“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
I once had a fellow artist, after studying my newest additions to my wall in the local gallery, remark, “It must be all rainbow colors and shimmer in your head. What is it like to live like that?”
Of course, I laughed and disagreed. My life is no different from anyone else’s. We all struggle with good times and bad, finances, relationships, worries, and the silly or worrisome issues that come up when you are a parent and own pets. The crazy, time-consuming details that make up the stories you tell to friends later on. The fabric of your life.
It isn’t always rainbows and shimmers in my mind, but I am aware that I see the world from a different perspective than the average person. (As my son likes to remind me, I am not average and ordinary ~ I am an ARTIST!! Sometimes he makes this statement sound like I should be in a padded room somewhere, but it is said with love.)
The way I see the world goes beyond loving color, fantasy, dragons, fairy tales, and entities I concoct out of thin air. My husband long ago quit asking me if I remembered the directions to a certain location; how to get from point A to point B. He has realized that I would be hopelessly lost without his navigation skills. I am too busy noticing all the different shades of green in the willow tree we are passing, and wondering how it would be painted as a young girl dancing. (Maybe this is why he does all the driving?)
It’s just a different way of viewing the things that we have looked at so often that we no longer see them. I somehow seem to see things in a way that I feel rather than just acknowledge. My eyes don’t glaze over familiar places, but see things in a “Theresa Way”. The creative muse that lives in the back corners of my mind never shuts up. She is always asking, “What if…”.
I need to connect with an emotion, or a story behind an image before I consider painting it. Even if I just imagine the story, which is most often the case. A back story is necessary before the potential subject becomes a model. All of my subjects have names, personalities and emotions living behind their eyes. (At least to me!). I get lost in the warp and woof of their inner weavings, and spend countless minutes living in their shoes while I bring them to life. The outside world fades and disappears. I form lasting friendships with these creatures that are taking their first breaths inside my brush strokes.
When I finish a piece and stand back; I am often unsure exactly how this painting came to be. Those beings on my canvas are always different from first visualized. They always have more character than what I first sketched. My paintbrush is guided by their preference, of how they want to be portrayed to the world. If I am insistent about my own choices, the work becomes a struggle and the painting usually turns out badly. I have learned to let the creative spirit, the spirit of the creature or person I am painting, dictate the palette, the look, the truth and texture of the piece.
My sisters and I call our life journey “The Beautiful Madness” ~ an apt description, and probably the title for some future painting! I hope that at some point I’ll achieve more understanding, and get the answers to all my “why’s”. I look forward to being an old woman, still painting, looking back on hundreds of completed pieces, able to see the thread of growth and change running like a timeline through my lifetime body of work.
My paintings are fragments of my nature. My portfolio makes up the mosaic of my spirit. These images are a melody of emotions and happenings rendered in acrylic on canvas. I can look at each piece and be catapulted back to the exact time, place and circumstance of its origin, often remembering the music I was listening to and what I was wearing. Each painting is a journal entry of this crazy, safari-like adventure I have been living. Some are heavy, the meat of my struggles. Some are the meringue, light and fluffy and fun. Each and every one is a piece of me.