Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Hourglass Figure

Once again this past summer, I traveled to Ventura, CA to spend two weeks in an art retreat with Katherine Chang Liu and 20+ other artist. My paintings created during that time were all focused on women's themes: freedom of choice, the right to vote, equal pay, etc. I tried out different ways to put my ideas on paper.

I pulled this piece out yesterday to photograph. When creating it my focus was women's bodies: how women are expected to have, told by advertisers, pressured by society to work toward the "hourglass figure." Many women just aren't born with that potential. Through the years we age, gravity prevails and our bodies no longer have the youthful curves and lovely skin.

So that is the story I was telling in August. But when I looked at the piece this week, I so clearly saw how it related to the current political fray. I almost felt like a clairvoyant. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sometimes I listen: Before and After

I created this piece, I See You, a few months ago. It was based on my experience sleeping under the night sky on rafting trips where the connection with our ancestors seemed strong, and the waking hours in the middle of the night were comforting. As I watched the "W" shaped stars of Cassiopeia move across the sky, I was interested in what she might have looked like in the eyes of the Greeks. 
Many friends asked why she had a nightgown of with two different colors. To me it represented the figure's connection with both the sky and the earth. But as I had to explain my thoughts, I realized that the painting was becoming more about the nightgown than the connectivity between us and our ancestors, and the peaceful moments under a night sky which I wanted viewers to feel.

Then I put the painting in a critique session at the Watercolor Society of Oregon convention. The juror felt that the green earth conflicted with the blues of the sky. Where is the color unity?

So I brought the painting out this week and let go of the "preciousness" I was hanging on to. If resolving the questions about the nightgown, and questions about the green earth would lead viewers to more clearly see what I was trying to communicate, then I should change it.

What do you think? Have the changes  to I See You redirected the focus of the painting to the relationship between humans and our imagination of the unknown that the night sky evokes?

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Lesson in History: Why Hillary Wore White

So where do paintings come from? Is it an idea floating around until it lands on an artist? That is a bit like I see it. I get an idea and it takes awhile to ferment and brew until I start seeing the painting itself.

This painting started with the big picture of women's issues. It was triggered also by this tumultuous election and campaign we are experiencing. So there are a couple of ideas percolating with more to come.

To add more content, I started reading more about the Suffragette movement. I looked at photographs from both England and America catching women in droves marching for voting rights. I then learned that there were colors woman wore to show sisterhood in the movement. In England, ribbons of purple, white and green were made by Selerfridge & Co. for women to adorn their hats, representing the 3 symbolic colors English Suffragettes wore.

Finally I came across an article about Hillary Clinton's choice to wear white for her Democratic Convention acceptance speech. The choice of white was a nod to the women who marched a century ago to gain the women's right to vote with the 19th Amendment. How could I not paint about that!

The working title is They Marched for Our Future. Do you have a title in mind?