This feels big for me. A self-portrait.
For weeks I was mixing and playing with colors, hoping something was percolating under the surface because on the surface, I was using a lot of expensive paint without a road map.
Last week, a light bulb lit. As I dove deeper into Picasso’s inspirations and his exploration of masks as a comment on the fronts we put out to the world, something sparked. I have been peeling my onion back in my life over the years, trying hard to be my most authentic self. Putting me into the world, one toe at a time.
But this thought of masking and presenting that in work had me thinking backwards—or in my case forwards. I wanted to paint what was behind the mask. And I wanted to start with me.
I have never done a self-portrait and I was so jazzed about creating a portrait of truth, not of physical accuracy. And so I painted, Girl With Third Eye (flying under the radar).
It’s me out there in the world as I see myself as a child. I was so aware of my world at the youngest age—and all it’s crazy, unhealthiness. I watched my sky fall around me with my eyes wide open—and yet no one, not one adult ever talked to me about what was crumbling around me. I remember literally thinking, “Adults don’t know that kids see every thing. Understand everything.” I was incredulous of their ignorance and/or lack of caring.
And from very young, I knew I had to learn to lean on myself. To be strong, always and be there for myself since it wasn’t a guarantee that anyone else would be. That letting others in has been a lifelong effort for me—but my art has been a opening for that.
While painting myself as a young child in this way had the potential to feel somber, it was very exhilarating and empowering…and for those looking a the details in this big 40x40in piece, you will notice the motto, “only you can prevent forest fires.” A phrase that seems so relevant to my experience and my generation. I also collaged in bits from my mother’s unpublished stories…a piece titled, “A Rainy Day”…crossed out and retitled in her handwriting: “Life’s Surprises” and more of her handwritten notes (ha! life’s surprises…).
So here I am, blue hair, wide eyed—never surrendering what I think was an innate wonder I have carried with me and an optimism that I could make things better. I have included a photo of myself as a young girl that I look at once in awhile and think, “How could anyone have not noticed me in all my innocence and sweetness and reached out?” And yet it makes me feel great to see that nothing touched those parts of me and my wide-opended third eye.
Feeling full of richness in claiming those parts that are my foundation, sharing them and finding new paths in artistic expression. Grateful.