Monday, July 21, 2014

The Journal Speaks About Beauty

(The Journal Speaks Series is a new body of work that I am incredibly proud to be working on. My love of art journaling came full circle as I took the page elements and converted them to large scale paintings on canvases, showcasing my love of message, marks, and passion for color. This piece is #4 in that series and you can view the other pieces HERE)

I have written of beauty a great deal over the past few years as it fascinates me. The concept seems simple, yet I believe it is one of the most complex and powerful forces that we experience. Conceptually, we, as a human race, love to be pretty. We have come to believe, either through conditioning, experience, or ideology, that we must look a certain way to be accepted, to be valued, to be loved. No matter where one looks, the struggle to understand and contain beauty fuels just about everything we do. As these thoughts stewed in my soup of little grey cells over the past month I realized there would be no way to capture my entire struggle with beauty. So, I let it rest. 

This piece is the center painting as I began to layer collage elements over the surface.

What happened next was one of those moments in an artist's life that came straight from being plugged in and willing to listen...not to myself, but the canvas. Many times the page holds a message. The preliminary marks of a piece hold its truth if only the artist slows down long enough to hear it. As I let it rest, the message I was to learn became clear...that of transparency. 

More collage piece, more marked pieces and the beginnings of background color.

You can see in the background, behind dear turtle here, that the piece is becoming more complex. 

I make marks to create. Many of those marks are Asemic, meaning that they lack semantics, but are nonetheless a powerful form of how I communicate through my artwork. The collage pieces I started with were full of that type of marking, random, energetic, and a bit disconnected. As I began to add color, and line, and more marks, my heart felt the tug of needing to leave many of the marks visible. I struggled with that because I didn't want to box myself in marrying the first layers of a painting. Still, I listened and the lesson of transparency kept resonating, so I actually boxed the layers in to contain certain ones....happy compromise.  

Beauty can at first seem opaque in many circumstances but in reality, it is the reflection of our heart that creates authentic beauty. This is why a child can view a rainbow...or a flower....or an insect and fall in love with it. They are too young to understand why, but that force comes from the heart. It connects the eyes with objects that make the heart sing....which is where beauty is created, and we know this at an instinctive level. The layers of my painting where beginning to show me that they were the point. 

Complexity of spirit, of courage, of kindness, of love, of believing in all things and striving to take that inner power and share it outwardly was what my page was needing me to grasp. As soon as I got that, I knew exactly what I would paint. The female figure here is transparent. She isn't bound by layers of makeup, or creams, or false pretenses. She is quintessentially standing in her own essence. At first glance the DNA in our own brains my look and register...weird, odd, unattractive, etc. Only when we look past the opaque into the transparent and see who the figure is do we understand that inwardly she is beautiful. She is a metaphor for what we must strive for, she is an example of beauty in its most honest form.

Up Close detail  with light shining through the canvas.

Detail image showing scale, it is 3 feet by 4 feet

Final Image
"If We Peeled The Layers" 3 feet by 4 feet mixed media on canvas

Outdoor studio where I painted this piece. 

As this series evolves I am beginning to understand that the journey is one filled with lessons for my own heart. Things I need to embrace and dance with a while, and if they resonate with you, then we are on a similar path. This piece is a marker for me, to be kinder and gentler with my own constructs of what it means to be beautiful, and to share those with a world that needs more transparency....more seeing within and less looking at the package.

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