Jun 11, 2012
Last week I had my last painting class of the year at the museum. Painting is something I do for fun and just for myself -- I am not very good at it. Back in February, right before my first hospitalization, we were working on a self-portrait project. The assignment was to take a xeroxed photograph of our faces and then break it into 25 parts, painting each panel separately and then finally pasting it all together to see the whole face.
The idea is to see each aspect of the face abstractly - in other words not to see an eye as an eye, for example, but just a random collection of darks and lights with a particular contour. It was a 3- or 4-week long project, and half-way through, I had the partial placental abruption of Aminadav's placenta.
When I came back to class after the twins had been born and died, I had a vague recollection that I had left the self-portrait project incomplete but I had no desire to go back to it. It just served as another reminder of where I was, what I was doing, and what my happiness and anticipation was like in the weeks and days preceding the darkness that was to come.
For our last class, we were supposed to discuss 3 or 4 pieces that we felt were most representative of our work and our progress throughout the year. My half-complete tiled self-portrait was long forgotten by me, but my teacher apparently found it at the bottom of a drawer filled with projects from the winter, and when I walked into the classroom, I was met with the half-complete painting tacked on the wall.
I really didn't want to spend any time looking at the self-portrait, which I had not seen nor really thought about since I was pregnant with the twins. I could not, however, ignore the obvious irony of my own missing parts in the painting.
In the other painting, something other than my xeroxed face was suddenly and unexpectedly left wholly incomplete.