I will be doing lots of art - for expression, purging of sadness, and anger - and I will share it here as the year unfolds and the grief takes it's own subconscious journey.
It's also interesting to see how wise the art is- I always say the art is subconscious speaking before the conscious is ready to understand. It's eerie sometimes to look at some of the art I did weeks before she died. I was getting ready for my May solo show and I was being pushed internally to get the work done about a month early - which I did. That week my mother died.
So, more art will be posted here, and perhaps some exercises that bring healing.
I did this piece a couple years ago and hung onto it for many reasons. Some pieces just seem ready to be let go and live a new life with someone else, but this one seemed like it needed to stay.
As often happens, the piece has taken on new meanings for me since the death of my mother. I have often painted things that years later come to fruition, or help me realize my subconscious knew something was coming long before my conscious did.
While this piece was about floating, freedom, belief and more, today when I look at it I see the current state of affairs...a sense I am here, but seeing things from above, on my back, hanging on to the magic in life, one wing to help me fly and see the beauty in a world upside down where the clouds have now become trees.
I decided to let the painting fly free to, and sent it off to find a new home.
Riding my horse is one of my best therapies- for anything.
Mixed Media Technique:
~ Take a simple piece of paper, 8x10 range.
~ Use a conté chalk/pastel and draw a simple figure - here it is a woman on a horse.
~ Scan that image at 300 dpi. Set the scan aside on your computer. This will become your background.
~ Explore feelings, emotions, anger, sadness, grief, memory with paints and textures.
~ You can create these on different pieces of paper.
~ Rip those pieces up and use them like a collage - after you've scanned them.
~ In other words, the piece becomes a digital collage of layers.
This can be ongoing piece, letting you mix and match to your feelings of any given day. In this piece I worked with inner symbols of my own [you have yours that you need to find, I can't tell you what they are], and the colors and textures in the upper piece are dark and foreboding, but with glimpses of color and hope. The world feels upside down.
As I create new art, I'll post it here and also leave an Update post. New things are posted backwards [so you have to scroll down to see new things that are posted].
I remember when my father died five years ago, it was as if I had to relive each memory from the earliest days of my life, to the present. It is like that now - each time I see a photo of her, I have to analyze what year it was and how old she was in the photo, and how hold I was. Perhaps it is the conscious' way of grasping the life that was - and how my life now is changed. It's like losing all the trees in a big storm, one must have to reconnect with the same land over again, piecing back normalcy by piecing together memories: oh, that tree that went down there is where the old barn used to be, now I remember...and so forth, step by step.
Exercise: The Empty House Series
I awoke this morning with the vision of my mother's empty apartment. I never saw it empty, it was always furnished with all our family things I'd known since I was a little child. But I lay there in the bed and felt compelled to go through each room in my mind, as if it didn't have furniture. It felt sad, but I needed to see it without things in it. As the day went on I kept thinking about the space without her things and decided to do a series.
The Story of "Ode to Jane"
Years ago, I had three wonderful Barred Rock Hens - they looked very similar of course, and I decided to name them "The Three Janes". One was named for my mother, Jane, another was my husband's long deceased grandmother, the other after a dear friend.
Over the years, "The Three Janes" became "The Two Janes" - but each hen had a long, happy life. And at some point there was only one Jane left, and she is still with us, and she is the hen named after my mother.
I was working on painting for the show and I was thinking of The One Jane for some reason - their pattern of feather is so delightful. It was a month or so before my mother would die - but of course I had no idea that would happen. I was just thinking about my chicken, Jane. As I painted her, I felt I had to make her ethereal, and used all white, so her body and feathers looked angelic, floating. I did this on two other paintings too [the one your mom bought, and the goose painting]. I didn't concern myself with why I felt I needed to paint in this gauze like way. I remember thinking that maybe the other Two Janes were part of my thoughts too, as I painted.
I placed wings on Jane's bucket, so no matter where she ventured, her bucket could gather her lovely eggs.
Perhaps 3 weeks later, my mother died. I had already called the painting "Ode to Jane". I did not think it morbid, I just was so happy that somehow Jane the chicken had enticed me to paint this ethereal homage, but that homage also turned out to be for me - to honor my mother. My mother loved eggs, and I suspect there is a bucket with wings somewhere that she might encounter.
The One Jane is still with us here at Apifera - she is very special and lays an egg a day for me. Sometimes, I see a bucket roll by in the wind, and I suspect there are gauze-like wings on it I can't see, trying to help gather her eggs.
It has been four months. I still see her, but in different ways. It's a combination of reality and imagination. I can see her over the farm sometimes, sitting, floating, just like she looked in the living room, but I'm looking at a tree.