Thursday, February 12, 2015

Creating Art is Personal

 'Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.' — Henry Ward

Perhaps not all artists, but many of us are telling stories. I have been working on telling parts of the 
story of my younger daughter's last year getting a stem cell transplant to cure her multiple sclerosis. It is my story also, as I cared for her in the hospital, throughout the treatment, and as she recovered. 

The painting I'm featuring today is a departure from most of my work because it is acrylic, because it is totally from my imagination, and because the colors are quite neutral. The theme is hair loss, something all people going though chemotherapy experience, but it is more traumatic for young women, I think. 

I asked my daughter to come up with some words for me to incorporate into the painting.

Without Hair
30x22, Acyllic on paper

The symbolism in this piece came throughout the process, and some things I discovered after it was finished.


  • The central figure stands alone without color, except for the flower, petals and shoes (Rach loves shoes.) 
  • The small figures are colorful with plenty of hair, a symbol of what was and hope of what will be again.
  • The scissors imply that the loss of hair was by her choice. (She chose this radical treatment.)
  • The hair at the feet surprised me--they also could be sunflower petals--an unintended piece of symbolism.
  • The words (Rachel's words) frame this situation, closing it into an isolated time of her life. 
I would love to get some feedback from you, the viewer. Does the painting speak to you? 

5 comments:

Sandra Neary said...

when we paint a personal painting or what I call a story painting it often takes the explanation of the artist to make sense of it. Your story made sense. It's a beautiful portrait of what you went through with Rachel.

Liz said...

Wow--this is powerful, Margaret! I love the symbolism (and I got most of it without reading your explanation, so you did a GOOD job in conveying the story). Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Does the painting speak to me? Oh my GOSH...YES YES. It yells at me. It is an extremely compelling piece.
Linda

Anonymous said...

I like this one a lot...look forward to seeing it today. LV

Diana Nadal said...

Margaret - It is important to receive comments that our story is understood at some level by those who view our art. This story is so important to tell. As Joe gets ready for his stem cell transplant very soon I guess the prep chemo will cause him to lose his hair too. I agree that women go through more emotion for the loss than men - but we'll see. Thanks for this painting