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.


Detail

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]

46 comments:

  1. I am also going through a break up at the moment, a really rough one. This is my first night alone in our old apartment. It feels so f***ing empty. It's good to see you are back in a mood that allows you to create again :) I can really relate to your feelings and this picture. I love it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear that! I can definitely relate on trying to get your work groove back, too- it will come with time. Wishing you the very best during your journey, Thole.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful Allegory Cynthia. I'm sorry you are going through all this but am glad you are working to make beauty from it. You are an amazing woman and have some wonderful things ahead of you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so sorry to hear...you are a wonderful, beautiful person, always remember that. And this painting is amazing

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cynthia, I am so sorry to hear of your breakup. I too am dealing with something similar. Mine is not quit at the splitting part but none the lest, it seems to be heading that way. I just want to tell you how gorgeous this painting is. I absolutely love it!! You will be just fine. You are a strong independent woman!! {{{HUGS}}}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stay strong! It's true, things will get better. I believe that 100%.

      Delete
  5. Health and happiness are my wishes to you Cynthia. I was afraid this might be what you were going through. Although I have never been through this you have my prayers and support.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry to hear that Cynthia, this must have taken a lot of courage to do and share. I wish you the best in what lies ahead. And, this is probably my favorite piece from you! See you around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jose. I don't know if it came from a place of courage or not- still trying to figure that out, but if it inspires or helps others in some way, I'm very glad for that.

      Delete
  7. Oh doll I would hug you so hard if I can. I just went through a break up myself but I realized that I am better off without that nutcase. I also appreciate your artist statement. It is SO refreshing to hear from the artist herself explain why she drew her art the way she did instead of being a conceited asshole who tells others, "TRY TO INTERPRET MY WORK FOR DEEP AND HIDDEN MEANINGS!!"

    Also.. single life, enjoy it! You gotta let go so you can have something better. You have options, whooooooo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly I've always struggled to write and talk about my work! Pieces like this are hard to experience because they come from a very vulnerable place, but they're much easier to describe. Thanks very much for the compliment, and I will endeavor to make the most of my single life!

      Delete
  8. Sorry to hear that Cynthia, Break ups are never easy but as a silver lining from experience. You become stronger and discover things about yourself you never realised before as time goes on. I used a diary when I went through a really bad breakup a few years back. it's really therapeutic and helps you get what you're feeling out of your head and on paper so you can deal with it rationally. I wish I could paint as well as you I'd have loved to be able to do something like this back then. Stay strong and make sure you give yourself serious TLC and do the things you love as often as possible at the moment. It's a good time to say it's okay to be selfish :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Craig. A diary sounds like a great, healthy way to express oneself during a separation- whenever I'm feeling upset in the moment I do like to write things out so that I can sleep on it and deal with things fresh in the morning. I might also do that with sketches.

      Delete
  9. I'm pretty sure no comments could possibly ease the pain but all i wanted to say is that from personal experience - every ending means a new beginning and sometimes new beginnings can surprise us greatly. We don't really know what's around the corner so all i can say is chin up Cynthia and keep swinging!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You express your grief and the painting explodes with emotion that anyone who has felt that kind of pain can relate. You are a wonderful artist and pouring your feelings into the paintings will give them something no one else has " a profound affect on the viewer". I've been through a great deal life and unable to express it in my paintings. You will get through this and gain something positive.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Cynthia,
    We do not know each other... I am a friend of Bruce Jensen's. I just wanted to share a couple of quick thoughts. First, the painting is beautiful... truly fabulous. I wish I had the strength to overcome grief and depression with enough grace to create such beauty from pain. Amazing.

    Secondly, I can relate well to grief and loss and I know how hard it is to push through it and get to the other side. Seeing this work - this productive burst of creative expression as you deal with everything - I think you are well on your way to healing.

    I admire you and love your work, and wish you well.

    Steve Vardy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really appreciate your comments, Steve (and please say hello to Bruce!). I think you're right, that this painting is the beginning of the real healing process. Thank you kindly.

      Delete
  12. I live in the world of portrait painters. Our conference comes up in a couple months, and the biggest international competition begins next week. I see the work of people painting themselves every day.

    That's the most powerful self portrait I have seen created in a decade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been too long, Ted! This is a very high compliment, thank you so much. I still admire your work, and hope to eventually take one of your oil painting classes. One day! Take care, all the best

      Delete
    2. Hey Cynthia, yeah, way too long. I can't express how sorry I am to hear about the changes in your life. I'm sending all of my best wishes.

      Everything here is fine. My work pace has diminished, largely for family reasons. I'm completing about a painting every 2 to 3 months now, my slowest pace ever. I've juried a good number of shows recently, including ArtSpace's annual portrait competition, and performed a number of large-group artist critiques at galleries in addition to my usual teaching routine. I'm admiring your extraordinary work of late with a mixture of joy and pride.

      And I'm heartsick to learn about your troubles. Your response, producing a magnificent artwork to express your feelings, is the most admirable response I may have ever seen to such turmoil.

      Speaking of which, Learning to Leave sparked a small debate between myself and the Portrait Society of America about the breadth of the Society's definition of portraiture. The chairman, Ed Jonas, admired your piece and went to considerable lengths to convince me that the Society's concept of portraiture embraces just such allegorical self-portraits. So I'll renew my pitch to convince you to create full-blown oil paintings for gallery exhibition. Much as I enjoy digital illustration, I'd love to see your work in galleries and museums.

      Best wishes!

      Delete
  13. I am sorry for the pain the made you want to paint it, but the painting is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've admired your work for a long time. It must be really hard to be so open on the net about such a personal subject, but it is inspiring and enlightening and brings me so much closer to the piece. Your step-by-step gifs are helpful too.
    It is a really beautiful piece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Kelley- so glad to hear that it's been inspiring.

      Delete
  15. Good luck with everything. As an emotional person I found this advice by Neil Gaiman very useful, and I wish I knew this little pearl of wisdom when I needed it a few years ago. enjoy! www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikAb-NYkseI‎

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emanuele, I adore that speech. I even thought of the words "make good art" like a mantra as I was painting this piece. Thanks for sharing- it's worth watching again and again!

      Delete
  16. Just saw this.... thank you for opening up and allowing us to see what is happening in your life. We live in such a connected reality....yet--as cliche as it sounds--often times we are far more lonlier then before social media.

    At 38, I still am shocked to see couples having lunch, not talking....faces buried in their phones.

    It takes courage to share your art with the world. It takes the courage of a lioness facing down 12 hyenas to share such a deep loss with us....the vast, unwashed masses.

    Many people feel shame and are embaressed when a marriage fails. By sharing this chapter in your life, perhaps you have helped many people feel that they are not going through this alone.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly for your comments, Ulysses.

      Delete
  17. You have been on my Facebook friend list for a couple of years now. I always read your posts. But often I don't have time to respond. Firstly you have a Beautiful Talent and it will help you through these dark times. Secondly it will get better. When my wife passed a couple of months ago I thought all was over. Even my imagination was gone. But over time it makes you stronger. This I know from experience. You have my best wishes and happiest thoughts for your future.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is the first time I'm on your blog. Honestly the only reason I'm here is this image. I saw it on dA and immediately made a connection to my own current state of mind.

    I've just been through a break-up with my fiancee. We were together for almost seven years. Of those near-seven, we spent six living together. We may not have been officially married (which makes the whole thing much less painful in the long run) but I certainly felt that way.

    Few people can understand what this grief (yes, you used the correct word there I think) feels like. It's like you lost a loved one forever. Even if you do see them again, it will never be as it once was and every new person you see them with will be another needle in your heart. I have several good friends in long-term relationships but none of them as long or profoundly deep as ours was. None of them have words to soothe this feeling of emptiness that has taken hold. No amount of 'new love' can mend a broken heart. Only time can do that. Time and perhaps that special someone in your future. :)

    I don't really know why I'm confessing my thoughts to complete strangers on the internet, but in a way it's liberating. It takes away part of the weight on my own soul.

    We all move on...eventually. We all find that one person we'll love deeply forever. In both our cases this just wasn't 'it'. But I believe, one day, that one person will show up and sweep us off our feet again :)

    Please, keep making your wonderful art. Keep striving and moving forward with these masterpieces that have such an impact on our emotions. And thank you for the talk, even if it was one sided. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. oh I thought someone you love died after seeing the work, I am glad that it is not the situation. You know, nothing is worse than death of a loved one.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It is really interesting to see how human and vulnerable an artist can be. Sometimes we just admire the perfection of the artwork without thinking how much tension is hidden...

    ReplyDelete
  21. A friend posted Heroic Rescue on Facebook a few days ago, which made me want to see more of your work. I was taken by every work in your DeviantArt gallery. The one that has really stuck with me, though, is this one. Hands down, it is the one that moves me most. When I came back to look at it today, I saw your note that it's personal, and that there's this blog post. My heart goes out to you. I've been divorced twice after long marriages, once by my choice, and once by my partner's. I know your pain, and yet I know nothing about your pain. I'm blessed to have this work in my life. I'm so sorry it came from your grief. Sending you love and wishing you peace.

    ReplyDelete
  22. this is heartbreaking - thank you for sharing your feelings in this way - it is a breathtaking painting - sterkte with journey

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow this painting is so poetic and symbolic. It's incredible. I got your calendar for Christmas. Its nice to see the person behind the painting.

    ReplyDelete
  24. this Painting is so emotional and Beautiful!!! Im sorry about your lose. but i think it actually made you stronger and more passionate in the end. through bad comes good

    ReplyDelete
  25. Life is good when you have your love ones around you, I am saying this because when i had issues with my lover i never seen life as a good thing but thanks to Dr. AGBAZARA of AGBAZARA TEMPLE, for helping me to cast a spell that brought my lover back to me within the space of 48hours. My husband left me for another woman after 7YEARS of marriage,but Dr.AGBAZARA help me cast a spell that brought him back to me within 48hours. I am not going to tell you more details about myself rather i will only advise those who are having issues in there relationship or marriages to contact Dr.AGBAZARA TEMPLE through these details via;
    ( agbazara@gmail.com ) or call him on Whatsapp: +2348104102662

    ReplyDelete