The Path of Unknowing - detail

The Path of Unknowing

The Path of Unknowing
The Path of Unknowing ~ 18″ x 80″ ~ construction scrap and pigment, on closet door.

Most of us, when we’re young, think we have an idea of the path our life will take.  And most of us, by the time we’re middle-aged, have realized that things aren’t turning out quite like we planned.  Often, our spirituality follows a similar trajectory; for a time, we think we have God figured out, but as we mature, we realize how much we don’t know.   The trick with either of these seems to be not the return to an earlier certainty, but rather learning to be okay with the mysterious and unexpected; to accept our un-knowing as healthy and comfortable.

One of the important tasks of life is to be able to take what we’re given, and work with it, and adapt as it changes, rather than wasting a lot of time wishing for something else.

Making something out of whatever comes is also an important part of my artistic journey, and this piece is especially an example of that.  The materials are almost entirely discards and scrap.  The foundation is a discarded bi-fold closet door, and the background is joint compound (drywall mud) colored with leftover house-paint colorant scraped from the bottoms of the jugs after being emptied into the paint-mixing system at a local hardware store.  The particle board circles that form one of the paths are from where a hole saw was used to allow flexible water pipe to pass through the floor joists for the radiant floor heat in the addition on my house.  Parts of the design are formed with rusty nails and wood trim corner pieces from the demolition of an old house, and the diamond shapes are the slats from a discarded venetian blind, cut on the diagonal.  Other paths are made with the leftover pieces of foundation ties, which hold the concrete forms together while a foundation is poured, then the ends are snapped off so the forms can be removed.  Rusting was accelerated with vinegar and salt.

Foundation ties
Used foundation tie ends. A complete one can be seen at the top.


The Path of Unknowing - detail
Detail of The Path of Unknowing, midway through application of pigment wash.

Comments: 2

  1. Jan, I love your creativity. Thank you for continuing to share your life with us!
    God Bless you!

  2. Julie says:

    Life is full of all kinds of of paths. We can’t predict what will happen to us or our families. We ask God for Protection and health. But as you say the path we dream of as a child isn’t always the path we take as we get older. May God guide us on the right path.!

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