Escaping Burdens

"Escaping Burdens" is a mixed media/ encaustic (wax)  painting on an archival paper.  I always paint for as much permanence as we know.

I have been asked to explain more and more about my paintings, the emotional content.  I have always shied away from doing that.  I wanted the viewer to create their own narrative and not be directing how they might view the piece.

This one is quiet simple, we all have many burdens in our lives. Some people readily share and some don't.  Sometimes the burdens in my paintings are not that of my subject but my own, visually placed on my subject.  So my model becomes the prop for the inner goings on.

The process of this painting is approximately 7 layers of work and is classified as a painting on paper. Here I utilize the encaustic (wax) method, which I have used for over 30 years.  My final stage in this type of work is covering the total piece with raw umber oil paint and combining with my own painting medium of 1/3 each linseed oil, damar and artist turp.  I totally obscure my work with the dark paint leave it on for a minute or so and then take a soft cloth and wipe my painting clean of the dark paint.  When I first started doing this, it was pretty worrisome, that I might lose the entire piece, but the result is amazing.  Prior to the application of heavy rich oil paint, I scribe into the piece with a lot of linear work (You know I love the line).  Look at the red that edges her head and down her arm.  Look at how many other pieces of mine you will find the linear emphasis.   The oil will grab any of the line and low area, these are all the "suprises".  You can also call them the flaws or imperfections in perfection.

I begin with my model, the sketch, watercolor base, then I added gesso and acrylic, collage pieces for mosaic appearance, built up features with paint, pencil, wax. definitely had to add the red line work.  Then scribe into my surface and you will generally see squares scribe in.  I generally use a darning needle to do my scribe work.  Again, final is the oil and wipe off.

In the close-ups you will see all the wonderful surface texture that this piece holds. 

emotional and or symbolic content:

Painting is the best medicine in the world.  And I project a happy exterior and interior.  Through painting I can mull over situations and allow some sort of resolution.  It could be compared to pleasure/pain.  The end result is a pleasurable piece I can look at, and I have had my therapy session all in one.   I am the fortunate one.

Here in "Escaping Burdens", the negative space is equally as important.  I have fractured it with a mosaic technique.  Things that can fall apart, but can still be assembled.  With my attractive, youthful model, she should not have any issues, yet has a raven on her arm. The raven is not always a pure black bird, but has blue hues, etc.  The raven is not presented in the 3-D.

The Raven is a creature that is most often connected with death, but it can also foretell something in your life is about to change in a strong way.  In some cultures the Raven becomes a guide through a life transition.

The raven can also strengthen your sense of observation, making one aware and through it's guiding quality bring you into a healthy light.

Look closer and I have three ravens, 2 in silhouette,  now for numbers.  The number three has many meanings within religion, numerology, symbolism in art, etc.  For me and within this piece it is the optimism; body, soul and spirit.  With some sources 3 optimizes joy, inspiration and creativity.

With those few things stated about this piece, now to creating the composition with my inner narrative.
Her hands come together, she has made a circle, a completion, her eyes are closed and calm.  The Raven is not physically there, but is the burden personified.  She is gaining truth or clarification to her mental state, possibly mine.  With the three I can eventuate  the escape, but not a terrifying escape, but a dream like escape.  Symbolism might also state that if you dream in 3 or the number three you will be enlightened.   There is a push/pull with this piece, but my finished take is a quiet resolve.

In composition: Even the handling of her hair, very few strokes balance the small elements behind her.  We can all hope for a peace at the end of the day, an answer to our questions, hope for an outcome, peace in our hearts.

There should always be a balance in your work of small, medium and large elements, as well as dark, medium and lights.  But this balance has to be off balance, never in the same amount.

Matting and framing this piece gives you limitless opportunities.  Many want to only purchase the original.  On artspan if print options are available, you have the free opportunity to see how this would look in a variety of frames and mats whether purchasing the original or a print.  And to view it on a colored wall  of your choice.  I think this is a wonderful opportunity.  If you purchase the original you will have some great ideas for when the piece arrives.

Enjoy, nancy


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