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If paintings are a method of communicating, what are we saying?

One of the things I struggle with is what my art is saying.

Artists are supposed to be activists. Supposed to have agendas. Are supposed to tell stories with their art.

I do tell stories, or re-tell stories with my art. I explore what it means to be a living, feeling human.

But I often feel like my work should say more. Do more.

When my kids leave me to go somewhere, especially when they were little, or going over night, I have a little ritual I do with them.

Hell, I do it when they’re scared or stressing about something at school.

I pull them into my arms and squeeze are hard as I can and I ask them if they can feel me squeezing my heard into theirs. I tell them that wherever they go, when their heart beats mine is beating alongside it too.

There are paintings where I’ve felt that as I painted. Squeezing my heart into the piece. My breath catches when I see them. And when they sell, because those ones go fast, it breaks my heart.

Our art, as a culture, reflects back onto us. We use art to help figure out ancient civilizations. To untangle the spaghetti of history and maybe get a bigger picture.

 

Sometimes too much picture!

When the Pompeii exhibit came to The Royal Ontario Museum, it was the art that was telling the stories. Telling us about the every day lives of the people, long dead.

Their sense of humour. Their fashion sense. And heck, even their sex lives.

It was an incredible experience to see the artifacts in person.

If I can get a little woo-woo here, it felt like there was no barrier between me and the artists. Their skill, their emotions, both came through in the pieces.

Not the anonymous photos from books. The statues that all look the same. No! In person, there was spirit and soul in everything.

I learned more, felt more and became connected with a people that died tragically 1900 years ago.

So….This is the area I’m focusing on now in my art. Putting my soul, my heart, into every piece.

I’m not an activist. I don’t have a political agenda. But I am an artist. And I’m painting a reflection of our culture as it is today from where I’m standing.