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A Life Reflected

Something I wrote last night sparked some interesting thoughts in my head today. Last night I made reference to my half painted canvas, which upon a coat of paint, was fully clothed. I thought a lot about that today. Sexuality is a subject that makes many people uncomfortable, not me. (Just ask my horrified children.) To be human is to be a sexual being. To give birth is a sexual experience. When I look at that “virginal” white canvas that I started with yesterday I cannot help but think how much life it gains when paint is laid upon it. I give birth to my art. It becomes vibrant and alive. Think about it. How much great art has been produced through the ages due to love, to lust, or because of frustration? The human condition immortalized in paint, in charcoal, in photograph. The Mona Lisa’s smile, the lusty vivacious work of Georgia O’Keefe, even the loneliness of strangers in a diner in Hopper’s “Nighthawks”. The virginal blank surface that has yet to experience life, it is the artist who is tasked to recreate emotion through color and image. The connection between the work and the artist as a human is singular. As I thought about these things today I realized that my own hesitancy, my own cautious approach to laying the paint upon a surface as a young artist has been replaced with a love for richness, for texture, for color. All reflective of the life already lived. I was timid in my younger self, afraid to put too much paint on the surface, afraid of revealing too much of myself. There is a confidence in aging, a wisdom that the young artist can never have. Even the most skilled artist as a youth will find that the work will grow as the life experience grows as well. Love, heartbreak, loneliness, regret, laughter, joy; the list of emotion is endless, the effect on the artist is immeasurable. I need to respect my own process, my own growth and life experience, to leave more of myself on the canvas.

Tonight a face. I love faces. I didn’t want to sketch a recognizable face, but to draw for practice, for the enjoyment. This is a woman who doesn’t exist, created by my hand.1 28

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