A cup of soul

In my cupboard I have a variety of cups and mugs to choose from. But this antique ironstone mug is my favorite. It’s pitted, a little stained and slightly rough around the lip. It has what I would call, soul.

Looking at this mug I wonder who owned it. What table did it sit upon? Who drank from it? What were they thinking at the time? What was going on in their life? What conversation did this mug hear? It’s what I like about antiques, distressed paint, a knob on a wooden dresser that is shiny and worn from use. These things show a passage of time and a presence of life. They tell stories.

I try to get some of these qualities into areas of my paintings. When I begin a painting, I lay down detailed forms, colors, abstract shapes, maybe penciling in thoughts, a poem or song lyrics. I add more and more layers of these, while simultaneously excavating for what came before. I love when something reappears that I might have forgotten about. Or when just a chip or two of that overly bright orange color breaks through. I like how areas of layered texture will emerge, creating forms and shapes on their own, completely unplanned.

I think life is like this. The more we put in, the more we get back. The more we look, the more we find. The more we live, the richer it gets.

Even in a simple, still, coffee mug.

Sipping it in, Kerry