art is the soul made visible

art is the soul made visible

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Wanting", Feeling Stuck, and Symbolism

Hello Dear Friends! I just finished a painting today that I want to share with you.  I will be submitting it to the San Diego Watercolor Society gallery this weekend for the monthly juried show (wish me luck!)  This one is titled "Wanting". It is done in mixed media on paper and  measures 20" x 22".  Price is $575 framed.  I am very pleased with how this one turned out!!

I really had to work for this one.  I did some of the work on this piece during a spell of depression.  When I started the piece I was feeling okay, but halfway through...I was hit with a very, very deep depression. The depression pretty much murdered my inspiration.  It is rare for me to lack inspiration or drive to make art, so it was pretty painful to experience that while creating this painting. I really had to push, to force myself, to keep going.  Fortunately the depression (slowly) lifted and inspiration returned, but it was rough going for a bit. I started the flowers during that rough spot. I ended up pushing through that feeling of "stuckness" and coming up with something beautiful (...beautiful to me anyway).  I experimented and used totally new (or "new to me") techniques and materials for the flowers.  I really felt like my ability to create took a leap forward during that experimentation process. That perseverance, that determination to keep going despite the oppressive force that is depression...I ended up expanding my skill set and bringing extra excitment to my art practice.  I look at this finished piece and see my ability to transcend difficulties and my passion for art.  The experience of struggling to get past that "stuckness", the triumph over difficulties...makes this a particularly meaningful and  beautiful piece for me. I hope you enjoy it too!

Symbols have been showing up a lot in my art lately. For me art is very therapeutic and healing. I often say art is my best medicine-and truly it is.  Recently with the heavy use of symbolism in my subconscious  seems to be  working things out on the canvas/paper whether I like it or not.  In this piece I didn't consciously decide, "I am going to work out some of my issues here in this painting".  It happened much more organically.  I felt compelled to add the various elements and during/after adding them I was moved to contemplate their meaning.  Not only did I end up with a pretty painting at the end, but I did actually gain some insight and clarity.

Symbols can be highly personal.  There are some symbols that seem to be almost universal (like a heart being symbolic of love) and some symbols seem to make sense only to the person using them.  I will share some of my personal symbolism with you now.  The hands in this painting represent yours truly-they represent facets of me.  The eye in the dark hand represents "seeing"...insight, wisdom. The gold hand with the hole in the palm represents that part of me that feels something is missing...emptiness, void, something lacking. I am reaching up to that part of myself that is wise and knows what I need and how to access it. For me flowers have a number of, nature, growth, spirituality, and more. In this piece I feel they represent (at least partly) spiritual growth. You might notice that the dark hand appears to be dropping the flowers...?  One of the messages I am getting from this artwork is that I am looking/reaching for something (something "real" that is actually  available to me), but I am not quite catching/grasping it.  There is more meaning that I gleaned from this work, but I will keep some of that for myself.  I do hope that by sharing I will add something to your experience of viewing art-not just my own art, but all art.  Exploring symbolism can be very interesting and useful-be it our own symbols or those used by others. 

Thank you so very much for reading!! I would love to hear any thoughts that you have!  xoxo


  1. So happy to hear about the continued growth and healing going on in your life they your art work! Absolutely beautiful painting by the way! Love the colors and design!! :-D

    1. Thank you sweet Micheal! Sending happy wishes your way! xo