Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Studying Carravagio

Some paintings have to be lived through. This painting is becoming more and more about my release of pain, of 'letting go', which, ironically, was Naomi's struggle too. I removed Ruth and Boaz, because I realized that Ruth deserved her own painting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Although this piece is still unfinished, the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel' is starting to be glimpsed. This piece is really teaching me that creativity happens less often in 'magically inspired' moments, but more often in patience, showing up, and facing what's wrong and slowly making it right. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Paring things down

Don't ever be afraid of the awkwardness of working through challenging concepts in creative work. Worthwhile art is just plain hard to make, and that's a simple fact of life.  I'm not giving up on this painting, and I'm going to accept each mistake as a stepping stone to the next success. I've pared down everything I originally started with, and I am learning more as I go. In my art, I can only learn by getting my hands dirty, and just plunging in. Things rarely go according to plan.
First of all, I realize that typically, in the Bible, this story is famous for its message of faithfulness, the faithfulness of young Ruth towards her adrift and frail mother-in-law Naomi. But I think we are overlooking something. This is also a story of redemption and of never giving up, because something wonderful can always come along. I am realizing that instead of focusing on Ruth, which has been done for centuries, I am interested in Naomi. Naomi called herself 'Mara', which means bitter, because she had suffered so many losses, the death of nearly her entire family, the loss of her youth, the devastation of famine and disillusionment. And yet, by the end of the story, she is watching joyfully as her widowed daughter-in-law has found a new and nurturing love, and she lives to nurture grandchildren who are the ancestors of Jesus Christ. I am suddenly caught up in the idea of stones and gates as symbols of her internal desert....her nearly empty well as she doesn't feel she can go on any longer, and then the dazzling wonder as she realizes she is about to be replenished with living water. I believe that the motif of stones, wrought-iron, and possibly a bird or two are coming. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hands and plans for birch trees

I've been working on Naomi's hands, quite the task, actually. I want her to be standing in anticipation, unable to believe her eyes that Boaz is going to propose to her beloved Ruth. Wow, do I need to work more on the smaller figures! I plan to put a stand of birch trees in the foreground...let's see if plans correspond with reality.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Radical Changes

I've been working on this piece for over a year. Sometimes, when there is such a struggle, and an artist feels like they are working and reworking the same things, in other words, drawing a line, erasing it, drawing it again...until the paper seems worn through...well, then it's time for a sweeping change. When I'm stuck like that, I always have an inkling that an element in the piece just needs to go. I think that instinct is correct here as well. I've taken Ruth completely away from Naomi's shoulder and instead have her further away, as Boaz holds her hands in his, looks deeply into her eyes, and prepares to propose. I've also taken away the window and the oppressive curtains, which I liked, because I thought it symbolized Naomi's despair.  I guess this painting intends itself to be about focusing on the euphoric moment, rather than the past struggle of the characters. Paintings are like that...they decide, not the artist. :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Working on a sunrise or sunset?

The sunrise is starting to give a mood to this piece, but I still cringe at how rough it is. Oh well, we're getting there.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

This piece is still obstinately in process. It is depicting a portrayal of the Bible story of Ruth and Naomi. I have been struggling with this one for well over a year, and had abandoned a previous work altogether on this subject. There are so many subtleties I want to portray from the story; so many quiet emotions and symbols, the despair, the loyalty, and the redemption. I've come to realize that the time of day in the painting is wrong, and will be reworking it into a more sunset or early morning light on the horizon. So many technical problems, too!!  The velvet curtains also need to be made into rags, as these are two women who once knew prosperous times, but have had so much taken away from them. It's tough to see this piece objectively; it is so close to me.