I remember when I began the first piece in this series, Contemplation. I’d just purchased a very high-quality, 24x24x1.5 inch, gallery-wrapped canvas, much nicer than anything I’d ever painted on before, and I was terrified to make a mark on it.
I had a general idea of what I wanted. Tree, sun, green and yellow, and a figure. I had no idea what I was in for, but I painted. Just painted, layering colors and watching the way the yellow and the dark green pushed and pulled as I added dabs here or there to balance them until it felt right. I painted the tree with its serpentine branches and then it was time for the figure. Whatever I had planned just wouldn’t work. I thought about going ahead with my plan anyway, but I knew that would wreck the whole painting. I painted what I saw there and what I knew would fit: a simple, silhouetted, androgynous figure sitting under that tree, gazing up at the sun. It fit perfectly.
That set the whole tone for the entire series. I’d always start with an idea, but it never quite played out the way I expected. It always turned out right though, the way it was always supposed to be whether it was similar to what I’d planned or not.
It took me awhile to discover what this whole series is about. I’d find the meaning of each painting as I created it, but the whole journey was more than the sum of its parts.
Each piece captured a step of the journey I was on, a lesson as I learned it. I was learning who I was and how to be happy whether my outer circumstances were ideal or not. I was just getting used to the idea of being a professional artist and figuring out what I wanted my career to look like and how to make it happen. I learned to take things in small steps, to celebrate the present, take time for solitude, express my joys as well as my frustrations, and to take my power into my own hands instead of giving it away.
I’m still on this journey, but I see this series as a complete entity on its own. It’s the first leg of the quest I’m on to discover my true potential for joy and creativity. That potential and vision is always there to guide me, just as the trees and sun or moon is always present in my paintings. The sun shines, trees grow, and people learn. None of the figures have faces because this journey isn’t exclusively mine. We’re all on this journey, and we all brush up against these lessons, whether we internalize them or not.
I’ve chosen not to include the originals in the shop for now because they’re part of a large project I hope to unveil later this year, but small prints of some of them are available. If you resonate with one of these pieces and are interesting in putting a hold on it, email me and we can work something out.