watercolor painting of split pomegranate by emily weil

daily painting | barnhill pom

In 2008 I stumbled into Leigh Hyams’ art workshop in Big Sur, CA where she split me open like a watermelon. It was there, with her guidance, that I began to take myself seriously as an artist. She pushed and prodded (sometimes gently, sometimes not) and somehow had a gift of getting her students to reach deep inside and create authentic expressions of art. It was magic and I’d never met anyone like her. I became a devotee on the spot and took every workshop she offered for the next few years, including studying with her in her casita in Mexico, where she died peacefully when in her 80s. She changed my life, and now that I too am teaching art, I aspire to also inspire, though I would never compare myself to her and her gift of teaching. So when I took out this photo of a split pomegranate I had taken near my home, it made me think of being opened up. Of life and how it cracks and breaks us apart, and how we try to let the fissures spill out the juicy stuff (like that saying, our wounds are where the light gets in). 

Recently I came across an article I clipped about Kelsey Grammer, the actor who was on “Cheers” and had his own show, “Frasier” (I may have mentioned him before in a post; if so, forgive me). His motto is, “Stagger on rejoicing,” which is from a W.H. Auden poem. When he was 15 his dad was murdered and his grandfather died later that year. His sister was attacked and killed and his two half-brothers died in a scuba accident. And he continues to live his best life despite more losses than anyone should bear. I am glad I stumbled (or maybe staggered) across that bit of newsprint from several years ago. I’m up. I’m vertical. I continue. I may have a few messy wounds that need stitching up, but I keep my first aid kit nearby (mostly filled with tubes of paint but there might be some Neosporin® in there too).

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor, acrylic on paper = $90