“The Secret Keepers,” 2018, acrylic on 36″x36″ stretched canvas
First and foremost, I want to heap praise and gratitude upon everyone who participated in this game, in any way!!! Whether it was as a full-bore participant (you know who you are, rockstars!), or as a partial participant (who still created gorgeous art, btw!) or as a much-loved and much-appreciated cheerleader/follower, we created a beautiful mutually supportive international online community! That was the best and most unexpected gift of this game!!! I am humbled by the responses I got to my little invitation, and I am thrilled to be in the company of an ever-widening group of diverse and incredible artists.
[for more details on the Instagram #31daysofpainting game in May, please read my last post, from April 28. Also, please visit my Insta feed @lisapalmerart and the hashtag #31daysofpainting, to see more about it]
I promised a prize to everyone who successfully participated, and last week I was able to make good on that promise. I created little 3×4 original abstract paintings and sent them to those artists. It was surely a labor of love, in that I feel I know them all quite well at this point, even though the majority I’ve only met online. Here are some of them:
I’ve been hesitant to wrap up the incredible #31daysofpainting journey with a blogpost, for many reasons. Aside from the fact that my architecture work life has lately gotten very time-consuming, I’ve been hemming and hawing over how much I want to talk about the painting I produced during that game. Because it became something so big, an unexpected wallop to my soul, and a thing I find hard to describe. I was very intentional in NOT having any expectations as to what I would make, other than paint on canvas. This was a meditative, intuitive practice for me, so healing and refreshing in that most of the time my left brain was completely turned off. The fact that it took a turn from a colorful abstract to representational images surprised me. But I just kept going. It flowed through me. It was pure magic. I wasn’t leading it, I was walking beside it, and I didn’t question all the sharp turns it took. Every day was a new day, until about day 25, when I finally understood what it was all about and why I was tasked with painting it. So now I’ll attempt to walk you through the highlights, as they unfolded….
The first 6 days were all about playing with color and abstracts……
Then for no apparent reason a tree line appeared. On day 10 a face and a river started to emerge. By the end of day 13, the face became a mask…….
Then something very unexpected happened. I turned the painting sideways (no idea why, I never ask why, right brain in charge) and painted a mysterious beautiful face, in a realistic manner, completely out of the style of the rest of the painting. She appears to be weeping, sad or in pain. She was so powerful that I realized the rest of the painting needed to evolve to match her poignancy. So the mask became another face, this one looking sideways. And the feelings of avoidance and secrecy became clear to me. By the end of the third week, a third face started to emerge at the top, and a river runs through it all…….
The third face is looking down, in shame perhaps? Again, no direct eye contact. The river started splitting into waterfalls. And on day 26 there’s a sunrise. Now I knew what this painting was all about….
It’s an allegorical painting of darkness and light, of despair and hope. It’s a timely representation about women who have been preyed upon, and yes, it’s dedicated to all my fellow #metoo sufferers. Look away, look down, cry, deny, pretend it’s not happening, living with shame and secrets, not being believed or taken seriously, isolated, loss and disassociation, living with sadness, confused, losing jobs, feeling powerless, being at the mercy of others, losing friends, losing family, not wanting to rock the boat, afraid to speak truth, afraid to trust, not wanting be be open and vulnerable. Living in a world of beauty while feeling detached and not present to it. Yet being connected to all the other people who have been prey, by a long endless river. This is no way to live.
Now that the theme was clear to me, I had a few more days to add to the painting to make sense of the story. Because it is also a story of hope, wisdom, life, freedom, connection and empowerment. A new day. Trusting our innate wisdom while existing in our shadow side, so an owl and the moon emerged. The waterfalls became ferocious and dynamic, symbolic of our capacity for resilience and redemption. And finally, on the last day, a beautiful red rose right in the center, a symbol of love, beauty and martyrdom.
WHOA!!!! Not my usual subject matter. I tend toward uplifting images, happy and poignant. I paint intuitively, attempting to express feelings of positivity and beauty. But this became so much bigger than my usual. It is a very important piece for me, definitely a touchstone in my creative journey. Cathartic and healing.
Thank you to my angel friend D’Wana, who named this painting before I even explained to her what it was about. Because she knows. I am beyond grateful that the #metoo movement has emerged, FINALLY, in my lifetime. Because it truly has become a cultural shift in our society. To me it is the greatest revolution of my lifetime. I hope and pray ALL victims of sexual predators feel empowered to speak up now, in the moment, before or during or after assault or harassment, speak to someone they trust, now that the veil of secrecy has been lifted. In my day, when I was preyed upon, I was not believed, or I was told to get over it and just “move on”. Basically, just shut up about it. I estranged myself from certain branches of my extended family, I left good jobs (20 years apart, mind you!), my life was upended a couple times, and I suffered in mostly silence alongside other women who, like me, knew no one cared. There was no recourse, no moral punishment of the aggressors by our communities. It was the way things were, the way they had “always” been, and we were expected to accept it (“boys will be boys”). We have seen so many examples in the media of brave men and women who are speaking the truth, reclaiming their power, seeking some justice, even years later, and even in the face of some cynical criticism. The truth is so much more powerful than any idiotic punditry now, and for that I am especially grateful. The fact that people are being believed and accepted, and that some of the perpetrators are feeling the power of justice finally served, well, I am in awe.
May the light of truth continue to spread its beauty over all of us!!!!
And so in celebration, please enjoy this slide show of the entire 31 days of the evolution of my painting…………..
The response and enthusiasm for this game were so overwhelming that we’re going to do it again!!! Please join us, it’s open to one and all, beginners and experienced artists alike. All you need is a desire to have fun playing with paint! If you look through all the posts on the #31daysofpainting feed, you’ll see the works ran the gamut! So much beauty, so much growth. And everyone had so much fun!!
We’re going to do a shorter one in July, #15daysofpainting that starts exactly 4 weeks from today, on July 15. And then we’ll do another 31 days again in October. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter (here on the right) to keep up with the simple rules and updates and tips for success. I would SO LOVE to have you join us!!!!