Thursday, March 21, 2013

Je Dessine: Letting Go of Perceptions

"Merman" acrylic
Over the Christmas holidays, while my husband was recovering from his hip replacement surgery, I had the thought to try to paint a picture of him at the beach. He is a religious body boarder and you'll see him in his wetsuit in the Northern California waves throughout the year no matter the weather or temperature. The prospect of him going without this ritual for over three months was depressing for him and I understood this need and his deep desire for that source of exercise, meditation, and natural immersion. So in late January, working from a photograph, I started a painting of him standing on the beach with the waves behind him. But I felt stuck trying to duplicate what I saw in front of my eyes. What I perceived in the photograph and translated to the canvas just didn't look or feel right. I mulled over it with with my teacher Sabrina then left. When I came back the next week I started on it again, but still not happy about what I saw. Sabrina then suggested that I start another canvas and try not to think about what I doing as I painted. We put on my favorite composer Eric Satie's music, and I talked to her non-stop about the time I had spent in New Orleans while I chose colors, outlined a shape, laid down paint. This painting is what I did in that two hour session. Although not consciously intentional -- for me it perfectly represents the essence of the man I am married to -- rising up out of the water with seaweed falling off of him and surrounded by the colors that he so loves. I did add the gills though:) I gave it to him on Valentine's Day.


  1. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! I like how you kept the details of him a mystery... or is that just how your style is? This could fit any male that loves the ocean- which is what I like...very symbolic. Sabrina was totally right..

  2. Thanks Chris! It just emerged the way it did -- I had no control over this one!