Summer is over and I'm hopefull that Fall will bring happier times.
The past three months have been the most challenging time of my life. I have a lot of changes on the horizon. Because of everything I'm dealing with at the moment, I haven't created any real art since the end of June. Finally, yesterday, I created 'Soul Retrieval'.This painting represents to me the culmination of "all that".
It is actually a piece that I began last summer. It was an abstract using foil as collage. Then last Fall I decided I didn't like it so I scraped black acrylic all over the surface. This past weekend, I white washed a lot of it and then scraped it back in spots. Yesterday, I decided to squeeze some aqua blue directly onto the canvas and that's when things really started to happen ... the surface is quite textured due to the crumpled foil I originally used. Once I had the aqua blue spread out I decided to take the sanding block and sand the surface back in spots. When I did this, some of the foil started to peel back in places. I helped this along by pulling/peeling back the layers. In some instances it peeled back to a smooth, shiny foil layer and in other instances right down to the bare canvas. I really enjoyed this process ...
it felt like I was revealing something that was precious and determined to be revealed.
It was all very abstract at first and then I painted a band of horizontal black and white stripes near the bottom of the painting. This is where the trouble began ... I was trying to just go with the flow and let the painting develop the way it wanted to, but I struggled quite a while with this now fairly prominent checkerboard pattern I had created that now was threatening to mess everything up! First, I extended the checkered 'line' downwards (which is now the left arm of the figure). That just seemed to make things worse! I kept telling myself to breathe and 'trust the process and don't get discouraged'. This was HARD. Next, I decided to extend the lines downward to the bottom of the painting, forming what is now the torso of the figure. At first, I thought this shape should become a house. It felt like a house to me. But oh wait ... there was the problem of this awkward appendage protruding from the square! I decided to go with it ... it wanted to be a figure ... I painted the other arm extending upwards. Then I went to my sketchbook to try and work out what the figure would look like. Here's that sketch ...
I went back to the canvas and painted the figure. I struggled with the decision to give her hair or not. In the end, as you can see ... bald is beautiful. In deciding wether or not to give her hair, I thought about my 'Rebirth' painting which also features a bald figure. I asked myself if I was not giving this figure hair because I was scared to paint the hair in fear of messing everything up ... a form of avoidance of course! I sat with this thought for awhile and then I went and got the 'Rebirth' painting (which coincidentally is the same size canvas) and I placed the two paintings side by side. That confirmed it. No hair! I think the two paintings relate beautifully together. What do you think?
Suffice it to say that 'Soul Retrieval' is a powerful metaphor for what is happening in my life right now. Even reading back over what I've written is very revealing to me. I can recognize levels of meaning as I 'read between the lines'. This is why I LOVE ART!!!!!