Monday, June 24, 2013

New digital painting, "Unfinished Melody"

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.


  1. It takes quite a bit of courage to post something so personal.
    The image is gorgeous and your creative commitment is tremendously impressive.

    Keep it up!
    Can't wait to see your table at IlluxCon!

  2. Thanks for posting this piece, and the personal story behind it. I fell out of love with my entire body of work not too long ago, and while it's somewhat bleak to think that these struggles continue even as one progresses (my god, am I still going to feel this way when I'm that good??), it's also kind of comforting to know that that discontentment with work that's "good enough" is, if not universal, at least something that other artists grapple with.

    Congratulations on creating something that's not just meaningful, but also visually epic - the Red Wedding was the first thing that came to mind when I saw it.

    1. Really glad that you got a lot out of it, thank you. I think the haunting feeling of shame over releasing work that wasn't the artist's best definitely continues forever, in every artist who want to keep growing. I plan on writing more about that someday...

  3. Wow, it does sound like you received some really bad advice. So glad you're picking yourself up. We all find ourselves in such places and so many people roll over and die that it's inspiring every time someone refuses to. Wishing you every success.

  4. Painting is the art of creating pictures by applying color to a face. Also Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface. I get pleasure the information you are providing in your website about painting. Thanks

  5. Deep, Very Deep. Also Inspiring!
    I love how every detail in the work, expressed a more bigger truth, a feeling or emotion that you have now or have experience.
    I can tell you really thought you work through, allowing your emotions to touch the viewer. So in a way his work is comparable to binoculars into you heart and mind, Brilliant, Just brilliant.
    Art is a tough career for sure and I hope that you continue in you hard work, pushing through the many obstacles till you reach your goal.

  6. Deep in love with it. Congrats!