Blue and Sentimental, mixed media collage, 2021
Meditations on art, nature, and femininity:
I begin with the image of a naked woman, of a woman who is at once very much alive and long dead. She is me and not me.
Every woman. Every woman in my collages—in the Nude Collection, in particular—is me and not me. I allow my intuition to choose which models I work with. There is a moment of “falling in love,” I call it. There must be. And it is always the face. The woman’s face must speak. Her body is secondary, but her eyes, her mouth, the emotion in her face must communicate with the deepest part of me.
I love her. Yes. For a moment, I own the feminine. I hold it in the palm of my hand. She is me and not me.
At once, I set about destroying her. I learn to accept that old forms must die in order for me to see (to see her, to see me) as if for the first time. Ironically, it is most often the face that goes first. I cut off heads, rearrange features, replace them with plants, animals, objects. Kill what I love so that it may be reborn. So that a new woman may emerge and have life.
There was preserved in her the fresh miracle of surprise.Jim Morrison
I tear a page from an old book, and it is no longer a page. I rip it to pieces, and those pieces become new forms, the beginnings of new life, of a new language for the inner woman to speak.
I engage my senses. I work with my hands. I work without thinking. Without consulting the rational mind. I move as if to music only I can hear. I cut, tear, burn, and destroy so that I may live.
It is this way in nature. One of the reasons I love birdwatching so much: every time I see a bird, I feel as if I am seeing it for the first time. Whether it’s the first bird I see at the feeder in the morning, the 50th of the day, or the 100th of the week, I feel the same warm smile spread across my face, the same feeling of lightness, of surprise, of childlike excitement. Look! A chickadee! A woodpecker! A cardinal! Every bird. Every time.
In every bird, as in every creature, is a miracle. In every image of woman I remake, the miracle is reborn. And I see as if for the first time.
This is how it’s supposed to be. This is how we are supposed to see. With our wild eyes. Our innocent eyes. The eyes of the soul. This is the alchemy of nature. Like art, like poetry, nature gives us the gift of seeing our world as if for the first time.
…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?Vincent Willem van Gogh
The inner predator/shadow/critic/destroyer loves monotony, stagnation. Loves what is comfortable, predictable, advantageous, what is safe. But these eyes, these innocent eyes, these animal eyes, these eyes through which I see as if for the first time, these eyes are mine. Yes. These eyes are mine.
Prints for all of the artwork in this post are available in my Etsy shop.
To view more artwork like this, visit the Nude Collection.