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why – an attempt at an artist statement

Do you remember when you lost the ability to play pretend? When did you realize magic wasn’t real? When did the weight of reality and eventual adulthood dim the light of your play, your toys became brittle plastic and you worried at their tangled, matted hair?

My paintings have become about that childish grief that I can’t seem to shake. That feeling of betrayal by promises of love, beauty and adventure. That they were all of our birthright and now we find ourselves denied by reality. It’s confusing. It hurts. It lingers.

I think of my paintings as quiet moments, a space you could crawl into and sleep, a cave, a blanket fort, a cabinet, a cupboard. They’re a sticky drawer you open and find something you thought you had lost forever. They’re a hole you find in a hillside and stick your arm in, not knowing whether you’ll be bitten or pull out treasure. They’re that space in time when you’ve stayed up too late in summer and you’re alone in a giant, throbbing world. They’re the memory of moments sitting in scratchy grass and wondering at the freckles on your arm. They’re that space in time right before and after you lost your power of pretend. That transition.

My paintings are the first time I was ever scared, the porcelain swan on my grandmother’s vanity, are when I realized I wasn’t good at horse back riding just because I was a girl, my unicorn jewelry box with the broken horn, the space under my bed, my flushed cheeks, and that dress in my closet that doesn’t transform me into a heroine of some interesting story.

My paintings are the feeling that weighs on me when I wake up from a dream I don’t want to end, can’t get a grasp of, but I know I’ve lost something beautiful.

My paintings are about knowing that there’s a little girl still inside of me, missing her, not being able to reach her because she hides her face from disappointment. Her and my bones are the most permanent part of me. The rest of me gets scuffed, fades from exposure, wrinkles with use and stumbles about like broken toy ponies.

I want you to know that I feel these things, and I want to know that you do too. And that I haven’t stopped trying to conjure up that same depth of belief.

Every now and then I can make a place or time in the real world sacred and feel that glow of endless afternoon and be safe there, but as those moments get further and further apart, I strive to memorialize their passing in my paintings.

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daily paintings

dailypainting_perfumebottle

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Little glass bottle I bought in the western ghost town of Chloride.
Day 6

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Scottie figurine that lives in my mom’s china closet.
Day 5

I had no idea this daily painting thing was such a thing. I decided to give it a try while on break between semesters so that I can go back as a stronger painter and get to know the medium again. I swear school made me and painting feel like strangers on a bad OKC date.

I came across some other daily painting blogs and also lots of weird articles criticizing the practice(parade rain-ers!). It seems to me other artists do this in order to stay productive, learn how to simplify and to sell. If you rapidly create a batch of small paintings, you have product. Small, minimally labor intensive, product. Which means you can sell them for a low but reasonable price. I may just consider doing that as well. It’d be nice to bring in some money with my artwork.

Here is a list of some other daily painters and their work. Not all of it is necessarily my cup o’ tea, but I like seeing how others approach the practice.

Abbey Ryan
Brian Astle
Lisa Daria
Debbie Becks Cooper
Michael Naples
J Dunster

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leopold seyffert

Behold! The only two paintings I can find by Leopold Seyffert that I super dig! Seyffert was a PAFA student and also a teacher at Moore College of Art & Design. His painting career seems mostly centered around working as a portraitist. His portraits are skilled, and he was hired by and painted many notable people of the day. They get the job done, but they look like work to me. Does that make sense?

I was walking through PAFA’s historic building museum with one of my classes, and saw the below first painting. Of course, it’s much more beautiful in person. The colors, specifically the magenta, is vibrant. There is something Klimt-ish about it, and the Art Deco color scheme particularly appeals to me. The skin sparkles.(edited to add: for some unknown reason, my pictures in this post disappeared, so the new photos don’t convey the color that my former pictures did.)

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The Lacquer Screen

I assume these were painted as a pair. I can’t seem to find anymore work of his similar to these. I wonder what made him paint these, and why he didn’t seem to return to it. He did paint other nudes, but none of them, as far as I’ve seen, are as exciting as this pair.

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Nude with Chinese background