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Interpretation and Style

I have always maintained that Art is an emotion…. When an Artist paints, no matter what it is, they are in a certain frame of mind; feeling certain emotions. For me personally. I find that the music I am listening to or the events happening in my life at that particular time affect the way that I paint. If I am painting a particularly happy painting…perhaps people laughing or smiling, I am generally in that frame of mind too. If I am not, I find it difficult to paint that particular piece if this is the emotion that I wish to reflect. This can be said about any painting. My emotions come through in a painting, whether I intend or want them to or not. Painting is my way of expressing whatever it is that I am feeling at the time. It is hard to turn off my emotions, as this is what feeds my passion to paint. Having said this, when one looks at a painting, it usually evokes an emotion in us the viewer. Have you ever looked at a painting and felt nothing? As in nothing at all? I have. It is awful. I kind of stare at it thinking…”What?…” My question is for the Artist. What are you trying to say? I don’t get it? I am not sure how to describe this kind of painting. What does it mean? What was he thinking? I find these emotionless paintings frustrating. I hardly ever recall what the painting was soon after looking at it. However, someone else may look at the exact same painting and it stirs something in them that is so overwhelming and powerful, that they love it! A friend and Artist Lakota Philips sent me a quotation one day and we decided to paint our interpretation of this quotation. We never discussed it, we just took the quotation and went from there. The quotation was this:

No creature is fully itself till it is like the dandelion, opened in the bloom of pure relationship to the sun, the entire living cosmos ~ DH Lawrence

I know that what DH Lawrence was trying to say here. However, it is not a quote that I fully agree with, or even like. This is my interpretation of what this quote means to me. I deliberately depicted a young beautiful naked woman as DH Lawrence’s dandelion. Although deep in my heart I am trying to emphasize vulnerability and beauty, more so, my emphasis is on desire. Not necessarily sexual desire, just something that everybody has; a significant ‘something’ that someone else wants. She is defenseless in her pose, vulnerable in her nakedness and desirable in her youth and beauty. The hands are grabbing, taking, raping – not just in a physical way but in all ways. They are objects of lust, greed and danger. They are the hands of society. I used the quote on the painting emphasizing letters that spell the word NO RAPE. To expose oneself in the way that DH Lawrence suggests is to expose oneself to death, as an object of sacrifice. A dandelion only purpose is to be tossed and blown by the winds until everything that it was, is no more. Wow! What a concept…! I could probably blog this painting forever as there was so much going through my mind while painting it. A psychologist would have a field day on this painting as the emotion that I felt while creating it was so intense. I was feeling anger, hurt, pain and sadness all at once. (who needs a psychologist when you can paint …right? :o))
This is Lakota’s interpretation of this same quote. She never gave me her written interpretation, although I don’t think that she needed to. We were on the same page.

Sue-Ann, Jax and Tammy - 3 interpretations of the same image

So often I have painted something that I have never exhibited simply because I felt that it was more of an exercise and maybe just because I didn’t feel that it was any good, and someone would walk in to my studio and see it peeking out from behind a stack of canvasses and ask to see it. I would haul it out and suddenly I have a sale….go figure! Read more about interpretation in CRITICIZING ART
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