Arts Seven Sins: This could be an inferno purgatory; it could be hellfire and brimstone, it’s not. Penelope Montgomery was well into her 70s. Lived in a remote desert town 22 miles northeast of US Route 6 in Nevada. Those that lived there were mostly misfitted out of society.
Penelope was born and raised in Chicago Illinois, she graduated from the Chicago Art Institute with honors. Spent many years as a productive and selling artist, then something changed. The art world and she parted ways, setting her on the path of becoming a recluse. At this stage of her life most of her kin were gone, and she never took the time to become a bride. Penelope’s life in the middle of nowhere is best described as a statement she painted on one of the outside walls of her house and it read something like this, “my art made me vain and self-indulgent.”
Was Penelope creating a visual repentance, a self -abasement for a conception she created for herself. There were a total of seven scriptures that she enshrined on the outside walls of her humble dwelling. Another one read like this, “I abandoned beauty in all of my art, for the sake of being licentious.” On the south facing wall Penelope added three more. Starting with, “I centered myself only on me, and cared not for anyone.” The next one read like this, “I gave the ideas of others and made them my own.” The last one on the south wall that Penelope added was a bit disturbing and read like this, “I used my skill with paint and brush to slander the views of others.”
One day Penelope walked away from her home and sat on a rock and stared into the sun with every intention of practicing sun gazing in order to center herself. But in her usual mercurial way, she got up and went back to her home and walked around it looking at all of her old statements she painted on the exterior walls. It all of a sudden occurred to her that being an artist is not necessarily a perfect life and she realized that she shared her creativity with thousands of people. Those people benefited from her creations in so many ways that it would be difficult for any one person to define.
“The creators of art live each hour in self talk
that is a fantasy.”
Rod Jones artist writer