Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Women and Girls - Pastel 108 Out of Order

I am posting this out of order because I've been waiting several months for this one and it finally arrived.  I am deeply moved and angry about the treatment of women and girls in our world.

I feel that regardless of the progress made for equality, our society (men and women both) is finding new (and renewed) ways to treat women as objects and handicap them in ways that are pervasive.  Of course this happens to all sorts of people and groups of people, but while I hate injustice in any form, I am particularly invested in this subject through my relationships with my wife and with my daughter.  This issue has sunk its teeth deep into me, and I expect more images, and with the images, more conversations.

Several things aligned to make this pastel happen.
1. I finally have a fast enough and open enough practice to allow the inner images to emerge.  As far as I can recall, I have ALWAYS wanted this channel.  I never actually made the effort to open it.
2. I've grown recently alarmed at the way cultures (including our own) treat women and girls.
3. I realized that for the first time I had an emotionally charged theme that would also inspire my images, and I began to think about that often.  I started some conversations with family and friends about it, as well.  I made the connection between the emotions and the art.

The result is that this first image about our society and women emerged this weekend.  The piece happened in the usual way, but after over a month of no pastels (mostly being so busy at work, home, and Kickstarter).  With some encouragement (nudges) from Dearest, I stood before the page, drew a mess of pen lines and this began to rise to the surface.  I finished it in a single hour long white heat (literally, because it was about 95 degrees in the garage where I have to do these).

The trigger moment, as is often the case, was one indelible real memory - another image.  At the Saturday Solstice Party of our wonderful neighbors one of our other neighbors arrived late to the evening poker game, freshly showered, having put her 3yo to bed and baked her a birthday cake, and dressed in a strapless sundress.  The memory of her shoulders and neck rising up out of the dress, and the slender delicate beauty of them as she stood near our poker table were evoked by the lines on the paper that became the left hand figure's right shoulder and tilted head.  As I saw that one fragment and in a flash of memory recognized the human figure it would become, the rest of the piece emerged as if the lights were being turned up in a dark room.  Mind you, this piece is not directly related to that neighbor, but the memory of her shoulders and neck were the recognition point for the first figure to be pulled from the pile of random lines I had put on the paper as a start.

And as the other figure emerged, and neither of the women had arms, I knew what this was.  Then I got out of the way and let my hands and my cold rage finish it.

I hope this happens again.  And again.

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