Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
(1813 - 1855)
The layers of my life
I had a discussion yesterday, at my critique group, about one artist's work that was particularly cluttered and had "so much" going on, all at the same time. Since art is essentially a reflection of society, it was interesting to make note that this young artist's work was a very clear, visual expression or description of life's "busyness" today. While there have always been things in life that would take us "out of the moment"; music, art, literature... now Facebook, emails, texting, and chatting are new, interactive portals to other places and people that live at our fingertips, allowing more than one level, or moment of life, to exist at a time.
This led me into an interesting analysis of my own art. I thought about how I am compelled to build a world of layered collage within my paintings, before I even start to paint. I was asked recently, why I spend so much time putting these beautiful layers of collage down and then cover so much of it up, leaving only a suggestion of the layers underneath. Well, I think I can finally answer that question.
I need layers. I need things going on underneath my paintings...underneath my life. Some of those layers— the relationships and connections I have, are clearly visible and are a rich statement in the painting I am living at the moment. They, of course, are the focus of my life and I try very hard to carefully and visibly maintain them.
However, there are other layers— those spontaneously adhered to my life... stolen moments of conversation and connection. Moment to moment, fluctuating between existing and then being thoroughly painted over; cleared and deleted...hidden from everyone but me. Just like in my collaging, where I don't always know the purpose to the pieces I impulsively select, I wander around with these connections in my thoughts, trying to find the right place to glue them down. It doesn't matter if they aren't visible or that they don't support a strong element of my life's composition. They exist on a different layer. They exist to give my life richness, to add volume and width, which in turn, enriches my understanding, my experience and ultimately my journey in life.
Their presence, although not obvious, are tangible elements in me.... just like the beautiful little ridges, and shadows and lines underneath the paint in my art.