With summer nearing quickly, so is my time in Israel, and this is causing me a bit of a panic. Have I painted the bedroom enough? Have I painted anything enough? Two years ago, my fiance came up with a new problem to solve in the world of condensed matter physics, and two days ago he found the solution. It is an enormous relief and a cause for celebration, a marvelous achievement after an important post-PhD assignment at the Weizmann Institute – but it also means that we will be moving on to a new place soon. New problems to create and solve. Packing, moving, and unpacking. Looking for a new apartment, discovering a new neighborhood.
I can’t quite relate to the kind of relief he is feeling, even though the parallels between painting and physics are so striking. As a painter, I can spend a heck of a long time on a painting, trying to resolve it as I discover new problems along the way – but whether the official “end” of a painting refers to relief and the solution to the problem is another unknown. I can paint a ton of failures, one after the other, filling a room with them. The worst is perhaps when I paint a failure but don’t know it. Just last week, I splurged on 30 new wooden panels. They are not too large (for moving and packing) but already I have started paintings on nine of them. I am trying to balance the urge to paint more with the desire to paint sincerely and honestly and with the knowledge of limited time and impending change.
As I paint my messy home with nostalgia of our time in Israel, I am looking forward greatly to knowing what our new home will be, knowing that it is around the corner. Somewhere and sometime soon. Although we can change countries and cultures with a mere airplane ride, I think that the memories of places stretch from one place to another, exerting themselves on how we think and what we find important, despite the distance of time and place.