Friday, April 5, 2013

Counting the Omer with Visual Journaling - Day 11

Today is the 11th day, making one week and 4 days of the Omer.  Persistence within Discipline;  Enduring Strength:  Netzach within Gevurah.  Because it is Shabbat (Sabbath), there is again the spiral stamp, this time within the large Gevurah circle. This is the first time I use puzzle pieces on the left to keep some areas clear of the background watercolor, available for text.

The quote in the puzzle piece is from Rabbi Yael Levy's Counting the Omer, A Journey through the Wilderness:  "The strength to go forward...knowing that our actions unfold beyond anything we can ever see or know."

I  visited the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) today for a last look at The Female Gaze:  Women Artists Making Their World.  In the permanent collection next door were several works by Susan McDowell Eakins.  It was the first time I discovered that Thomas Eakins' wife was also a painter!  It turns out she was his student but painted little after they married, spending most of her time supporting his career.  He died in 1916, and she returned to painting up until the 1930's.  She died in 1938.  Thirty-five years after her death she had her first one-woman exhibition at PAFA.

In person, this painting of hers was extraordinary.  The background was so subtly abstract, exquisitely beautiful in a very contemporary way.

If Susan Eakins' life is not an example of persistence in strength, I don't know what is.  She may have conformed to the woman's role of her historical era, but her devotion to painting never disappeared.  She persisted, never knowing how her actions would unfold beyond her death.  Perhaps it was - and is - beyond anything she could have seen or known...


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