Sometimes, the truth hurts.

I made a painting today, thanks to a wealth of time and quietude. I had a sketch, my colours picked, the right size canvas. I had a plan.
And then, I started to paint. And nothing went according to that plan.

The painting I ended up with was dark and harsh. Textured and vivid. Disturbing.
I used to make peaceful paintings, things of beauty. Bright colours, sweeping lines.
Paintings to draw you in.
Now I make raw paintings, things of turmoil. I use the same colours, the same brushes, the same techniques. But something entirely different comes of it.
Paintings that won’t let go.

When I paint, I go someplace else. My body is there, my hand steady, my mind choosing this colour or that, this stroke, that shape. But my self is elsewhere. In an alternate dimension.
Think of walking meditation, just with a paintbrush.
And therefore, this is why my latest paintings disturb me so. Because they are a manifestation of my inner self, splashed onto a canvas. Primal. If they are dark and harsh and churning and raw, it is because I am.

I’ve got a show coming up, I’ve been asked to display two paintings. One, or a dozen, would have been an easier request. But with two, I have to somehow match them together in some way. By colour, or theme, or technique, or era. And due to the space restrictions in the display hall, they have to be the same width. I chose the first piece easily, one I made several years ago. And then got stumped trying to find another that was the same width that would be appropriately complementary. So, as I often do when faced with an opportunity to show my work, I decided to make a new piece just for the occasion – which would also solve my width problem.
The type of painting that I used to do, that is, pre-motherhood, is distinctly different than what I seem to be producing now. And I’m not sure I’m ready to hang all of that rage and despondance and frustration and bitterness up on a wall. For me to admit to. For the world to see.

I have so little chance to paint these days. When I have the energy, I don’t have the time. When I have the time, I don’t have the energy. And so when I finally get in front of an easel, I want it to be the perfect experience, my hand flowing and sure, the bright colours exploding magically into something completely stunning.
If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that today, my hand was flowing and sure. The painting is stunning. Stunning in its intensity, its power, its truth. It is utterly evocative. I just don’t happen to like what it evokes.

I always wanted to create paintings that were accessible, gorgeous, inspiring. Something I would want to hang on my wall that would make me happy with every glance. Now I find myself creating paintings that are gripping, disturbing. They are paintings that make me think.
Paintings that hold too much truth.

I made a painting today. That’s what matters. I made one, and it is complete – a smoldering emotion-laden bomb of a painting. It needs no tinkering or softening, no second thoughts or misgivings.
It just needs a wall.


1 comment so far

  1. Lynn on

    Well, if your art is as lovely as your words, it’s sure to impress. Hope the show goes very well and you don’t feel too exposed with your new art on the wall.

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