Location: Waltham, MA, United States
Completion date: 2017
Meg Black Studios
Gary Tardiff Photography
How does an artist decide on a title, a composition, a palette? How is a picture “worth 1000 words?” This painting, installed in a hospice facility, is titled “Rocks and Water as portrait of life’s journey.” The composition is meant to illustrate that while we prefer the smooth cool feel of the water, it is our resolve to overcome the rocks that we stumble upon in life that builds our strength. This metaphor reflects the mission of a hospice facility for which reflecting on life’s journey is pertinent. The painting measures 40 x 40 x 3.5 inches and is made of pigmented abaca. Abaca is a plant fiber from the Philippines used to make PPE and the fibers used in automobile manufacturing by Mercedes-Benz and other brands.
I had made two original artworks to coincide with the opening of this hospice facility. The other work was a nature scene based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau given the location of the facility close to Walden Pond where Thoreau wrote his famous essays. Thoreau moved to Walden Pond upon the death of his brother, a fitting tribute to a hospice facility.
For both works, the idea of original art that reflected life's journey, the trials and joys we all experience, the rocky patches and smooth sailing metaphors we all experience, was deemed appropriate subject-matter reflective of end-of-life care. Given this facility is in New England, where the rocky shoreline is a familiar sight, the subject of rocks and water as metaphor for life's journey provided the perfect tribute.
I worked with the staff of the hospice facility, the interior architects, and the construction crew, throughout the entire process. I visited the construction site on several occasions and made a video to share how I the subject of the artwork reflected life’s journey. In particular, I met with the CEO of the hospice organization frequently and developed a positive working relationship with her. The key to success on my end was timing-knowing when to contact her, how to establish methods for keeping track of the construction progress, and presenting a professional demeanor with punctuality, proper dress code and by hiring a professional photographer to photograph the installed work, my way of letting her know how much I appreciated her support for my work.