self-sustaining confusion

Confusion is the prelude to adventure…to our Colombian daughter from Dave and Dominique.

Self Sustaining Confusion, original

A/P, Self Sustaining Confusion, MAM

Can you include this inscription in the print? Dominique asks. Sure, I can. 

I’d met Maria Adelaida a couple of times before the art opening. She has an eagerness to her. Exuberant. Honest and open. A bit of shyness. Colombian. Big brown eyes. I notice them as she looks closely at my work. She is curious. She connects to a small print, the more intimate of the five works she’d been observing. Her body language tells me she is stirred. I walk over to where she stands.

The work is a mixed media, collage print titled Self-Sustaining Confusion. The title comes from physicist David Bohm‘s book On Creativity.  The phrase is his. The text within the composition derives from an NPR interview I happened to be listening to the afternoon I painted the first pull of the edition. The interview was with a scientist who discusses the chemistry of the brain at various states of awareness (or lack of).

The print resonates with her. She reacts emotionally then intellectually. It seems the composition allows her to clarify and put into words a general emotional state that had recently consumed her. I listen and I watch her hands as they point out detail. She tells of how weeks before, she had been confused and uncertain…she felt…like this! she says as she points to the image. I explain the intricacy is deliberate, none of it random. 

Confusion is natural, now and again, especially when one is presented with new opportunities and/or new challenges.  It can, in fact, be a part of the creative process. It will last as long as one allows it too.  She gets it. And she shows relief. I quietly wonder if she realizes how valuable this moment is to me.

dry pointed copper plate

dry pointed copper plate


Later that evening, after watching Maria Adelaida respond to the work, Dominique asks if I have another print. YesI believe I do.  And if I don’t, I know I can pull one. The copper plate is still in good condition. She wants to purchase a print for Maria Adelaida. She explains her friend is leaving the country on May 14. Very soon she will travel to Colombia to visit with family, then to Berlin to begin a post graduate degree. Ahhh! I understand more clearly the confusion and stress in the weeks before.

pulled a few prints

pull a few prints




I get on the print fairly quickly as the next day I realize I have to pull a new one. I pick the best run of the afternoon, and within a few days I am applying collage and painting in design. Though I am working from a photograph of the original, each work is a one of a kind print. They resemble each other, but never exactly.



collage and paint

Maria Adelaida Duque Correa will be moving on.  She came to the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale for a research intern position, in the immunology lab.  By the time she receives this gift of art, she will be closer to the end of this chapter in her story. The next will find her at the Max Plank Institute in Berlin where she begins work on a PhD in Immunology.  
Here! Here! To a very temporary state of confusion that clearly leads Maria Adelaida closer to her next adventure.

Esto será muy bueno para ti Maria Adelaida. ¡Mis mejores deseos! Ich möchte Dir alles Beste wünschen!


6/15, Self-Sustaining Confusion, MAM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s