People often ask me if I paint myself. The first time I was asked this, the first several times actually, I was stunned that anyone would suggest such an absurdity. Me? No! It’s not me. “Can’t you tell?!?!”, I would think to myself. I felt naked and exposed with the thought of painting myself on a big canvas. Yikes! No, no way, never!
I remember asking Misty Mawn this once. She did the same thing I did. Her face looked alarmed and confused as she shook her head no. Others chimed in that they thought that she did too. “No”, she said. She didn’t see herself in her painting the way we did. But her paintings were her, they are her still and mine are me too.
All artists paint themselves, of course. It’s inevitable. We are often working alone with our thoughts, surrounded by our things, being still with our feelings and ideas, listening to our own thoughts hour upon hour. Add in the fact that our kids and family often look like us too, walking mirrors of ourselves. Mix this up with close friends and encounters with acquaintances and strangers and you get a interesting concoction of the artist themself and their view of the world. Exposed, whether we like it or not. Our story in paint on canvas.
People don’t ask this about all of my paintings, but many of them. I don’t internally freak out at the idea any more. Well admittedly, it’s still a little uncomfortable. But now I know there is a bit of me in all of my painting. There has to be. But, they still want to know who? Who is it that I am painting anyway?
It’s me. My story. My need for quiet and alone time. My desire to spread my wings and be fearless and brave. My face shape, my eye shape, my lips, my heart and my soul. And the women I know and don’t know. Women who are strong and determined, brave and careful, contemplative and quiet, generous and kind, broken and healed. Women who are the same as me.
Thank you everyone, for all of the support and encouraging words so far on the work I have done for my show. I am humbled by your kindness and I thank you a million times over.
I have more 4×4 paintings and diptychs to share, but they haven’t been photographed yet. So another day for those.