painting by Krieg titeled Releasing the Beast
Releasing the Beast – 20″ x 20″ x 1-1/5″ mixed media painting on wood panel by Susan Krieg

Sometimes it’s best to just face one’s issues and release the heavy burden you’re carrying. I’ve been avoiding adding new posts or any new paintings since June 2019 shortly after painting this work titled ‘Releasing the Beast’. I painted it in May 2019. I knew there was something frightening in my life, something I needed to face, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. The painting was fairly spontaneous, no plans except that I wanted a face coming out of a dark crevice, virtually breaking through the fabric of my reality. Something I could take on face to face.

Upon completion I thought the painting was about inescapable death and that I needed to confront it. To me the image was disturbing and I preferred to hide it from view. I really didn’t know why I had birthed such a dark painting. At the same time I was happily painting little landscapes.

June 10th, a week after finishing the painting, doctors informed my husband that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and had about 5 months to live if he didn’t start chemotherapy immediately. Neither of us had any knowledge of cancer and its treatment. We started reading, researching and asking people what they knew. We were on a fast track education of the subject of cancer.  My husband started chemotherapy 10 days later. It’s been 7 weeks of treatment and in addition we are using meditation, affirmations, a vegan diet, positive beliefs about healing and basically changing everything about our previous stress-filled lives that we can think of.

Now when I look at this painting I feel hope, compassion, love and an emergence from confusion and turmoil. When one arrives at the brink of the abyss, the universe offers the choice of life or death. The wise sage-like figure on the left seems to channel the self wisdom one needs to understand  in order to get through the challenge. Making the choice provides a breakthrough and a release. We are choosing life.

I don’t know if it’s acceptable to talk about these things publicly, but the art I create comes from my heart and sometimes from the most primal part of my soul. To stop making art and to stop showing my art publicly seems counter-intuitive. I can only follow my instincts on this one and see what path art takes.