As a young professional artist, I spent a lot of time and paint recreating travel photos I'd taken or borrowed from family and friends: the missions of San Antonio, a Puerto Rican garden, an English lake. They were all well and good, but they weren't my voice. In our early twenties, I don't think there are many of us who even have a story yet! It's an advantage we do have in our middle and late years, so that's what I'm embracing lately.
An artist friend of mine recently helped me to "see" a thread running through my work. A light went on in my head when I realized that it's the concept of "home." Since that conversation, I've begun seeing this entire "period" of work as one that explores what it means to be sheltered by a place, to be part of a community and to be shaped by everyday objects that we normally overlook. For me, this means creating work that reflects my Midwestern-ness, my love for the cocoon that is my tiny house, the anxiety and reward that comes from living beside other broken people, and the wonder that I find in my big backyard.
Jason Bouwman, author of the book, "Just Thinking,"recently had an Instagram post that stopped me in my scroll. It was the word "belongings" with the letter "s" crossed out. Wow! What if we began eliminating belongings and started focusing on creating more belonging? Are we brave enough? What would we miss? What makes us feel a sense of belonging? How do I balance my tendency to collect pretty things (and sell pretty things) with my longing to live more simply? So many questions! I hope you'll follow along with me as I explore these musings through my work in the coming months.
Above is the painting I'm currently working on. I'm thinking about calling it "Narcissus with Supplies." My instagram description for it went like this:
"Sometimes we worry waaaay too much about our image. Maybe we do it consciously by meticulously crafting a persona for ourselves, maybe subconsciously after many years of trying to protect ourselves. Either way, I'm convinced that we need to dig deep, find our true selves and risk looking or sounding like a fool once we're comfortable in our own skin. Even if we feel humiliated at the end of the day, God can use that to help us extend Grace to other broken brothers and sisters."
I'll be sure to post the finished product on my Instagram feed pretty soon. Stay tuned!
You'll have the opportunity to see and purchase many of them at an upcoming event in Elkhart, IN, this May. The next ArtWalk will be held downtown from 5 - 8 pm. I'll be in the Edward Jones building on the corner of Main & High Streets. The theme is "Flower Power", so I'll be in seventh heaven! Hope to see you there!