It is interesting that a friend would want a plaster cast made of her belly. She wants the memory of her pregnant body at 8 months after the inception of a boy who would be loved by both mother and father in this unstable world. Six faithful and loving friends engaged in a beautiful ritual of casting a pregnant woman’s body. Friends who anticipated the joy of watching a young one grow into health – one who would amaze the community with his insight and charm. Alas, not to be a physical presence…Kai died before he saw the light of this world on the day before he was announced to be born.
As a friend and artist who had participated in the casting, I was asked to paint the pregnant shape. Especially after Kai’s passing, the process was emotionally charged, but the design laid down with a smoothness guided by the unknown. One challenge for me was to paint on a rounded canvas. I love tracing the path of paintings on the delicate eggs by the artist, Feather, so I began following the curves of the cast with a brush. The scenery may be familiar to Big Bend, but it is definitely a landscape created without reference to photographs. Also, the fish in this painting reached new heights over other fish and desert scenes. I aspired to have the ocotillo branches reaching off a cliff with the river flowing below the floating fish. So much symbolism surfaced, but I set those ideas aside as I concentrated on the painting.
On the one year anniversary of Kai’s death, Ceil and Bob and the dogs went with me to a lovely, shaded canyon where they saw the painting for the first time. It was very calm and peaceful. Yes, the impression of Kai lives on, and the parents will always honor his brief life.
I honor the family as they try for another pregnancy.