Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Step-by-Step and Thank You to Family, Friends, and Fans

The reactions to "Learning to Leave," the new painting I posted on Sunday, have been astounding beyond words.

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who's written me emails and comments in its wake. The expressions of support and acts of kindness have been overwhelming. It feels like people are there physically trying to prop up the characters in the painting, and the experience of putting the painting out there and the warm reception has kickstarted the healing process for me. People saying they've been inspired by something I've done is the highest compliment that I could possibly receive. People saying they've looked at it and can relate deeply to their own experiences, or that it brought tears to their eyes... I hope everyone knows how much that means to me.

To close this note, here's one of my favorite videos of the figure skaters I mentioned in my last post. They're so beautiful that I don't care if it's not directly related to painting. It is art, and inspiration comes from all over the place. My post-Olympic crying jag helped prepare me for everything that's come out of my brush since then, so I owe them my thanks too.


Now back to the painting for a minute, I always save iterations while I work, so for the curious, I put together a step-by-step gif of the process:

When art resonates with people, it tends to open the door for some great discussions and exchanges of ideas. My friend and fellow artist Adam Paquette and I had an eye-opening conversation about symbolism over email. We talked about the use of the skull as an universally-accessible metaphor for loss, and what other ways one might be able to convey relationship separation visually. I always feel honored when I get to pick his brain. Discussion about the use of the classical "ballet toe" came up on Facebook as well, and to sum that up, I do think it's important to be cautious about using gestures or poses that look off-balance. It was a risk I took with this, and I'm still not 100% sure it reads properly as weakness, but I'll carry that consideration forward into my next paintings.

Anyway, enjoy the process images, and I'll be back soon with more art. Here's to better days ahead, and great things to come. Love to you all.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Learning to Leave," New Personal Work, and Updates

Allow me to break my silence for a few minutes and share with you what's been going on with me lately. (warning: human feelings)

Over the holidays, my husband and I began the long, sad process of getting a divorce. I spent most of January packing my things (about 80% of which was my art studio), and moved into an apartment about 45 minutes away from my former home. I chose to move, and on the record, the separation was mutual and amicable. That's not to say that I'm not hurt and struggling, and my internet silence has been a direct result of that.

Heartbroken doesn't quite describe it. I've been feeling such mixed emotions that it's hard to lock in on one, and sometimes they come back to back with a completely opposite emotion; I was enjoying the freedom of watching the Olympic figure skating pairs at 2:00 in the morning, until Maxim Trankov embraced Tatiana Volosozhar at the end of their winning performance, and I started crying uncontrollably. "They're so beautiful. That's what I always thought love should look like."

"Learning to Leave", 2014, Digital Painting

A better thing to call it might be grief. This painting is a symbolic interpretation of my current state of mind, and also a literal self-portrait x 3. In it, the first aspect clings to the past and mourns for her loss (and failure to save her relationship). The second is the voice of reason- she's responsible for quieting the grief when she can (in realistic terms, she keeps me from posting horrible things on Facebook when I'm upset), but she's also fragile and sometimes too weak to have any effect. The third aspect is ready to begin anew, though for the time she's stuck behind the other two, waiting for them to finish their grieving process. She exists but lacks an identity of her own yet, so we don't see her face. I thought the flower petals were a nice symbolic nod to both path-making and weddings.

This painting is about as stream-of-consciousness as it gets while still using photo references and obeying (most of) the technical rules of art-making. I started it at 8:00 PM on Valentine's Day, and finished up this morning, taking a day's break in between. Make of it what you will, I just really needed to get this out before moving forward with my artwork and my life.


So, that's what's going on right now. I'm working on getting back into a healthy, positive groove- slowly it's happening but it will take time, and I thank everyone for their patience with me. Until next time.

*EDIT: I feel embarrassed for not giving a shout-out to all my wonderful friends and family. My life is not ALL doom and gloom- I've had an incredible support network helping me through this. From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys so much. <3

[Prints available in my Print Store]