Facing the Vast Beyond

Red Shoes Make Me Free by Elizabeth Luallen

Endless Summer Wax Painting by Elizabeth Luallen, circa 1993

Gazing out over the vastness of the ocean, the freedom of possibility seems endless. But what actually awaits us? Oblivion? Death? An alternative title to this work created shortly be fore the artist’s death, was “Red Shoes Make Me Free.” One can conclude “I did it!” when one faces the final chapter of life. Contemplation itself is the reward for all the spent energy, cast one way or another, from folding laundry to penning a masterpiece.

There is no end. Even the end of life poses infinite possibility. If nothing is known for certain, then isn’t it possible that more awaits than meets the naked eye? Something deep inside tells us so, if the candle of beauty hasn’t been completely snuffed out. The figure in the beach chair seems to be know that and is content with contemplating the beauty in that knowledge.

the ferris wheel, by Elizabeth Luallen, 1991

the spinning of uncertainty

the spinning of uncertainty

We have all felt the spin of uncertainty, the turning of the unknown. Everyone stands back fascinated, bewildered at their own curiosity, and above all, worried as to the outcome.
But we all know how it will end: just as it has begun. We have paid admission for the ride, volunteered our lives in the turning pursuit that eventually brings us back down to earth. It’s all been simply an amusement ride. Or has it?

Elizabeth Luallen painted this picture in 1991 shortly before discovering she had terminal cancer. And yet, all along, she had suspected as much.
We go up, we go down, we go all around. And then, the ride is over; the pleasure past. All that awaits, is to find out whether we have one more ticket.