So many of my friends are dealing with a parent who is growing older and has dementia or Alzheimer’s. I see the emotions well up when they discuss it, I see the longing for the person they know in their eyes, and I sense the huge amount of loss they feel when the realization of their family member still being here, but their mind being lost becomes quite real. My mother-in-law suffered through this, though I met her after it had set in, so I missed getting to know the incredible woman that she was. This journal page connected me with the sense of loss, of disconnectedness that one must experience from not only the aging process and disease, but from the sheer act of closing oneself off to the world due to fear or various other reasons.
I used the same process of my other pages, sketching from shapes and inspirations in my natural world and from those that I remember. As the image begins to develop, I think through the sense of message and lesson the page seeks to represent.
I intentionally left the majority of the woman figure without color, symbolizing the void of self that she represents, but surrounded by outrageous color just out of her reach. There is also the use of color blocking which mimics the physical blocks placed in the path from these experiences. I can’t say that I fully am at ease with these pages, as they are markers of so much life transition, but I do think of these concepts often and wonder how to make an impact just the same.
This journey of art journaling has been the most profound for me yet. I make a record of my daily thoughts, my environment, my connectedness to an art history that I am just beginning to understand, and I feel as though each brushstroke teaches me a little more about myself and the world I have come to love. What a power the act of painting and writing can be when combined on the page.