45 Pages Project: Commissioned Gifts When my client showed us an old Spanish-English dictionary he had recovered from a school Library, I was intrigued. I love old books, especially ones with illustrations, and this one was quite old and had very lovely illustrations. It was also full of termite holes. I knew immediately that this book had a story. When he told us it belonged to his father, I was even more delighted. Here was a book that had been purchased for purely functional purposes by an American couple living in Guatemala—and it somehow ended up in a place where termites had made it their meal, it had survived the attack and then it had gone off to a library. Then that man’s son was given the book years later by someone who had found it by accident. And now that man was showing it to his family in the United States. It’s a tiny cross-section of a giant weaving, but it seemed like an incredible glimpse into the interconnected story that is being writing in all of our lives. I kept seeing how united our stories are, like a big nest of lines that all led into each other and back out again. A strong pattern forms by the crashing together of your story and mine, and the person who commissioned these pieces, and his father and mother’s, and the friend who found the book, and the friend who taught me about encaustic, and the people who had the idea to start the school, and the friend who told me about beauty, and the parents who taught you to love well, and on and on into spaces and plot lines that we cannot even imagine at present. If we panned out through time this must look like a giant beautiful map: all the roads intersecting and passing on, gathering together at points, circumventing or plunging through mountains, marking important sites and naming places to remember. When I started thinking about these paintings, I knew they would be inspired by the color and texture of vintage atlas pages and topographical maps, thin lines next to large pieces of color, tiny textures hidden among rises and valleys. My hope with these paintings is that there will be a lot for your eye to play with, and that over time more details will be discovered. These small works are not narrative or representative works. They ask instead to be attended to, to be sat with, to be ruminated over, without at first knowing the whole story. They invite the viewer to look, and look again, and yet again, until you start to see things that delight or challenge, things that seem lovely or disturbing, things that confuse or give way to beauty. The paintings are made up of layers that appear to different degrees in the same way we understand certain moments of our own story more clearly than others. Cloudy mysterious melted wax textures allude to the idea that we see through a cloud, never really understanding fully what work the Spirit is doing in and through us. And while it can be frustrating not to see the full image clearly, at least at first, there is a unique beauty offered to us in the diffused pieces we are able to see. Each of the 45 small paintings has a piece from the old dictionary embedded under the wax as well as a unique piece from a vintage atlas page.