And Now, I’m Not So Sure…

I was feeling pretty passionate about this idea and my art just a few weeks ago, and now that the rush is over, I’m left wondering what all the fuss was about. The thing about negativity and expressing your feelings is… at one point, when does it become just another problem? Where’s the line between catharsis and useless ruminating? Adding text to the landscapes certainly made them less precious, but in the end, it didn’t advance me along my path. Ultimately, I think it might have been just a temporary diversion (possibly influenced by the Prednisone I’m taking for my RA flare – and this wouldn’t be the first time Prednisone led me astray, either!). I’m looking at these images now the way someone might survey their property after a violent storm has passed: I acknowledge that there was no stopping it, and I just hope that there’s no significant, long-term damage.

Warning: some of these images contain adult language.

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A New/Old Direction

They say that when you’re feeling stressed, going for a walk is one of the simplest and best things you can do for your mental health. The trouble is: despite my best efforts, I can never totally forget why I’m out in nature in the first place. And worse yet: I know that the moment I get back into the office, the circus will start up all over again. That’s Life, right?

I’ve also been thinking about how women are under added pressure to disguise their negative emotions in an office environment. Ok, if I’m completely honest, I am ALWAYS thinking about how women are perceived in an office environment (what can I say? I work in a male-dominated industry). How many of us have spoken up for or against something at work and then immediately wondered if we sounded “nice” or “non-confrontational” enough? That’s a lot of emotional care-taking of others in an already stressful situation!

And suddenly, I just wanted to be totally honest: at this moment, I am very stressed, and no amount of greenery will solve my problems. So this week-end, I took some of my landscape paintings and slapped ambivalent or downright negative text right on top of them. As I said last time, even though I’m proud of these paintings, I also find them kind of boring and not representative of me as an artist. I’m not saying that I’ve arrived at my creative destination – it’s just that I feel like I can’t make room for the artist I want to become until I clear out some clutter, if that makes sense. To do that, I had to take these sacred cows and make them a lot less precious.

I’ve added text to about 7 images in all, and I cannot believe how “alive” they look to me now! Whereas before they were just sleepy landscapes, now there is a palpable tension between the peaceful scenery and the jarring, in-your-face negativity of the text. Warning: for some of them, the language I use is pretty adult. I’ll post those next time, and they will be visible under the cut only.

This is by far the most “conceptual” I’ve ever been in my art, and a real departure for me. I have to admit that I had great fun doing it! Globally, I feel that this is more of a “circuit-breaker” and a safe, cheeky way to vent rather than a new direction, but you never know, right? Only time will tell…


Ever get the feeling you’re overthinking a project?

I know exactly how I want to paint the figure, and then I thought “Hang on. I tend to treat the background as an afterthought, but this time, I really want to be sure I choose the RIGHT colour scheme”. So I cracked open Photoshop, and next thing I know, I have too many variations to choose from.

My husband likes #6, but for me, it’s a toss-up between #4 and #8. At least… I think? 😉