05 April 2009

Under the Needle

I grew up with a father who was in the Navy. He traveled overseas for a few tours, and as many did in the 70s came back with a lot of tattoos. Leaving the Navy and resettling back in upstate NY, along with a wife who was SO not a body art appreciater, he stopped adding to the collection.

Then one year, while I was finishing college, my dad won a radio contest. To get a new tattoo. Live on the air. I went with him that day - and I was hooked. I came home the next summer getting my first tattoo - a Celtic knot crescent moon on my shoulder. In the following years I added three more to my body, each coming with a personal reason, a meaning that still resonates in my soul today.

I knew last year I wanted a new one, and decided to get my first color piece. Playing with ideas of things I love from past and present (The Cheshire Cat? Knitting Needles?) I decided to bring my love of autumn into play. I have developed more of a love for nature, and have always had a curiosity for Pagan and Wiccan beliefs, but couldn't really convince myself to get the Green Man. Then I found a picture of a plaque online of the Green Lady, and the Autumn Lady was born from thought.

A year went by before I could get it - I knew this would be costlier than anything I had done. I decided to get it done locally, and researched a few shops before deciding on Miraculous Creations. I picked Eddy for his portfolio work - his portrait work is very good. I brought the image of the plaque and some autumn leaves I wanted to work in, but his discussed how trying to change the image that much could make it appear worse, but we could certainly make it with the autumn colors.

And so it began.

I stepped into the shop thinking that this would be a one visit tattoo. All my work before has been black, and most of it is not solid, so a 1 1/2 - 2 hour job is what I am used to. Eddy told me it would probably be two: first for outline and shading, second for color. Okay, no problem. Of course, I was also flying out to Indiana that same evening. After 2 1/2 hours, he finished the outline and booked me another appointment for two weeks later to finish.

For my next - and thought final - visit I booked a four hour session. The outline has healed well. Eddy wanted to start by adding shading that would be covered with the color. I definitely wanted autumn colors, oranges and yellows, maybe reds, plus brown and some green. I knew my autumn lady would have green eyes. A hint of the seasons that lead to her time.

However, as artists work, art takes on a meaning and vision of its own. Three hours in, with another client on the way, both of us knew that she wouldn't get color. With the wider shading needles being used, my arm wasn't ready to have any more work done anyway. So, we booked another three weeks later.

Unfortunately my son got sick the same day, and the shading still hadn't quite healed, so we rescheduled for another two weeks.

Eddy and I both joked that we'd never do a piece like this again - at least until the pain wore off. We decided to keep the outer leaves in more browns and a faint olive green, with yellow and orange towards the face.

Yesterday the vision was completed. It isn't the one I started the journey with, nor is she the one I thought I would end up with when I sat in the chair at noon. I have learned that Truth almost always manifests differently than expectation - but it is still Truth. And she is beautiful.

I wonder what I will get next?