Art is a mode of expression
that has played a large role in my life.
Want to see my gallery?! My mother was an artist, but not really by choice. She was a woman growing up in a sexist society and a particularly sexist household. She wanted to be a scientist but she was told that she was not smart enough, incapable because she was a woman. Even if she could take her place as a doctor or researcher somewhere, she had no right to do so because she was taking the place of a man. Starving a family that was depending on the man whose job she'd taken.

This is not what I want to talk about in this section, but I will get around to organizing information later. Please bare with me.

Starting this is very hard. I don't know where to.
This semester I am taking a studio arts class. Most would not find that such a class would cause such deep contemplation, examination of myself and my childhood. But as I said, art has played a large role in my life.

I remember when I was little my mother would give me art lessons. She once took me to a museum with some friends, we brought some papers and charcoal and she sat us down and had us try to copy the great works of art we saw infront of us.

I'll come back and tell more stories later. Right now I want to talk about what's going on for me.
I haven't taken an art class in over four years. In those days I was in the "Art Band", a group of students chosen by the teacher for their outstanding talent, who met twice a week and had special lessons and critiques. Not to say that any of us were particularly good, it had more to do with trying hard. But anyway.
This is very hard for me to explain, but art made me hurt. When I would try to paint, each stroke was nerve raking. I was scared. I didn't know what to do, how to do it, anything. I would look at what other people did and try to figure out how they did it. My best friend was a wonderful artist, she as big circular strokes. Everything was round and pretty, everything was clear. I tried and tried to make my lines like hers. I couldn't even think of what I wanted to paint on my own. I thought her paintings were right and that mine were wrong. Everything I made I was embarrassed by. I have a few precious memories where I let myself free in my paintings, but that was a very long time ago. Sitting alone.
So, since that year I have not even attempted at any art. My photography, my writting, my violin all died, all of my modes of expression.
I amaze myself with my tendancy towards melodrama. This needs to be fixed.
Then last semester I found my way to the fourth floor of the library. For some reason I had an urg to look at some paintings, Georgia O'keefe in particular. I took her home and looked at her lines. I had brought a little box of water colours with me to school, and I took them out. Using the little pieces of cardboard from our chinese food delivery, I started to paint. Soon I found myself coming back to my room every afternoon and painting. On Pizza boxes, on anything. I started with black, then I found red and then blue. At first it was nothing but those colours, but I was amazed with what I could do with them. Then a friend introduced me to yellows, oranges and greens. Coulours I had never used, even when I was young. This was taking all of my time and my thought, but I felt as though I was meditating when I painted. Then I decided that I had to take studio art.
We did charcoals today. Trying to capture movement. Our model was a violinist. I was all there and I was all happy. I couldn't stop myself. I was moving back and forth, I could feel my heart beating. All of a sudden I noticed that I was drawing with my left had. Sudden bursts of laughter, a child's giggle. My arms went everywhere in the air, they perched up around the back of my head. I found myself sighing, breathing, making sounds without thinking.

I don't know why this has happened. But I am very thankful. It changes who I am, or maybe just allows me to realize who I am. I still found myself looking at other people's painting and thinking that mine should look more like theirs. It is a conscious effort, but I see that mine is just a different style, different taste and not better or worse. I sometimes take a stroke that I see someone else doing and try it out myself, sometimes I like it and keep it, but I can see things in my own that I like as well. I look at my paintings and I think of my mother. I see some of her strokes, I see her style and I am proud. I understand that my art is mine, is me and that my style is indicative of that. I want to work on my own techniques, develope my style, make it unique. When I saw today my mother's stroke in my painting, it made me happy because it is an expression of her in me. I miss her very much and am glad to know that I have her with me, no matter how much I may have my own style. I don't know how to say this, I keep erasing everything. But I want to get something down. My friends, my family, I have pieces of all of them in me. It makes me happy to see them in my art, because I love them, but mostly because it shows me that it's me. I never thought that I would have a style of my own, that I would need to express myself in a certain way over another. I never thought it was important.
So, I look forward to a semester, a life, of self exploration and discovery.

Return to my home