Lesson Learned
The Past Eighteen Hours

Self Portrait

The words in this post are ones that I have copied directly from a posting I did on a group Facebook page where I shared my most recent painting with my fellow "Bloom True" students. I am not posting all the tons of comments & thoughts they had, but it was really great to get loads of wonderful feedback from them. I am including, here, the steps that the canvas went through so that you can see just how many "booboos" and  redirections a painting can take you through. Hope you enjoy it. These are the exact words that I wrote:

This was difficult to paint, but it is even more difficult to share. I decided to do a self portrait, not of what I look like, but rather of who I am, or better said : where I am. I chose to include words in my painting. The words cut through the middle of the canvas, separating what was once, and what is now. They are of a poem by A.R. Ammons. It is only one sentence long, without any difficult words to look up in a dictionary, but in just one sentence (the entire poem), he encapsulates it all for me. I will rewrite it, here, for you, incase you can not see it well enough in the painting.

The spring

her step

turned to

Self Portrait 4:2013


Spring  trees

Self P. #1 4:2013

Self p. #2 4:2013

Self p. #3 4:2013

Self p. #4 4:2013

Self p.#5 4:2013

Self p. #6 4:2013

Self p. #7 4:2013

Self p. #8 4:2013

Self p. #9 4:2013

Self p. #10 4:2013

Self p. #11 4:2013

Self Portrait 4:2013

There is nothing on the canvas for the purpose of decoration. The left side of the canvas is the before; more youthful in treatment of color and shapes it represents my role as mother (both the location of the seed source in the flower & and the nod to a "Madonna" type "headdress.) She, the younger one, looks at me now (right side), from behind, as if placed in the background in the "what once was", but because "she" looks at "me" it is a play on how I go back and forth to being her, the younger me is still in me. On the right side (me, now), the flower, & seed source, has been moved to my head for it is from there that all new creations, for me, are coming from. I had a chemical accident when I was living on a boat, about ten years ago, and we were caught in a horrific storm at sea. The chemicals got into my left eye and I am left with no externally visible scars, but I can see with that eye as if looking through celophane - a major pain in the neck if you are trying to become an artist. This "bad" eye, that I have is the blue one that is a sad thing I deal with and yet what is even more sad is that even with a bad eye, I can see all the suffering that goes on in this world. Having said that, one is left to wonder why is the "good" eye, then, covered? This is because I am trapped behind a wall whereby I do not have the skill set, in art, to express well enough what I want to express. It is almost as if I can "see it" in my minds eye, but it is not accessible for clear viewing. Yes, this painting is full of deep emotion for me, some of it quite unsettling as I recognize myself getting older. However, I must point to the two bright areas in the canvas - in both sides, the before side & the now side, there is glorious light in my head - that is the constant. It is not only the constant, but it is also what I choose to focus on. So if, as the poem alludes, beauty is something that slips away from us, is it not only on the outer surface that it slips away? I believe so. As Wren pointed out, just as we depend on the sun coming out the next day after the darkest night, then so to, when there is a fall it only comes as a preparation for the next spring - in all senses of the meanings of those words, fall & spring. I am luckier than most, for I am clear about who I am and where I am at - a solid platform for the years of future dedication to attaining that somewhat elusive skill set. It will be a good day when those skills catch up to all I have to say.



Until next time,

thought you would enjoy a snippet of what I have been up to,




Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Elizabeth Mackey

Very nicely written, and the painting really evokes what you are saying. I think if I were faced with a blank canvas and having to do self portrait, it would not happen. I really think I would over think it to the point that I couldn't even start. I applaud someone who can take this medium and convey their feelings through it.
I'm enjoying getting to know you more through your wonderful paintings.
So sorry to hear of your accident though, it must be extremely frustrating for an artist to deal with.

Thanks for sharing your latest work and wonderful words to accompany it!


I love your paintings! And it is very interesting for me to see and read your thoughts on motherhood being a mother of three little ones. I did not take the art journal course you write me about and the reason is this: I'm not in a point of my life where I would dear to let go like that. And I have this feeling it is because of the children who at this age are so dependent on me that I can not give up the feeling of being in control, not even in my art. I don't think that it is a good or a bad thing, it just is.

Alicia Armstrong

Wow what a meaningful painting. Thank you for sharing your thought process as well as your artistic process. I think this is a very successful painting and your writing brings so much more to it. I have no doubt that you will soon notice your art skills have caught up to your voice.

The comments to this entry are closed.