In the last two weeks I have been struggling with changing the name of my Syria pieces- for one thing so many people are clueless as to what is going on in Syria, and for another I realized that a more apt title is Conflict. So, I am renaming Syria 1,2,3 and soon 4,  Conflict No. 1,2,3,4.

This series is a killer and yet it is teaching me a lot about myself and my subject matter. The work is painstaking and I can only really manage it a couple hours at a time. But it gives me so much time to think- to be grateful that I am as lucky as I am- not being shot at, not losing a child, not dealing with severe health issues, or the dissolution of a family- all influences behind the Conflict series. The parallels are interesting:

Resolving conflict is hard, and complicated. And indeed assembling this latest piece has been a bear. Like real conflict it has been a challenge to see how all of the pieces are put together- and understanding that one piece a little bit off kilter can upset the whole. I have been laboring over this piece and the engineering is so difficult- I am making slow progress.

Balance is critical. Seeing all the sides of conflict is important but often it is a long process where one false move can through everything off. And as I stand on the top of my three step step-stool, I appreciate that more than ever.Teetering at the top of an unstable ladder is unnerving.

If there is a problem it will not go away by itself. Ignoring it is not a solution. I stared at one area in the piece that was not right. I looked at it and looked at it, knowing that fixing it was a long laborious process. But in the end, I had to fix it- taking 4 hours or precious time yet improving the final outcome.

Sometimes you have to walk away to get a clear picture. Cease fires and detentes sometimes give needed breathing room. And in the middle of struggling with this piece, I know the smartest thing I can do it walk away, do something else, and let myself rest a while and gain perspective.

Sometimes the solution is right in front of your nose. That does not make it any easier. I stare and stare at how to assemble this piece, imaging where seams will have to go, where miters have to be inset. Yet once I figure that out, I still have to do it.