Saturday, November 28, 2009

Retrieving the Wild, acrylic, 24x18

Expression has been a recent topic in blogs that I follow: Kathy's and Margaret's --and I pay careful attention to Don's insightful comments on those sites; he has a great self-portrait on his blog and his Thanksgiving entry was powerful. Margaret's entry from yesterday asked if we could identify when we found our artistic voice. I found mine easily when I was in my twenties but it was with sculpture.

In 2001, after 35 years of sculpting, I switched to painting. For some reason I felt that I needed to paint because I could no longer express myself with sculpture, such a slow process--whether clay, wood, or stone. I've since learned that painting (my painting, anyway) is not necessarily faster. Getting the nod of approval was important when I began painting so I chose my subjects carefully and stayed close to realism.

In 2006, I awoke from a dream and made a sketch. In the dream I had unearthed and retrieved something important and a bit gross. I interpreted the dream as a message--don't shy away from the strange. (Yes, people--for many years I kept a dream diary--great fun-- & have actually tried programming my dreams. It sometimes works.) I also acknowledge the book "Women Who Run with the Wolves," which says we often leave our wild side behind in order to conform. (To Heck with that!) I felt this painting was my announcement that I would take more chances with my work.

I am fortunate--I have good friends and family who enjoy and buy art; they provide approval and support. They don't necessarily like everything I paint but they see it as progress. Close friends who are neighbors bought this painting at my summer show; I visit it often. Lots of my paintings have not made it off my street!


  1. Isn't it interesting that we need that nod of approval in the beginning? I suppose without it we might never have continued painting. Even thought my conviction about what I want to say through my art is high, I still often have this somewhat apologetic feeling about flowers. One of the reasons I started my blog was to try to have a venue to talk about my interests in gardens and flowers. The comment you left on my last post did my heart good. I'm so glad you see flowers in a different light.

    I like the figure in your painting. It is advancing toward us with confidence in the lower half but there appears to be a sense of gentle protectiveness and holding back from the top half. I'm looking forward to more comments. Where's Don when we need him?

  2. Margaret, I've learned a lot from your blog.

    I have painted flowers that were past their prime--I thought they were more interesting than perfect ones. Your flower paintings have so much meaning--fragility, memory loss, a fleeting life; sometimes energy. I feel those emotions when I paint flowers but I never actually thought about it. Now I will, and I have new appreciation for flower paintings.

  3. HW, Thank you for your generous mention of my work and blog.

    Margaret, be careful what you ask for...

    "Don't shy away from the strange" is something I will be repeating to myself over and over again for a long time. There is something about those words that really strikes a vein with me. Their accompanying piece, "Retrieving the Wild", is a wonderfully surreal, very dreamlike painting. I love the rich and raw colors (surprise!, surprise!), and the protective, nurturing pose of the figure as it hurries thru this ethereal dreamscape. I am SO glad you listened to your dreams!

    I never completely left my wild side behind in my quest for normalcy (that state of having conformed to the norms established by society), but I found that I had better temper it or it will wreak havoc in me and all around me. One of those means of tempering my wild side is to put it to canvas where, in your cool words, I choose to not "shy away from the strange".

    ...Uh oh, I feel the wild side rearing its wooly head! Time to head to the easel...


  4. HW - Another great painting! The sculptor in you comes through in your paintings. You develop very strong forms and the effect is striking. You've really tapped into your subconscious and I like your boldness. I'm excited to hear that so many of your neighbors buy your work! Way to go ... keep that unique voice.

  5. Don, I don't know where "Don't shy away from the strange" came from. On your blog--in response to one of my comments you said, "Great minds think alike......or is it twisted ones?" (And you work with knives--palette knives, that is.) Scary. Dreams and daydreams are important to me. I ususally "see" the paintings in my head first; then go to the easel.

    Kathy, thanks. My husband and I both thought this figure was familiar but I couldn't find it in photos of my sculptures. Perhaps it's something I sketched over the years. I think sculpture has informed my painting--I look for that "roundness" in everything.

  6. Very bold, vivid and vibrant hues with a wonderful glow! Excellent colors!

  7. Thank you, Sadia. I enjoy playing with digital art, too--I checked out your blog. Your work is vibrant.

  8. I really like this work! Very expressive, wonderful use of color. I also get images from dreams. Wonderful piece!

  9. Thanks, Colleen. I really like your chair series.