Fly Away Fly Away, Weathering the Storm / by Kerri McGill

Many artists pick one subject or style and "explore" it to death. The galleries like this. Retail says, if you sell one thing, have similar stuff for people. People like familiar.

My paintings share themes but are often different in content and style. Painting time is lean. My work schedule has never been pretty. This leads to small paintings, slow evolutions for larger pieces, and ideas that sit in wait.

I revisit an older painting for the path that leads to paintings I've just finished. Even if I have new ideas, the older ones demand completion.

I am wary about telling this painting's story. It's not pleasant.

Aug 2005 Hurricane Katrina-(you see?)
Me - working a restaurant beyond security in the airport- Logan Boston Int.. All four TV screens on CNN's blow by blow Katrina updates.

The Delta jet shuttle between Boston and NY is the regular audience...very nice business suits. I go home via Paul's Parking Shuttle...very different shuttle... sometimes the breaks don't work. At home I continue to watch and cry for a hopeless situation. How terrifying - no escape!

I begin my painting with a bird on the wing with the storm at its back and a woman gathering unripe oranges from a potted tree. Birds and flowers are the key in many of my paintings. Wild vs. Tame..The wild can flee at least.

As the newscasts continued, the line between survivors and sufferers was clear. It is money. Apparently birds aren't the only free things...so are the wealthy. A new heightened awareness of such divisions filters into my daily life. I watch the business shuttle crowd back and forth, blithely batting at their blackberries waiting in line to jump to the next city. And the airport workers, many from hard luck parts, thinking an airport job was golden... it had benefits ..but fighting every day for that extra shift, figuring out child care or bills or how to change their life either by school or a race horse. I am one of them. If anything beyond the regular happens- our lives turn upside down. A missing babysitter or a car problem puts a job in jeopardy. The job is everything, no matter how horrible it is.

My painting grew business men...and a plane.

I don't think I finished this until 2007. Touching the painting made me sad. The philosophers and psychologists all talk about the beauty and pleasure art brings. They attest that pleasure is what drives the production of art. Where can my send a letter of dispute?

I often wonder why I paint such things. I called on a higher power for a proper finish. The painting emerges from a watery wash of bright reds to rich dark earthy tones, thick lines, ...Diego Rivera used these heavy lines in his paintings of peasants, farmers, business moguls, politicians, the poor and the powerful...It is appropriate. I think he would approve. I wanted him in on this painting.

On the way through this painting all related things showed themselves. As I watched some struggle, I saw strength. As I watched others create turmoil, I saw their weakness. The political system in place did homage to the Dark Ages with Intelligent Design and religion as righteous mask to underhanded business.

This painting leads me to ideas of medieval thought process in contemporary times. My next paintings lay in wait of a day off.