Saturday, October 6, 2012


Today's posting won't include a physical image, only one of those little life epiphanies I had to share with you all.   One that an artist would appreciate, especially.

I ran across a reference by Rachel Berman (Canadian painter) the other day concerning "pentimento".  Not the first time I'd heard or thought about the term, but this was the first time it had zinged my imagination.  According to Wikipedia, pentimento is:

 " alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent."

For instance, the pencil or ink sketches on a canvas that were the first images of the idea for a painting, and were evident through the brush strokes...  revealing that the artist changed her mind before the paint went on.   Or a previous painting painted over with a better idea.  

This word suddenly became a metaphor for instances in my life that had shifted from their initial intent, not limited to paintings or sculpture.  My life is a series of "pentimenti".   I now have a name for it, and it's respectable.  Endearing, even.  I can see my life as a series of minor masterpieces in a gallery, some upon inspection reveal mysterious fossils of the first impulse before an eventual paint-over.     


  1. It is a wonderful metaphor. Your post helped me to put some things in my own life into perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm so glad, Joyce! It's been quite a revelation for me, too. It's even changed the way I see my work... I'm not wasting so much time trying to make things look clean and "perfect", as I realize those first (and still evident) marks ARE an important part of the project. And the same for my life. The regrets I carry for very human mis-steps or inappropriate first impulses I now feel affection for and even appreciation for. I'm now a devotee of the "Pentimento" school of philosophy. And if there isn't one, there should be!