My art is not for you, it’s for me.
I strive to get to a place where courage is unnecessary. A place where I am no longer trembling with anxiety or fear of judgement. I am not in that place.
Growing up my father was nonexistent. But there was one day, one memory I hold very dear to me.
My dad took me on a date. I was 13 and in trouble at the Kingdom Hall, so the elders required my father to spend time with me.
It was awkward and forced, but I was so excited to drive out of our small town and submerge myself in my true passion- art.
We were going to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. I was buzzing in my seat, so hungry for beauty and positive inspiration.
We wandered Greek and Ancient Egyptian relics, but I felt drawn. I wandered off by myself, slowly scanning European oils, not landing on any particular piece.
I turned a corner, and there she was. The Corn Poppy by Kees Van Dongen. I had never felt so many overwhelming emotions at one time.
I immediately pulled out my sketchbook and filled page after page of her face.
Thinking back over this memory, my heart still races.
I love her, and I’m not sure why.
I am a true believer that artists can share emotions through a piece. That’s what makes art good to me. It’s an emotion. An intangible transfer of energy and meaning.
This painting has haunted my dreams and lit up my darkest days.
Fast forward 15 years and I am in my studio in Dallas, glaring at a blank canvas. I was stuck and uninspired.
I then glanced at my phone- my lock screen a rendering I did of the Corn Poppy.
“I’ll take it back to the beginning.” And I was filled with joy and energy to get started. Laying out my tubes of oil a thought piqued.
“This needs to be personal.”
I knew what I needed to do, and I dreaded it.
I’m not sure when it started, but mirrors made me very uncomfortable. I dreaded looking into them, never liking what I saw. For this painting I needed to face myself, literally.
So I started slowly by looking at pictures of me from social media. My face looked so different in each one. I have always had a hard time recognizing myself in pictures.
I bucked up and took out a mirror and propped it up beside my canvas.
My oil painting instructor complains that I perfect people in my work. Well this is one person I could never see as perfect.
I looked into my reflection for an hour. Staring at myself was very uncomfortable at first. And then I was fascinated.
How did I go so long without knowing my own jaw line? The curve of my eyelashes?
I felt a wave of awe for myself that I had yet to experience.
Months later, I am staring at the beginnings of my new favorite painting.
The only form is a face so far, and it’s beautiful.
I promise to finish it soon. And when I do, I know exactly what to do with it.
If you ever come to my house and see a portrait of me hanging at the foot of my bed, feel free to judge. I would.
But like I said, my art is not for you, it’s for me.