White, Woman and Wokeness

I recently posted a new painting of mine (on a Facebook artist group) of a woman whose face is melting/disintegrating in anguish. At least that’s what I hope is portrayed. The working title is “The Moment Of White Privilege Wokeness.” It is a portrait of a mostly well-to-do-white woman coming to terms with white privilege. Although not well-to-do, I live a comfortable life and include myself in this disturbing painting which is my first since the murder of George Floyd. I was unable to paint or comment for weeks after this horrific event and all the ugliness it represents and has cracked open.

There is confusion, sadness, struggle, discomfort, pain and so much more on this topic. As an artist, I feel an obligation to allow all of this to flow through my work. I am not preaching, simply following the footsteps of many an artist whose creativity reflected the good and the ill in society. I posted the painting and opened it up to my artist peers’ critique for examination.

There was a landslide of emotional and international responses to my painting by artists in the group and comments not limited to Mr. Floyd’s murder, but to the whole of white privilege, artistic expression, past vs present, injustice and enslavement of other people globally etc. The discussion got intense but was mostly respectful (and is still ongoing). One comment in particular ignited a gush of responses/reactions. It opened up an opportunity for sensitive conversation and my own thoughts put into words.

The original post/painting (below) included my post:

“I’m feeling very emotional and confused about my artwork and how to respond to the political climate in the US and my own participation in “white privilege.” This is my first painting since the murder of George Floyd and the growing awareness of the intrinsic structural racism in all our institutions. I am struggling with this as an artist and as a human.”

The Moment Of White Privilege Wokeness; Oil on board; 14″ x 18”

The artist comment that sparked sparks:

 “Don’t know what George Floyd has got to do with you painting”

This got number of other artist’s blood boiling, defending and explaining my work for me, and ignited a lengthy discussion-conversation on art and current events. I believe it was/is a necessary thoughtful conduit for all of us to vent, support, teach, reach and grow.

 I would like to include my response for the record to the artist’s question/statement: “Don’t know what George Floyd has got to do with your painting”

“As an artist–I am empathic and try to express what moves me and through me. I question my artwork often to see if it aligns with my life beliefs and life itself. I do not see a difference between my creative process and choices on and/or off the canvas. When a situation occurs that disrupts this process, because it is so hideous and unbelievable–it affects what/how I think is important to express. The fact that George Floyd was brutally “lynched” in the public eye by someone who used his power, given by the people he pledged to protect, in a such a corrupt manner and believed that he would pay no consequences for his actions, harkened back to the Civil Rights movement, the Civil War and the founding of our nation. George Floyd’s death brought this fact into sharper focus than ever before and also laid bare the fact that if there was no video, this policeman would have gotten away with his murder. Black and all people of color have been raging and dying for 400 years, and we (whites) did not listen or act in a manner to make the changes needed to avoid this travesty. I feel that as a comfortable white woman–I have also contributed (although not directly) to this horror. As it has affected my life, as I said above, it affects my artwork. I am just trying to be honest here. It is not up for debate since these are my feelings based on facts. I am sharing among my artist-peers. I am grateful for your comment (name deleted)—I hope this helps clarify why one death affects my creativity.”

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.25.20

On Facebook again: a meme posted by my brother (which I usually ignore but decided to play with this time):

(Create your) Dragon Name–(Your name backward), the (current mood). Hoarder of (last thing you ate) and (object to your right).

Aerdna, the pissed-off hoarder of buckwheat pasta and useless china.

Very silly but fun too. Lots of good and interesting answers. You can tell the healthy eaters from the snackers. LOL.

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 3.29.20

Sometimes it’s all about leaning into it. Sometimes it’s about letting go. It’s Sunday morning and the Corona quiet could be deafening, or it could be soothing. Life is changing, more abruptly than we are used to or care for in our humaness. However, it is nature’s way: through fire, flood, storms, earthquakes and viruses. She is asking us to adapt and grow.

letting go
the dandelion
and me

~

letting go   letting g    letting      lettin         lett           let            …

Salmon Lake, Maine

 

For a Brief and Exciting Moment

like a rock in a river splitting its stream water interrupted returns to its flow

I had two pieces selected for a juried mixed media show, and I’m delighted and proud to announce that one of them received “The Bethlehem House Contemporary Art Gallery’s Directors’ Choice Award.” I was amazed, humbled, and honored trying to process it all. I am a self-taught artist coming from a loving but hard-working, practical and uninterested-in-art family. I had to slowly and with great pain and loneliness at times find my own way and voice. The real artistry/creativity and reward, is about finding one’s whole self and transformation truly from a larva-grub to a moth through to a butterfly-metamorphosis. Lots of angst and breaking through that “I’m not good enough” and perfectionism mentality/training. It’s all part of the process, but for me—as a late bloomer–all the more satisfying and all the more grateful!

One month ago, I wrote about depression. Now, I am writing about success–the pendulum forever swings. The real breakthrough here is not the award itself, however sweet, but the interruption–like the rock in the river, that changes our flow forever however momentarily and seemingly insignificant, in the big watercourse of life. I can now fully appreciate and gratefully wear the mantle of heroine in my own story and forgive and tender the goat when she stumbles.

~

heroine or goat always rocks in the river’s flow

Hensters and the Burbs

Four Hensters On The Fence: Flo, Rosie, Lilly and Leslie/Les (right to left).

The back story:

In a charming backyard in Morris Plains, just off Main Street, four hens climb one-by-one up onto a wooden picket fence at twilight every day. They hang out as chickens do, clucking about the day’s egg-laying while surveying the comings and goings of their neighbors, the Martins, until their keeper puts on her heavy gloves and takes them down into their coop for the evening—(all true so far).

Flo is nosy and a bit of a gossip yet gets flustered rather easily. Rosie thinks that she is right most of the time and is a bit pushy. Lilly is the youngest—sweet and on the shy side, while Leslie/Les is the hip one, and prefers that she/they be considered gender neutral. Thus, according to Leslie/Les (much to the chagrin of Flo and Rosie), she/they are referred to as Hensters, (hens + roosters). Their favorite series on cable TV is Sex And the City, and with a little prodding, will admit to relating to Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda—only with more colorful plumage and much much younger. They are all known to bicker (except for Lilly) over who is most like Carrie Bradshaw, simply because she is the star, and they all long to peck at a typewriter. The Hensters’ story is still evolving–stay tuned.

Some fun facts about chickens: they have great eyesight; teach each other; talk to their chicks before they hatch; are speedy and love to play. They are great characters and used for therapy in some nursing homes.

Regarding the painting: mixed media on board approximately 16” x 20”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Moon Blizzard!

As I sit and wait for yet another Nor’easter to blow through–I try to remind myself of her poetic nature–the storm.

Awoodlandrose's Blog

Bring it on!!! As I sit in my warm house typing away yet to be disturbed by any power outages forcing off lights, water, heat and cell phone. I’ve sat through my share of routine-interrupting storm damage, so I’m not oblivious to its dark side – it’s just that storms change energy. And with the full moon – it’s the lusty wild female energy that awakens in all of us – male and female. It’s our passionate, chaotic creative selves that blows out and about howling free and fierce. YAY!!! I need this once in a blue moon. Once in every season. Once in awhile as a force of nature reminding me who I really am deep within and in relation to Earth and life itself. I made soup, I have candles, books, paper and pencils ready. Extra blankets are out of storage, tea is steeping and my dreamy poetic…

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