Sunday, July 22, 2012

Side tracked by symbolism and my paintbrush

 Last Spring I meant to begin a new sketch for my “Re-Weaving Mythology” series.  Instead a woman and her white heron appeared out of the end of my paintbrush. 

I  finally finished the painting last week and decided to put it in the members’ exhibit at The Rehoboth Art League. Their entry form insisted on a title so I toyed around with a name.
The title of your artwork is often the only glimpse your audience has into what you were thinking when you created the piece.  Sometimes I have the title before I begin.  Occasionally, I don’t have a title until forced to come up with one to hang next to the painting on a gallery wall. Then I am compelled to examine what motivated me to create a particular piece.
Sketch-Dreaming of Miami-Pastel on paper

My new painting wasn’t part of my Re-weaving Mythology series.
Maybe I should begin another series based on my affinity for all things tropical. 
I have been meaning to weave 
Dreaming of Miami for sometime now anyway.
I tried several titles for my White Heron Woman based on derivatives of Belize, because I love Belize and the foliage reminded me of the Jungle there.
I tried  Secrets in Belize then I tried  Making Friends With Belize. The title Making Friends with Frida popped into my head.
 I greatly admire the work of Frida Kahlo and I realized the foliage in the background referenced her paintings, which often used tropical foliage and animal symbols to convey her messages. As you know, Kahlo’s life was filled with tragedy and unhappy consequences, and much of her symbolism was dark.

Frida , and dyed silk on my loom and ready to be woven
I have to look at my work for a long, long time when weaving. It progresses inch by inch across the loom and dark imagery in such large doses would make for a long day.
 I chose instead to fill my work with symbols of hope and possibilities for happiness and redemption, options that are available to us all.

“Making Friends with Frida” worked for me as a title for the painting on several levels. Heron’s were the Iroquois’ symbol for wisdom and considered a powerful omen for good. The Japanese tradition of creating one thousand origami cranes as a message for hope and healing was also in my mind when painting the white heron.  
 If you visit the exhibit at the Art League in Rehoboth, DE, you will read “Tropical Secrets,” on the title card… and you and I will know the secret…make friends with your inner Frida,
 embrace peace and happiness. 

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