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.