This is the second painting in my Try On series. This painting is a reflection what identifying as a woman means to me. I started this one with a background with lots of noodly curvy lines that represent this larger ever evolving conversation about feminism, womanhood and femaleness. Even on the personal level I still grapple with what it means to be member of my gender. The good thing is that I've moved on from the Anti-Feminist thing I had going on at one point and I'm in a healthier place with much less internalized misogyny.
For a while now I've been wanting to create a series of work about trying on different belief systems, social groups, and opinions. I like to think of our identities as being ever evolving and growing To truly live an examined life its part of the experience is to think through and sometimes even adopt various view points before settling into our own truth. Like clothing though, whatever we identify with today may not permanent and we always have the option to move on.
This painting specifically is a reflection on the Conservative politics that I wore as a teenager and into my early 20s. I remember believing and even being outspoken with opinions that I now see as non-inclusive, racist, and harmful to society. I still feel guilt and shame about this, but I am not that person anymore. I tried on Conservatism and threw that garbage sweater in the metaphorical trashcan.
I had to practice a lot of restraint in writing this by not going off into a rant.
In this video I show painting time lapse footage and talk about these 3 paintings.
20x24 Oil on Canvas
This portrait asks the question that every woman has to ask: "how many buttons do I need to button?" The crudely drawn on boobs are the presence that is felt when I dress myself. Should I wear a bra? Is this top too low cut? Will people respect me if I wear this? Its a burden that I (as someone who isn't even busty) feel. I try not to get hung up on it, but when I've gotten harassed online, heard coworker's boob-related comments, and been brought up with the idea that women's bodies are shameful distractions for men, its hard to get past. I hope that by communicating this discomfort that the veiwer can understand that this is a reality for some women or feel comforted in the fact that they aren't the only ones self dealing with this boob issue.
Here is my conflicted thought process on unnecessarily gendered tools: "Ugh I don't need a girl hammer, I can use any tool a man can use........but it's pink " Are products like this inclusive and fun or insulting?
I made a time lapse for the Women's March inspired paintings!
"In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us." from the Women's March mission. Learn more at www.womensmarch.com
I wanted to make some art inspired by the women's march. I saw the branding and absolutely loved the color scheme! I painted 3 oil paintings on masonite board and sold those for $50 and a set of all 3 as prints (still for sale here) for $50. I donated 100% of what the buyer paid to Planned Parenthood. While my donation was relatively small in the scheme of money in politics, it was still more than I could individually donate. I hope that in addition to my donation that just by showing my own enthusiasm for women's rights I might inspire someone else to do something to put a little good out in the world.
I was trying to figure out how to articulate the thought behind this painting as I do with many of my other pieces, but then I realized that I don't have to. I feel that the expression and pose of this one communicates an emotion that doesn't need to have some backstory. I think in future works I'm going to go for something a little looser in terms of statement. Typically I have a very specific thought behind each painting, but really unless the viewer is familiar with me personally or reads the statement they'd never know the specifics of what the painting is about. This painting spoke to me louder than the other works I've done recently and I'm wanting to work on communicating on a more abstract emotional level as opposed to autobiographically.
So I wasn't super excited about 2016 until I started updating my website. Seeing all my work together makes me realize that I had a pretty decent creative output. I met a couple major goals in my personal life and had some pretty good times.
Here's a few highlights from the past year
During the year I went through a bit of a slump where I didn't create any work and I made a few missteps with a few paintings, but over all I've had a pretty productive year especially considering that the house buying and moving process took about 2 months. check out the 2016 section to see all the work!
I have a fantasy of there being some concrete restart moment - like at the new year or after a move. There would be this magic time where I could start new where all the bad habits and crap mind sets were gone and I could just work on living as the best version of myself without having to undo the bad first. Unfortunately life isn’t that cleanly divided and its just a constant effort to do your best. The face is looking up in optimism like my head is in this idealized headspace, but I still have me there at the bottom - all the blahness - the laziness, fears, and crappiness - is going to be there to deal with.
I wanted to write about my favorite painting from this year. Insider is about creating an art piece that might not communicate anything with the viewer and only serves as a sort of inside joke with the artist - at least this is what I got from the piece. The Viewer can pull any meaning from it they want and it can be their own inside joke.
I really enjoy the strong features of the model along with the dramatic shadows. I'm really happy with the orange to purple saturated skin tones that I got with this image. The brush strokes satisfy my desire for both realism and expression. As I have created more work I have referenced this image as an example of the style I want to capture.
I sold this painting at my Thoughtscapes exhibition at Black Lagoon Gallery in May. I was absolutely thrilled to have made a sale. Of course the money is very much appreciated, but what really means the most to me is being acknowledged as having created successful art. Sometimes I really struggle with motivation, inspiration and the technical aspects of painting and to have someone appreciate your work really means a lot to me.
Earlier this year I found myself in this pattern of negativity. I got in a rut by repeatedly returning to destructive thoughts. I was unmotivated, bored, unsatisfied with the art I was making and I couldn’t figure out the point of doing anything. I created this image to give a visual representation of a repetition that gives the viewer no new information and instead makes for a disjointed and redundant image.
This is one of my favorite paintings that I've made this year and here is the thought behind it:
In January 2016 I started working full time as an artist at an event company. Up until this point I had worked in various positions that just weren’t my thing for various reasons. As I settled into this satisfying and challenging yet laid back job I realized that I had lost a major force in my life that I was always working against: quitting my job. In my previous positions, including when I owned my business, I was always trying to figure out what I would be working at next. It wasn’t a fun thing, but it gave me a drive and purpose.
This painting represents me trying to find a new force to work against. Its the awkwardness of finding that you miss the old conflict and need to create a new one.
I wanted this self portrait to appear disjointed to reflect inconsistencies and a not-quite-sound relationship with femininity. I find the pink background both energizing and cloying. The mismatched eyes are both interesting and off-putting. As I finishing up this painting I realized that the face shape heavy brows and hair were lending themselves to a more masculine look which I ended up keeping to contrast with the rose colored lips. This painting is an unresolved relationship with my own identity as it pertains to my femaleness.
I find this painting a little off putting. I don't know if this emotional reaction to the art piece means that it is successful or if its just gross and I should lock it in a closet.
The title of this piece comes from a Groupon customer's review of one of my painting classes. She called me a Space Case and not without reason. I'm pretty sure that night I was having a text spat with my husband (you KNOW I'm not the only one who has had the occasional text fight). I painted the face just kind of wandering off the rest of the head as thoughts tend to go. I chose a peaceful expression on the face as well as soft tones to show the pleasure that sometimes comes with being lost in thought
All Talk and no follow though. I see this painting and imagine that mouth going on and on "I'm going to start doing yoga every day" "I'm going to participate in Inktober" "I'm going to make an effort to cook more at home" "I'm going to make a small painting every day!" Just on and on saying all these great things just because it feels good to say them, no thought to follow through