Venus on My Mind
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
I read something once that compared grief to a shipwreck, it spoke about how sometimes grief can come in large unrelenting waves but will gradually lesson in intensity. I initially took note of it because one of my dearest friends had lost her father and was struggling with grief. Years later I would call upon it during my own periods of grief. First with a beloved pet, again a short time later with the death of my father, and most recently with the sudden death of a friend. It’s helpful to know that, although we all experience the stages of grief, those stages aren’t a step-by-step process but more of an undulating force with a rhythm all its own. Just to keep things interesting, the day’s in-between tragedies were peppered with illnesses, some more serious than others, and many occurring on holidays!
Since then things have started to reach an equilibrium and I have started to get back into painting regularly again. Normally when I’m stuck, I fall into world building, this time around it was through some writing and The Sims which didn’t exactly unstick me. I tried the self-portraits again but I wasn’t feeling the dark moody vibes I was producing. I decided to try something different and a bit more playful, not me as I am but me as I would like to be. The aim was to do some large colorful swatches of blues and oranges with a contour painting over top, more along the lines of a children's book illustration than my more serious work. The end result wasn't as I anticipated (if ever there was an over-arching theme to my art that would be it!!).
Instead of a whimsical, cartoon-like portrait, my painting began to resemble the Venus of Willendorf. While the Venus and I share a similar physique, this wasn't destined to be a self-portrait, whimsical or otherwise. I am often surprised and delighted to see where my art takes me, years of cowing to my inner critic have taught me to just learn to embrace whatever's flowing out of me without judgement and simply create. Currently I have 23 paintings of various Venuses, many are based on the Venus artifacts found globally while others are just mirthful. These paintings have become a sort of meditation on what femininity means and how that has and hasn't changed over the last 35000 or so years.