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Without a Net

Daring Starts From Within

Tag / victim

All Frailties That Besiege

Monkey

Oil on board           2015          16″ x 20″

Sometimes life is so confusing that I assume I’m not seeing reality clearly. I’ve had times when I would label myself as crazy, and I’d feel the shame that accompanies such a classification.

I chose a chimpanzee for my painting because they act zany. I dressed him in a straightjacket because that’s where crazy people can end up. A straightjacket is also a metaphor for constraint. I used to feel incarcerated by the maze of thoughts and feelings that converged when situations and people were beyond what I thought I could handle.

I imagined the cast of a circus would sum up the whole idea of crazy with its outlandishly costumed characters and their variety of exaggerated body sizes. What a joy it was portray the clowns and weirdos! I kept the background a monochrome blue to relegate their presence to a dreamlike haze of sameness. They are presumably an influence on the monkey’s craziness, but he stands out on his own as being the main-event nut. (Excuse my use of these politically incorrect words for mental instability. I’m not meaning to be dismissive of real mental illness. I’m using offhand lingo to vaguely sum up a felt state.)

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My Tatter’d Loving

16

16″ x 20″ 2012

I really hate to confess it, but I still fall prey to the “helpless woman” complex. When I was in elementary school, our teacher had a grave conversation with us about women in the workforce. At that time women were almost exclusively relegated to jobs as secretaries, librarians, schoolteachers, waitresses, and maids. My teacher, with wide eyes, informed us that there were women out there in the world who were doctors! We shook our heads with disbelief. It’s amazing to think that in my lifetime the possibilities and expectations of what women can accomplish have expanded so much. But, having watched most of the women who raised my generation live their life with so fewer choices, I still find myself underestimating my abilities.

This painting came up as an idea when I found myself writing a note to my husband asking him to change the message on our business voice mail. I stopped mid-note and realized that, of course, I could figure it out myself and do it in a few minutes. It was an absolutely elementary task. I recognized a habit that comes up more often that I’d like it to. I have a subtle and insidious notion that I can’t do as much as HE can.

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