Sunyata (Emptiness), oil on canvas, 48x48 inches, © 2012 Diane McGregor
Rain Light by W.S. Merwin
All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning
My Mother passed away a few months ago. Since then there has been a huge void in my life. Mom had been ill, but not in any immediate danger, so her passing was sudden and shocking. This is my first experience of losing someone so close to me. The concepts of life, death, and afterlife are forward in my mind.
This painting helped me cope. The daily labor of completing each white rectangle, over and over, like a chant to the Infinite, gave me structure and purpose as I waded through the grief and loss. It's my most minimal piece yet. The underpainting was lively violet, green, brown, and dark gray -- all that is left now is the white, with a hint of violet showing through in the lines that form the grid. Like snow, the purity of white symbolizes the intermediary between the spirit world and the human reality. White is silent and gentle, like snow falling; like arcane knowledge being transmitted through the ether, divine energy flows to us from a higher spiritual plane.