Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This Drawing Has Stirred up Some Emotions

"An Issue of Safety"
Pencil and Pen & Ink on Lined Paper

I came across this drawing a few days ago. It was actually drawn, from an image floating around in my head, about three years ago. I had just moved into a new place and was still feeling stress,chaos, and safety issues from the previous year or so. Oh, I'll be honest, much of my life, more like. I looked at the woman staring back at me, her arms tightly clasped around her, and knew it was me. Fear, lack of safety, wanting to hide, all these feelings seemed to pop out of the drawing. It was done in pencil and pen and ink on lined notebook paper, initially to be a casual sketch but emotions and feelings just ripped out of it. My stomach still is a bit queasy as I look at it today, but yet I find it necessary to post it here. I do it in homage to my artistic self. This is who I am, this is how I draw, I am reconnecting to that part of me that I hid during that time in my life. My ego steps in now and I intellectualize, pondering my artistic style. Art critics, for sure, like to label art, categorize it. Though I find that can be stifling and limiting, I do think I have expressionist tendencies. I like to distort reality for an emotional effect. I like to incorporate bold colors, distorted forms that sometimes dissolve and two-dimensional creations without perspective. I think that is why I have suffered, yes suffered, in classes. These kind of qualities will not sit well with those who want technical precision, who have preconceived views of what art should look like. And in art league competitions, where technical proficiency is valued rather highly, the same thing happens. Sure, I think a good healthy competition gets the juices going, but for me, personally, little growth is fostered. Rather, I begin to second-guess my creations, and myself as an artist. And I don't want to do that. I realize that now. I had a butterfly painting chosen to reflect the emergence of the new Joliet Arts District. For a while, that image was on storefront windows, on posters, as part of a logo. Then that it all changed. A new logo was created, a butterfly that had graphic design tendencies, less colorful, more business-oriented. For a while I was hurt, and sat back and licked my wounds. But I did not wallow too long. My butterfly creation had flown to Joliet and a number of people had commented on it. That was enough. The end result was not important, the process of getting it out there was . I was happy my butterfly had had her few months of glory in Joliet. And I continue to be proud of her. I guess what I'm saying is I am happy to be who I am as a creative being and will not compromise my style for the sake of society and their opinions of what art is supposed to be.
So I am glad I did not throw this drawing away. People say throw out the old stuff, it gets in the way of making new creations. I beg to differ. This particular drawing has helped me to access my growth over the last few years and made me more determined than ever to share my authentic self now. I feel safer and more secure within myself, which will allow me to create more genuinely. Maybe I"ll make a new drawing, with my arms flung high to the sky. I'm sure feeling that way right now, and it feels good.


Uta said...

Perhaps you could look at the drawing through my eyes. I see a woman who is nurturing herself and learning to love herself. Funny how art brings different connotations to different people. Lovely drawing!

Tao Master said...

Sometimes it is important to go back over old mile markers in our journey to gauge how we have changed. I think this image is a powerful one - I would like to see you put this on good paper or something. Keep up the good work.

Soulsearcher said...

To the critics I ask: "What is art supposed to look like anyway? Have you seen Picasso, Calder or Pollock?"

Art, like writing, is a continuum, a spiral recording our growth and understanding as human persons. This is indicative of where you were at the time--a priceless recording of that place and time.

Doris said...

Soulsearcher has summed it up well. Memories are retained in each piece that we work with, sometimes hard memories distort our personal view of our past art. I see logos changing each year in many areas, your talents are part of local history!

Lin said...

You always amaze me, Bev! Such lovely drawings, paintings, writings and always so deep. I miss seeing you and talking.

Urban Panther said...

I absolutely love her! My first impression was more like Uta's. She is hugging herself. Wrapping herself in love. But then I read your post, and could see that too.

I am so glad you tripped over my site, which led me to your site. Your artwork is stunning!

Are you familiar with the artwork of Brian Froud? My favourite artist. Your paintings leave me with the same feeling. They are extremely spiritual and earthy.

butterfly woman said...

I want to say how glad I am to share my artwork and words.
It is so interesting to hear the perceptions of others and actually helps me see things in a more positive, albeit different, light!
Urban Panther,
I am honored you even think to compare my work to Brian Froud. I just checked his website and was blown away. I do feel my art is moving into the fantasy realm and am definitely inspired by Brian's work.
TaoMaster and Soulsearcher,
I believe more than ever in the healing power of creativity.
Regarding memories, sometimes I wonder if memories conjured up by my past artwork are feelings I have now. Back then I wondered if I had any feelings as I painted. Strange, huh? Anyway, thought about tossing this drawing, but then I wouldn't have had all these beautiful comments! Thank you all!