Sunday, September 19, 2021

While She Sat in a Drawer Things Got Worse

Every once in a while an older painting comes out of a drawer to reach maturity. My daughter has been helping me build a current inventory of my artwork. As we go through the flat files, she will ask, "What's wrong with this one?" or "Doesn't this go with your ______ series?" So the other day I pulled out this early picture that truly was the beginning of my "Teach Me" series. I had really liked creating it, but it got no appreciation from a critique group, so it landed in a drawer where it has been lying since 2018. 

In 2018 the idea was simply a girl reaching out for a book.
She wanted to learn. (Ignore the odd shadow at the bottom.)

Because it was the start of the "Teach Me" series I brought it to the table to see how I could make more of a story out of it. I had always thought of her as an Afghan child flying across the desert. In 2018 Afghanistan was listed as one of the top ten countries most difficult for girls to get an education and now the future looks even darker. How could I convey that more clearly?

I started imagining a landscape. At first I thought I would make the sky a night sky, but that took away the impact of the flying child, so I settled on a light sky with clouds carrying symbols of an education. I already had symbols in the desert, so turning those collaged pieces into clouds was easy. Last night, as I finished creating a landscape in the lower portion, and white clouds in the sky, it seemed awfully cheerful to me. This morning brought a new twist to the painting. I brought in dark, ominous clouds into the sky, representing the returning power of the Taliban. Now there is a story!

Teach Me-Afghanistan