Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Demonstrating Women I Might Have Known

I'm always a little hesitant to share my methods of painting the women in my series of Women I Might Have Known. It's not because I don't want anyone to know my tricks. My relationship with these women is intimate. I spend a great deal of time going through my picture albums, selecting a photo that speaks to me and then researching to learn the story related to the photo. Who these women are is very important to me. At the same time I am making decisions about what story I want to tell. I don't want to talk about poverty, depression or other forms of sadness. I'm always searching for a way to show true character.

This is a family picture of women from my husband's family. Knowing the life they lived supports my relationship with the photograph, making the women real and helping me tell a story. I knew they were mother and daughter. I loved the affectionate way the younger woman was lending support to the elder woman. I could see the mother was tolerating her daughter's help. It conveyed trust, humor, love and friendship. And the thing I found most compelling about the photo - both women were barefoot. Knowing the family history, I knew these women had been canning in the kitchen, and it was very hot work, especially in July. They were taking a break, removing hose and shoes,walking on soft grass to the creek so they might dip their feet in the cool water. Catching them on their walk was a lucky moment for the photographer- producing a beautiful and rare photograph of daily life on the farm.                                                                                                    

I spend quite a bit of time determining how these women will fit into my theme. I look through my patterned papers for the right surface to build the painting on. I make a drawing of them for placement and make decisions regarding their setting, clothing, colors. I also consider what message the painting will convey to the viewer. I like to have all of those items resolved before I begin the painting. This painting, Taking a Break, became a successful Mother's Day card.

I will be at Aar River Gallery on Saturday, October 12 from 2 - 4 demonstrating one of my Women I Might Have Known paintings. It's a free demonstration to the public, so stop by if you would like to see more or have questions about my work.

1 comment:

  1. The way you tell the story of women doing ordinary makes them so special.