COMPOSING A FEELING

COMPOSITION – The nature of something’s ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up.

Let’s use a shirt as an example of a composition. Isn’t it true that as pieces of material are sewn together, a 3-dimensional composition comprised of size, shape, color, and texture is the result? A construction of fabric, buttons, zippers, snaps, collars and cuffs is arranged and assembled into a distinct garment. These garments can become a favorite piece of clothing that possess the ability to make us FEEL, not only the physical sensation on our skin, but an emotion within us. As in, comfort, warmth, happiness, hipness, even sexiness. How can a simple, ordinary object elicit such a sense of satisfaction? A beautiful memory? Nostalgia? What is it that provokes us to reach for that favorite shirt or sweater? The one with the looseness or tightness in just the right places. The one that feels silky, smooth and sexy. The one full of holes that has seen better days, yet reminds us of a past lover or experience. The one that is just so fuzzy and soft that it’s the only. thing. that will make us feel warm and comfortable in that moment. Need I go on about that perfect pair of jeans that fit just right? We can cover ourselves with clothes to hide our perceived imperfections, or we can reveal ourselves, accentuating the parts of us that we love. Clothes are a representation of both our vulnerabilities and our confidence and strengths.

The definition of composition in artistic terms is that of a work of literature, music, or art. It can be a painting, a poem, a play, a symphony, or a drawing, to name a few. My goal as a painter is to create a composition, often using ordinary objects, like a shirt, painted on the canvas in a way to evoke a feeling. Sometimes it’s about the light. Sometimes it’s about the space and how it’s occupied. Sometimes I’m capturing a moment from my own experience. It’s no different than a poet’s ability to use words to capture an emotion. Just as I use my canvas to arrange my composition, a poet arranges words to create a poem. It can be how the words are arranged, using meaning, sound, and rhythm. It’s not only these things that define a poem. Creativity defines a poem. A beautiful mind, life experience and imagination define a poem. A poet is a poem.

Sometimes it’s the inherent meaning in how the shirts are placed.
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Sometimes it’s just about capturing the beauty of an ordinary shirt. Comfortable T’s. They just make me feel good.
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Sometimes it’s just about the shirt.
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KNOWING WHEN TO STEP THROUGH, STEP UP, OR SIT DOWN

I’ve learned that it takes a dose of self-awareness to discover true authenticity. How do we know what feels in alignment to us if we haven’t explored our depths? We need to question and challenge the beliefs that no longer feel good to us, those that have been programmed deep within us, not only by our ancestral DNA, but by those of the societal ‘norms’ enveloping us. Finding authenticity is taking the deep dive into ourselves, facing our shadows and flaws to uncover our empowerment and strength. We can discover the core beauty and truth that combine to form our uniqueness as kind and loving human beings. It is the graceful and elegant essence of our unique individuality that combines with others to turn the smoldering embers back into a healthy passion for change. We will start to understand what it means to find a solution instead of contributing to the problem.

This journey into self-awareness, unbeknownst to me at the time, was unfolding on a subconscious level through my creative process as a painter. The inspiration for my paintings morphed and changed over the course of 25 years. It is a fascinating realization to now understand how the compositional elements in my paintings were a subconscious manifestation of my self-awareness journey.

I started with doors. While they were textured and colorful, usually with some kind of structural element, they were always closed.
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Then the doors started opening.
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After the door phase, I started climbing. Staircases became one of my favorite compositions. They always ascended.
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I then entered my chair phase. I was going full throttle at that point in my life and knew that I really needed a rest.
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I began the deep-dive when my chairs started to include pillows and blankets.
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VISUAL HYGGE

Hygge, pronounced hue-guh, is a Danish word. It embodies a conscious awareness of slowing down and enjoying the present. It can be a feeling. It is the creation of security, comfort and simplicity.

I’ve been creating a body of work for the last several years that I call my “Life Stills”. I am seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary and the imaginative in the mundane. I am attempting to bring you back into the moment of what is, reminding you to slow down and take notice…..to appreciate what you have before you.
Visual hygge.

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“Pillows”
64”x18”
Acrylic Painting

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“Folded Sheets”
62”x20”
Acrylic Painting

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“Shirt”
56”x14”
Acrylic Painting

HEALTHY LIVING THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS

We’ve all heard of the body-mind-spirit connection. I believe that human beings have the potential to function like well-oiled machines. If we can build and strengthen the body-mind-spirit interplay, we can evolve into fully operational, high efficiency, livers-and-lovers-of-life.

BODY Just like vehicles need gasoline to operate, we, as humans, need to eat healthy and nutritious food to fuel our bodies. While it’s important to move our bodies to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping, it’s as equally important to know when our bodies need to rest, relax, and sleep.
MIND It’s not always easy to pay attention to our thoughts, but we need to. Our thoughts can be the villain, or the hero. They can be the culprit, or the saint. It’s fascinating when you truly understand that you’re in the driver’s seat. Thoughts can be whatever you want them to be.
SPIRIT When we can connect to something bigger than ourselves, we are imbued with a sense of empowerment, safety, and most importantly, what it means to love……ourselves, as well as others. There is no singular way in which seekers of a spiritual connection find their path. The unfolding of that path can be excruciating, but ultimate freedom is what lies in wait.

The paintings below are part of a body of work that I began over 10 years ago. At that time, I had no conscious concept or understanding of the body-mind-spirit connection. It’s obvious to me now that my creativity process at the time was assisting these elements to percolate to the surface of my consciousness.

“Green House”
24”x30”
Acrylic on Canvas.
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“Lost in a Book”
18”x18”
Acrylic on Canvas
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“Having an Off-Balance Day”
24”x18”
Acrylic on Canvas
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