I went into labor on Saturday and gave birth to my daughter on Monday morning. To manage the pain and channel my thoughts about the upcoming arrival of my beautiful Joy I sat and painted this piece all day on Saturday.
This is a piece that evolved over two very distinct periods of time, the first was almost in an instant, struck by inspiration I created the backround in preparation for my 2016 solo exhibition, The Movement of Color, by using my hands and the grass in my garden to achieve the almost explosive like texture. It was featured at the restaurant where the exhibition was held for almost three months and since then has been displayed in my private gallery at home.
On Saturday, when looking for a canvas to create a new piece of art, I came across this and the voice in my head almost shouted, “This one! This one!” And as often times happens my ego responds with, “But what if you ruin it?” To which the voice responds, “It is and has always been meant for so much more.”
So picked up the canvas and began sketching, as I applied the paint it felt like she was emerging on her own. The form of the face appeared as I defined her profile with white gesso, a medium that allows watercolor to adhere better to the canvas. Using a large pallet of watercolors I mixed the paint as I went on, first applying a base for her complexion and shading with darker tones to give depth to her face and neck. As a self taught artist I am surprised at times at my ability to do things I had never attempted before and this was one of those pieces that I felt I was being lead by a creative muse that exhisted outside myself. This is something I have felt often in my creative practice and is so beautifully articulated in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear” which I highly recommend if you are interested in finding out more about this subject and creativity in general.
As I sat painting on Saturday the creative process that brought this piece to life stopped as abruptly as it started. As much as I wanted to add in hair and ears the voice came again and said, “Leave it now.”
“But... but...” replied my ego, “It’s not finished, you need to finish it.”
To which the voice replied, “Now is not the time.”
I sat and looked at her for a while before moving to her new home upstairs in my art room. When I arrived home from the hospital yesterday and sat in my art room feeding my daughter I was struck by how much the painting resembled Joy, just an older version of her. Her eyes, a grey-blue, and skin as light as mine, but with fuller lips and a nose like my husband - a perfect blend of us both.