various theories about why this is so. (This article from Psychology Today identifies a few.) But there is no question that as we age time appears to speed up. At 71, I’m afraid that one day soon life will be zooming past at autobahn speeds.

Time does not stand still as these paintings attest. The Birthday features a rising nine-year-old. The previous painting, Big Mug Little Hands, is the same child, then a toddler. While I love painting flowers, I also love painting children. Their radiant skin, their guileless expressions.

As I look back at the paintings I’ve created of this boy I wonder too if simply by doing so I’m just trying to slow down time a bit. They conjure the warmth of their cuddles and their unmitigated joy at just being a kid. Soon this guy won’t be so happy to know that I’m painting him yet again. So I must hurry. I just need the time. Once again, time.

Painting: The Birthday © Lissa Banks 2023