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Where Lightning Hall Gets Its Name

What is Lightning Hall?

Lightning Hall is the name of my art studio, but until now, I haven’t really answered any of your questions about why.
So, my friends, the time has come…
Lady In Red With Lightning - a painting made in Lightning Hall
Lady In Red With Lightning.  7 7/8 x 8 inches, oil paint on paper, made in Lightning Hall, 2019.

Struck

It was well after the witching hour, and many moons ago when I was driving home from my painting studio in Albany, New York, to the city of Troy.  The roads were an empty, slick asphaltum black that darkened as it began to rain.  My chariot and I were driving through water deep enough to have its own current (pardon the pun) when the lightning struck and electrocuted the road-river right next to me.  It is a missing moment.  I became aware of what had happened when I heard the sound receding and my eyes recovered from the glare. Somehow, I continued driving, but I was not properly inhabiting my flesh.  There was a new awareness of the spaces where liquid flows inside my form and the zapping, electrified wetness between my teeth and bones.  In that way, I was peripherally connected to my body, but my entire consciousness seemed to be operating from completely outside of my skin.  In the same way that you probably feel your consciousness originates from somewhere inside your head,  mine was suddenly located far out in the night sky.  Boundaries disappeared.  The sky became my seat of perception, and stars filled my body.  I could sense where the next lightning would strike as if from within my long arm.  Somehow I made it safely home, and eventually returned to my skin, but this sensation of disintegration and unification worked its transformative magic upon me.  I’ve been constantly inspired ever since.  This is why I call my studio Lightning Hall.

Current Events

A few days after it all happened, I was driving back from a visit to my uncles in Athens, when I had a peculiar inkling that something was off with the car.  I continued ‘roading’ over the hills, and suddenly found a mechanic’s garage, which appeared on the horizon like a Homeric vision.  I asked the man to see if the car was okay.  I had a bad feeling about it. The mechanic hoisted the car up for inspection and there was a great ship-hull shuddering sound right before the entire bottom of the car fell to the ground.  The thing had completely oxidized and was dripping rust.  He said if I’d continued past him on that hill, the brake line and all would have dropped out and I wouldn’t have been able to stop.  Being indirectly struck by lightning had seemed so impossible, like a dream.  It only occurred to me years later that the car had absorbed most of the shock and I probably should have had it looked at afterward.  But those particular days were often so unbelievable, and full of the experiential magic, that at some point I began to treat reality as symbolic streams of consciousness, including the dangers and difficulties.  Even as it was happening, it felt more like an adventure than real life.  So heed me, all you mysterious creatures wandering the nomadic and interstitial realms.  Though others may not believe your history, don’t let their lack of wild living prevent you from believing in yourself enough to take care of your body and many chariots.  Whatever IT was, nobody had to see it for it to impact you.  Take care of your You. You deserve that much, whether anyone’s looking, or not.
Have you ever doubted your own experiences until some physical evidence appeared?  Tell me about it on Instagram, where you can see what’s created in Lightning hall before the rest of the world, and get first dibs on new work: @sarahzarstudio

I’ll be adding more surreal lightning paintings over time, so feel free to pin this page and check in again later:

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