Storytime: "I don't like how the red one tastes."

 

"I don't like how the red one tastes" is about my memory of blood transfusions in the hospital. The one clear thought back then was how, whenever the blood bag was connected and flowing into my mediport, I could taste copper at the back of my mouth and how I did not like "how the red one tastes."  

 "I don't like how the red one tastes." Ink on paper, 2017.

"I don't like how the red one tastes." Ink on paper, 2017.

 Calamondin Tree with fruit

Calamondin Tree with fruit

 "I don't like how the red one tastes." Acrylic, soft pastels, sand, pine needles, lace, fiber paste, and paper on canvas, 2018.

"I don't like how the red one tastes." Acrylic, soft pastels, sand, pine needles, lace, fiber paste, and paper on canvas, 2018.

The calamondin fruit tree is not only the medicine tree but also the frame of my hospital bed. Calamondin trees reference not only my mother's Filipino heritage (as she was my constant companion in the hospital) but stands in for the multiple times I was pricked by "thorns" (needles) to draw and test my blood during the course of treatment. I removed the ice cream and table seen in the ink study and added the flowers of the tree to show the medicine tree as life-giving as it holds the saline and blood bags. It's amazing how resilient children are undergoing cancer treatment protocols.

I used old family photos from that time period and online ones for my references. 

The completed painting includes pine needles embedded into fabric paste for the bark of the tree, butterfly paper and lace for my dress, pearlescent ink for the flowers and droplets and soft pastels for the portrait.