Whenever I have bumped into difficult times, I have almost literally run into the woods. So, walking in the woods, or beside a body of water, inspires my work. Being around the natural world brings me comfort. That said, one of the things that inspired me to be an artist was looking at the art books that my mother had when I was a child. I was riveted by all the different ways people could express themselves visually. My mother studied art in college, and she taught me my first lessons. For some reason, my young mind reasoned that if my mother could make art, then perhaps so could I.
This painting fell on the heels of helping to downsize my mother’s apartment, which was a stressful, sad experience because her health is declining. Her memory is also going, and her world is shrinking. I was exhausted after a marathon packing session and long drives to and from where my mother lives back to where I live. I didn’t have the energy to think, and was considering taking a nap, but decided that perhaps making art was just what I needed to do.
I usually start a painting methodically, but this time I decided to just “let her rip,” and have fun with the process. Since I only had one hour, I decided to use pastel. I work in pastel and mixed media, and find that pastel is faster for me. I was called to make a painting of trees that I see when I walk in the woods near my home. What really fascinates me here is the hollow in the trunk of one particular tree. While working, I couldn’t help but think about the whole idea of our dwelling places. How where we live and the objects that we own can come to define us. And, how the hollow of that tree trunk has likely provided shelter for animals, just as the home that my mother has come to know, and where she must leave, has sheltered her.
Working on the painting was oddly comforting to me. I became lost in the process, which hasn’t happened in awhile and reminded me why I love making art in the first place. I was able to gain peace from remembering how I feel when I am listening to the birds singing, and the rustling of the wind in the branches of the trees.
Often when people look at my work they say that they feel peaceful. I hope that the comfort that I gained making this painting, will be transferred to those who see it.
Happy to have you here. This is where you will see work in progress, tips about making art, seeing art, and enjoying art. You will also see ways to live life like an artist.
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