Artist’s Statement: Learning to Float

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As with most artists, the genesis of my work is rooted to personal observation of my psyche and life journey. I feel that we sometimes find ourselves on the journey of life confronted with having to learn the fundamental principle of acceptance of difficulty and hardship.
I remember staying at a hotel in Sienna, Italy, when I was in my late 30s with a friend who had told me that he had never learned to swim and was terrified of being in the water. The hotel had a beautiful swimming pool and the weather was warm, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to help my friend conquer his fear. We got into the pool and, cradling his head in my hands, I encouraged him to trust that I would not let go and asked him to breathe steadily and allow the rest of his body to calmly float in the water. After a while, when he had become totally relaxed and tranquil, I slowly removed my hands without telling him, and he eventually became aware of himself floating, all on his own, perfectly at peace and no longer anxious. He later became a dedicated and frequent swimmer.
In my painting, we see a doctor leaning against wall, perhaps early in the morning or late at night. Her eyes are closed. Has she just experienced a difficult birth, or a death, or perhaps a procedure that required making hard decisions? Or is she simply fatigued by the long hours and taxing work? She is at that moment of having to practice acceptance, a lesson repeated over and over and which we all have to experience from time to time in our lives, learning to let go of our fears and anxieties—learning to float.
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