I hurt my shoulder over the weekend. I lifted my heavy bag of paint and jackets off the airplane one too many times. So, I came back and painted Alex’s jacket with one arm somewhat useless. I was reminded of all of those advocates out there who work constantly in a lot of pain or while managing a chronic condition. I finished up Alex’s Jacket, while rubbing my shoulder and muttering under my breath, “I need a massage.” Well, I could not squeeze a massage into my crazy schedule, but I could paint one.
This is Ann Bartlett’s Jacket: Baring my Soul.
Ann was one of the first people I received a jacket from. She met me way back in May to discuss her jacket. Ann is very fit. She is a runner who also is a massage therapist and she manages chronic diabetes.
On Ann’s Jacket a woman lies face down awaiting the touch of healing hands. She is nude and her long hair is tucked bedside her head. Her arms are placed at tight angles, and her head rests upon unseen hands.
Little tongues of fire rise from her shoulders. These flames are purple and yellow. The purple is for healing and the yellow is for reiki light. It was such a calming meditation to paint this image. The brush flowed upon the muscles with the same grace as a sumi-e brush flows creating bamboo.
Upon the lower back above the right buttock is tattooed the text 120#bgnow. That is a twitter reference to blood glucose now. The 120 is Ann’s target number for best controlling her condition.
In the center between the shoulder blades, a face stares out at the viewer. This is the soul, this is the almost angel inside of us all. This jacket is telling us Ann’s words: “the sum total of the patient is more than the body.”
But, oh, what a body, can you imagine attending a conference dressed in this? Can you imagine showing this much skin even if it is only painted skin? Imagine the shocked stares, the sideways glances, the giggles at the body so displayed.
I wonder how many people will stop to look a little deeper at the soul inside.