This is a story of four paintings that went out into the world unloved.
Well, maybe there was a glimmer of feeling, but they tried their hardest to resist being loveable. They wanted to tell the truth, and frankly I didn’t feel comfortable with that.
Lets back track.
These paintings were destined for Prague, to take their place in the ‘She Spoke’ Exhibition, as the culmination of the Becoming Artist Programme in which I had taken part. Part of a series called ‘Photographs Not Taken’, they were planned to describe the moments where the camera is put down; making way for the serious conversation; the wordless embrace; the inconsequential yet decisive ‘moments in between’. Not the high days and the holidays, the post-on-Facebook highlights; these paintings were meant to be the real deal, and I thought I was ready to paint them.
But the paintings had other ideas. They were the awkward teenagers that refused to grow up, gangly and self conscious. They denied me the chance to calm the chaos with more layers of paint and I sent them out into the world like unclothed orphans. It felt like I’d lost a layer of skin.
My relationship with the paintings felt intensely personal, and charged. Maybe I didn’t have long enough to sit with the art and make my peace with it; maybe the time pressure affected my feelings; maybe I was feeling challenged by some shit that was going down in my life at the time. But this is what an artist has to work with. This is the work! If I’d elected to paint pretty watercolours of rural scenes, fine. But I wanted to paint raw, and real, and it hurt.
A little moral support..
The paintings on their way to Prague.And the Artist, relieved that we’d all got this far…
The final paintings…
Seeing them in the gallery brought me little joy, at first. They jostled in the corner looking uncomfortable and out of place. Wanting to make an impact but still self conscious. Wanting to be together but crying for space. I’ve never painted anything that felt so… demanding!
The paintings are still in Prague, waiting to be shipped home and I’m ready for them now, even eager to see them home I think. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to put them up on the living room wall… but you never know.
Thanks for listening.