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Archive for the ‘in the studio’ Category

once_wearing_her_heart_on_her_sleeve_was_passe_she_wore_her_viscera_for_a_hat

First, the title of the blog post… at times I get a title before the painting ever begins… this is one such instance,  I wrote it down last year but haven’t created a painting for it yet. (Actually I did create a piece since this originally posted, it is depicted above) It’s sort of me tongue n cheeking myself…. “Once wearing her heart on her sleeve was passe, she wore her viscera for a hat”

Its about going one step beyond wearing ones heart on ones sleeve…

Today I tripped down the rabbit hole when I started to think about the heart imagery in my work. Rarely a painting goes by that doesn’t include a heart in some form. I would say heart imagery is pretty much one of the signatures of my work, another being deer footed girls but that’s a story for another time…so here I have a selection of jennybird hearts…

I see the heart as this big soaking wet organic beast of sorts, endless in its complexity and possibility, its crawls out of black pits and slinks across the landscape, it has the power to possess the vessel that contains it, its tentacles can lovingly strangle…

the heart can contain sharp teeth to bite and tear or simply detour a threat with a pearly flash. It has eyes that can see through flesh and read into minds and other hearts, sometimes the hearts eye is blind and it aimlessly wanders. It is a carnivorous plant with a voracious appetite:  but it can also feed the flora and fauna that exist in its world, with endless drops of Crimson. As long as blood courses through it, it never ceases to grow….. When the blood flow subsides, it becomes a ghost that can still haunt…..

In my work the heart takes on many, many forms and sometimes I think I ‘shouldn’t’ paint it anymore,  but I never seem to tire of it and ‘its’ will to exist in an unfolding landscape of paint on panel persists… it can always take a new form and it always informs my work in such a strong way.

The heart depiction in my work often takes on the shape of an animal or animals, locked in an embrace sometimes deadly sometimes serene.

I talked a bit in a recent interview about the progression of the heart imagery in my work over the years and I’ll sum that up here…

I had created many paintings where there was simply an incision in the chest, this was a representation of the feeling of the exposed self. The heart was depicted this way for a long time, then the incision slowly opened and you could look into the chest and see the organ. The heart at this time had sort of a root shape to it; I am endlessly hybridizing so at this point it was a cross between a human heart and a root ball.

In the early 2000’s I painted a ‘Candyland’ series, the hearts were covered with whipped cream and cherries or depicted as deer-fur cupcakes, sweet and bloody, but edible, with potential for adverse side effects…. Like the old saying goes…’If one is too vulnerable, one might lose all their cherry filling’….;-P

Sometimes the heart is represented by a simple’ X marks the spot’ on the chest or arm; sometimes it is a black hole in the center of the chest with ink flowing out…hearts for eyes, eyes for hearts…

From this point I moved on to using animals to create the shape and representation of the heart. The first animals I used I believe were two birds…

…then multiple birds then the rabbits and foxes and bees snuck in there as well, even the truck of an elephant became the long nose of a heart blindly sniffing out the way.

Eventually the animals became increasingly fierce and protective. The heart took the shape of the snarling mouth of a cougar, tiger or bear it also became the antlers of a large deer, thrusting out of the chest cavity, defending the host.

Let the duels begin…

At the same time the arteries of the heart began to extend and take the shape of black and red arms reaching out of the chests of sweet faced girls…the Girls began fighting with these new fists…

Once the chest was opened up enough to see the animals commingling within, there started to be a view beyond to a more distant landscape, a dream scape and the winding path disappearing into the horizon.

In my more recent work the body is overflowing with plant and animal life, so full that its spilling onto the ground or out into space…I’m still exploring this place in current work so it’s hard to say too much about it…I always gain greater understanding of the narrative in retrospect…but I can say that I look at all of my work as an unfolding story and because I am partly following it and partly directing it, it stays interesting to me and I hope to others as well…

 

 

I hope you’ve been mildly entertained by my little heart obsession and so sorry my posts are so few and far between.

Xoxo

jennybird

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I’m often asked about my creative process and it actually is kind of a tough question for me.’ Sometimes’ the ideas flow directly out of my head and onto the panel unimpeded by the critic sitting on my shoulder or any other doubt or distraction that can wave its arms wildly in front of me, thwarting me form the direct path between thought and execution……but I like the winding path and many many times, more often then not ,I’d say that is the route I take, I like the discovery’s along the way and even though it is a much more arduous journey it ‘can’ be worth it in the end.  Sometimes I fall into  the glistening pool of the subconscious….this is one of those times….

this is the first sketch, my original idea was a kind of seeker in a foreign world holding specimens of other creatures while she herself was a specimen as well…

ok now here you would think I was well on my way to a painting (far from the sight of the finish line, but a start)…except that the composition wasn’t really working out for me and I really just wasn’t feeling it…it was at this point that the painting got sanded down to the only 2 pieces of it I liked the face and the bear…and there it sat on the floor of my bedroom for months, I had to take it out of my studio for lack of space so there it was every morning reminding me that it was still here and I wasn’t done and I had enough that I loved about it that I would have to ‘go back in’…sometimes it feels like .warfare…

there were many more slight evolutions of this piece before it was finally finished, a lot of painting things in and out during this time I had a dream I was being chased and had to jump into water to escape the ‘bad guys’… knowing I couldn’t hold my breath very long I started to panic but then realizing I could breath underwater…if I hadn’t waited for that dream to come then maybe one of my favorite parts of the painting, the girl with her head underwater in the swirling bottom portion of the painting wouldn’t have happened.

So it was a really long road to the finish line for this one but it is one of my favorite paintings to date.

and finally ‘Swooning at the River of Oblivion’

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