My grandmother comes to my dreams as a spirit with long flowing hair wearing a blanket that shared the path of my life for a time and has long since taken another trail. She looks in on my dreams from time to time to see if I am well; as grandmothers often do. Sometimes she sings and other times she hums an ancient tune long forgotten by those in the world of the living. Each time my spirit recognizes the song as it fills me with her light and her love. When I awake I can never remember the tune in my mind: perhaps it is not for me to know this song rather a blessing she gives to my spirit.
This drawing does not necessarily resemble my grandmother when she was amongst the living but is how she reveals her spirit to me in my dreams. She once had dark black flowing hair but did not or could not wear it long for reasons unknown to me. I met her when she was older and she would tell me of the times when she was young. I feel the youth of her spirit in my dreams and I tried to express it in this drawing. The evolution of this image goes back a few years when I was trying to render spirits I have seen. I used a form of elongated jaw pushed forward to make the face and head look longer and narrower. The inspiration for this physical image came from a photo I took of a sketch of a female head. I took the photo from the bottom of the drawing which elongated it. I didn’t think much of it at the time I made it. Only after spending some time just looking at both the drawing and the photo did I make the connection. I think Grandma was being patient with me as I struggled to receive her urging.
The small circle in the upper right (facing) of the drawing represents the sacred or divine. Although my circle is far from perfect the circle in nature, in the universe is absolutely perfect and sacred. I received this teaching from an amazing artist Joe Geshick at a show he had many years ago at the gallery at St. Catherine’s University. He spoke of respecting sacred objects within his Anishinabe culture and that he would not depict them in his paintings. He chose instead to represent the divine by using the sacred shape. This was very moving to me and I do my best to follow his example.