This quote by Georgia O’Keefe has made it’s way in to my life repeatedly in the last week.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way- things I had no words for.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I would expand it to include thoughts and beliefs all of which I suppose technically words could be used to convey.
Lately, I also find that as I make things with color and shape then go back to them for study, the words or stories, the thoughts or beliefs, begin to reveal themselves.
More often than not, it seems when I review it, the work taps in to a universal symbolism of which I am not consciously aware until I seek it out. I make the marks on a page. I then look back on them after studying the symbolism and think “yes, that, exactly that!”
That is precisely the case for this work.
The story circle above has evolved over the course of one plus years. This is the longest period of time I have ever worked on a piece. I started it February 1, 2014 as a celebration of imbolc, then unfinished, I put it away.
As I put it away I’m pretty sure there was an admonishing thought along the lines of “why the hell are you painting a goddess and a rabbit?”. A couple of months later while cleaning my studio I pulled it back out but didn’t work on it so... I put it away again. There it sat until this year Imbolc hit. That morning I remembered the piece and pulled it out again. This time I knew she was ready to be completed. A new beginning.
It depicts Brigid, Celtic goddess of the forge and the hearth. Also goddess of poetry, healing, birth, and unity. She sits gazing lovingly at a rabbit who gazes back in return. Rabbit, symbolic of abundance, vulnerability, and creation.
Snowdrops are scattered through Brigid’s hair, a symbol of Brigid herself but also symbolic of hope, purity and consolation. Copper shimmers amongst the snow drops, a nod to copper pennies thrown in fountains, a practice which dates back to ancient coins being tossed as gifts in Brigid’s well. It is said she always rewards an offering.
Brigid flows in to the moon and then the moon reverses and circles back around Brigid as well. The moon, symbolic of female, clarity, reflection.
The rabbit created in copper much like Brigid’s hair. Copper said to symbolize charisma, feminine beauty, artistic creativity, affection, caring and balance.
This piece created in watercolor, then morphed in to collage, finally moving on into machine stitching as she was finished.
This piece for me conveys a story of the feminine. Sitting with it has revealed a number of fears in me.
I shared this piece with some folks and mentioned that one of my greatest fears as I move more and more fully in to this life as an artist of alignment; as I create with purpose, works that excite me, is that I might be viewed as a weirdo, a freak, a crazy... I worry that as I share more and more of the whys behind much of my current work that some people will think I'm a nutball. A real woo-woo whackadoo.
Re this fear one woman replied, “You are already a weirdo, a freak and (not) crazy...now that you know this, you can proceed. Pretend you are one of our men-folk, they don't worry about sh×t like this. You are an artist.”
I loved it! I bristled slightly at the men-folk generalization but realized that part of what she said is the other part of the challenge. I am finally starting to embrace and own the fact that I am feminine and can't just power my way through everything.
So here I am admitting it. I hope you take me as I am.
Now I’m off to paint some more colors and cut some more shapes to see what words they have to share with me.
*I'm finally restocking my store and a print of this piece is available here. Contact me directly to inquire about the original.