Art is a fortune teller

An artist, simply by being honest to the sense of the world, can tap into future realities. – Makoto Fujimura, Art + Faith (77)

Clairvoyance (23 March 2023)

In a box of free stuff left on a stoop in Fort Greene: a lightly used pad of watercolor paper. You’ve never painted before, nor ever had a desire to try, and it has been years really since you have done any drawing. But you take the pad. It has something to tell you, it seems. And for whatever reason, you decide to listen.

On your walks around Brooklyn in the months leading up to this moment, you had started taking pictures of the creatures and the animals and the humans you were perceiving in the stains and splatters on the sidewalks and the sides of buildings. They were everywhere, just like they always had been; it’s just that the idea of paying attention to them had never occurred to you before. You’d started taking the pictures, because, like the pad of watercolor paper, these things had something to tell you. What?

Cracks for Clairvoyance

Paint us and we will tell you, they say.

Waterstain for Femme promenant son chien, ses oiseaux et sa petite baleine enragée (Fort Greene)

And so you paint. You title the first piece Femme promenant son chien, ses oiseaux et sa petite baleine enragée. It is dated 29 February 2020. A leap year. A time for love, healing, and teaching.

Femme promenant son chien, ses oiseaux et sa petite baleine enragée (29 Feb 2020)

Floating forward in the air, the woman in the painting radiates an air of calm confidence. It’s a façade, of course. That’s not a blue hem at the bottom of her dress; it’s a little angry whale. And those are flightless birds crusting on her body. This cumbersome whale and these grounded birds are weighing her down. They are killing her. She will never be free of them unless she faces them; unless she listens to them, and then lets them go.

God knows this. He also knows that there is nothing better suited to guide her in the work it will take to do this than a dog. And he already has the perfect one picked out for her. She’s in the painting, attached to the woman’s arm. A little beagle, as far as I can tell. A little beagle by the name of Sophie.

Sophie was born two days before this one, which is to say 27 February 2020. She will spend the first 13 months of her life in a medical lab before being brought to live with you in your apartment on Adelphi Street only a short week after you’ll sign up to foster a dog in early April 2021. It will be a spectacular fail; you will know from the moment you see her face through the window of the rescue worker’s truck that you will adopt her. You won’t regret it. She will teach you what it means to love and be loved unconditionally. She will help you grow more patient and kind and forgiving. She will show you what it means to live in the moment. She will lead you, naturally, back to God. Which, in case you never noticed, is dog spelled backward.

Sophie at home in Providence (2022)

5 thoughts on “Art is a fortune teller”

  1. I knew that Sophie was a muse for your fanzine on the near universal feeling of meetings (the power of that side-eye!) but I hadn’t known the full history. Art and expression seem to find us when we most need it, just as our little furballs do.
    Thanks for posting! Looking forward to more.

  2. Isn’t it curious how all of the pieces of the puzzle always connect in retrospect? How human of us that in the moments we are accumulating these pieces, we don’t even see them in our hands! Then again, how lucky are we that we continue to receive new opportunities to listen, no matter how many times we’ve closed our ears before. I’ll keep listening (and keep reading)! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I really loved this story; probably one of the best that I’ve read of yours. Brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful life this dog was chosen to have.
    They truly do love unconditionally❤️❤️


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