On Art And IV’s, Part II

Untitled. Oil/wood. J.Paradisi 2008

I know I have successfully placed an IV when a “flash” of blood, visible in the clear plastic introducer of the angiocath, verifies that the catheter is in the vein and not soft tissue.  Entering the vein with a needle is accompanied by the sensation of a pop, which is so distinct that often the patient himself will tell me, “You’re in, I feel it.”

There’s seldom any blood letting when I make art (sometimes there is), but I bring the same sense of focus to both the IV procedure and the art process. I know a work is complete when I feel a sense of conviction about the choices I made.  Once, in a critique, the painting I presented was torn apart by the group. I was told to take out the blue, change the red; nothing worked.   A few weeks later, a member of the critique saw the painting again, and remarked, “You didn’t make any of the changes we suggested, have you?”  I hadn’t.  It turned out to be my best received painting to date, and I sold it.

In nursing, this sense of conviction is called trusting your gut.  During the twenty-two years I’ve been a nurse, it has served my patients and I well, particularly on the few occasions I’ve challenged an order by a doctor.

As I write these last few sentences, I realize that what I want to achieve in the words I write or the images I make is this sense of dynamic conviction, not an absolute or static truth.  Appreciation comes when my reader or viewer comments, “You’re in, I feel it.”


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