I want to share with you my new digital painting, Unfinished Melody:
A girl, despite being injured and surrounded by death, is captivated by a melody in her head, and attempts to rise up so that she can finish playing it.
It’s simultaneously a narrative painting and a dramatic metaphor for the current state of my artistic career, as well as a minor nod toward my 2009 painting, Half Her Heart’s Duet, created during a time at which I also wanted to (figuratively) burn all my paintings and start over.
Unfinished Melody toys with various themes: obsession, vulnerability, strength through adversity, and creativity. Music and musical instruments represent creativity/creation in both this painting and the earlier Half Her Heart’s Duet, and the small, half-shadowed stringed instrument in this piece intentionally resembles the shape of the guards’ shields, suggesting that creativity is a form of protection. While painting, I thought of each arrow as a bad idea, or a piece of shoddy career advice I received somewhere over the last four years. Some of them were deflected, and some stuck. The broken one that's stuck in her (my) leg is the notion that just good enough is fine. It's not. Just good enough will kill you, slowly. Her intent to rise up mirrors my intention to bring my whole self back to my art, despite so much advice to the contrary.
The specific imagery I chose also (I think) relates to various bits of media I consumed during and just before creating this piece. For example, HBO's Game of Thrones had just aired its infamous Rains of Castamere (Red Wedding) episode a week prior, so [SPOILER] the idea of mass slaughter was fresh on my mind.[/SPOILER]
There’s also a tiny part in one of my all-time favorite TV shows, BBC’s Sherlock, where Moriarty is telling the famous tale of Bach hearing his son playing one of his songs at the piano and stopping before it was finished, so the dying composer got out of bed and finished it. That's where the title came from. I thought the idea of being 'unable to cope with an unfinished melody' was a perfect way to describe this painting and what it stands for to me personally as the obsessed artist.
In my next post, I'll talk a little bit about how it was made.