motherhood

Last two releases for Limited Edition series 13

it is with a bit of sadness i present to you the last two pieces of "13". i am always slightly melancholy when i wrap up a project, but all good things must come to an end! but i do have plans for future projects, so it's not all sad.

i think you may have noticed that many of the pieces in "13" have come in pairs and i see these last two as a pair, more because they are conveying similar feelings, not necessarily because of a visible similarity. however, i have chosen to make the background of both of these more smooth and one color rather than having many textures and layers as in the previous pieces. 

I call No. 12 and 13 "Hope Deferred". when i made these, i was thinking of all kinds of moments when we defer hope, but i was thinking particularly of those women who have had to defer hope in relation to having children. we are in a time when we women realize that we can't do it all and we must choose one path over another, sacrifice something for something else. i know that sounds really vague, but we are all in very different circumstances and have different choices to make.

13, No. 12 (Hope Deferred) - unlike the first piece i did (13, No. 1 (Too Hard To Hold)) where there was a hand to catch the pearls being dropped, there is no one here to catch the pearls. the pearls are rolling away fast. and to me, the hand that's letting go of the pearls here is a bit more reluctant. because the choice to let go of something in order to make room for having children is a hard one. as women, we must sacrifice a career, our time, our sleep, and the ability to call our bodies and time our own. fathers have to sacrifice too, but unless they are the primary care givers, this sacrifice falls largely on women. and we do it willingly, do we not? i certainly did, but it still doesn't quite prepare you for how difficult this is in reality.

when my husband and i decided we would have children, i decided to put aside my goals to pursue writing. fortunately for me, i managed to eek out an hour here and an hour there of writing after our first daughter turned 1. it took me over 7 years to write a very short novel. i still have no idea what will happen to this novel that i poured so much of my effort into and i am still figuring out this journey of being an artist, but it feels so late in life for me to be struggling over these things! there are moments when i think, i should have figured this out in my 20s!

hope deferred.

i was having a conversation about this with a friend who was saying that we are privileged to even have this kind of thought, to have the luxury of making a choice, as there are many people in this world who don't have this luxury, who must live to survive day to day. but it is a reality many of us face and we must make a choice.

 

13, No. 13 (Hope Deferred) - when i made this piece, i was thinking about all the women i know who at some point in their lives were unable to conceive. this is a different kind of hope deferred, one that is not our choice to make. this, i believe, is particularly difficult. i am also thinking of those women who have lost babies, through miscarriages or other complications that took their babies' lives.

i recently watched "March Of the Penguins" with my daughters. there is a gut-wrenching scene where a mother penguin whose newborn froze during a storm tries to steal the baby of another penguin. her grief and desperation drove her to attempt something so unthinkable. because the void left by a dead baby is surely too painful to bear.

i'd like to believe that this kind of hope that has been deferred blooms somewhere for the women who must carry this burden around with them daily. i'd like to believe this even if we can't see it. 

***

 

i feel that my words here have been rather halting today. it is not easy to think about these kinds of pain. but this month of work has been about embracing both the joys and the difficult parts of life and looking at them as honestly as i can. thank you for accompanying me here on this journey. i hope the experience of accompanying me has enriched your days in some small way. i know i have learned so much this month, having the discipline of producing a certain amount of work every week.

i look forward to other projects in the future! i will continue to share them here, so if you'd like to follow along, please subscribe by clicking on the icon below, bottom left corner. once you click on the icon, you can choose to either read in a feed of your choice or receive emails. i generally write here at most once a week, so you won't get inundated with emails from me. ;)

have a wonderful week, friends!!

New work

i wanted to tell you a little bit about the two most recent works up in my portfolio on Saatchi Art:

the first one is Beginnings.  i've always been fascinated by the way a woman's body changes during pregnancy.  there's something quite amazing about growing a new life inside oneself.  i don't think there's anything else quite like it.  but it is also an extremely grounding experience, that ties a woman to the experiences of so many other women around her and who have come before us.  it takes a leap of faith, believing in your own body's ability to do this amazing feat.

the following quote also captures the feeling i had as i was working on Beginnings:

Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.  Everything is gestation and then birthing.  To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

Letters To a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

 

the next piece, Home, seems a little more complicated to talk about.  i've talked about the feeling of homelessness before on the blog and i've tried to express that visually in this one.  moving from place to place, across borders, oceans and continents since i was six years old, leaves me with two opposing desires: the longing for adventure and the longing to avoid the pain of uprooting.  there is no sense of a physical home, only a home that i carry within me, a spiral home within which i can curl up while the tide carries me to another adventure.

and a third work that i completed recently, is Waiting.  unfortunately, i have no photos of it to show you. :(  it will be up for bids at New Morning Nursery School's silent auction this weekend to raise money for the preschool.  i forgot to take a picture of it before i dropped it off, otherwise i could give a preview of it.  for my friends planning to attend the auction, i just wanted to let you know that it will be there.

When it all began...

well, sort of.  while sorting through old photos, i found these.  that's me, a few months after my youngest was born, sketching out ideas for paintings.  i remember feeling so tired, yet feeling this hunger to paint the images in my head.  so i would snatch at moments here and there, most often when Cordelia was asleep in the moby wrap.

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but i think she definitely looked cuter with the headphones than i did. :)

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and look at her now!  so big that she can do most of the puzzle without my help.  this was taken yesterday. :)  i wish i can say that my art and my writing have grown as much as she has, and perhaps in the distant future when i look back on my work, i can say that it has, but the growth of a child is much more evident than the growth of one's work.  perhaps the mental growth of a child would be a better way to compare the development of one's work - most of the time, you can't see how your child is growing mentally and then one day, they surprise you by saying something so mature.

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Portraits of my children

having all three girls home over the winter break was a welcome change from the busyness of the school year.  seeing the three of them play and interact inspired me to paint them.  i also was struck by how quickly the time is slipping by us and they are growing up so fast.  i really wanted to capture the spirit of where they each are at this point in their lives.  i tried to capture their hopes and dreams.  so i had them draw something on their portraits as well, so that they will remember how they used to draw at that age.

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Skye thinks she looks much older here than she actually is and i agree.  but she is my eldest and i always think she is older than she is.  plus, she will soon be bigger than me. :)  she is my swimmer and glides like a mermaid in the water.

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Claire is my little dreamer.  and crazy about horses.  and longs for hair as long as Rapunzel.  

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Cordelia was the trickiest - she is still just 3 and couldn't sit still.  after several failed attempts, i used a photo to paint her likeness.  thus, she is the only one with a great smile.  fairies and bunnies fill her world and i wish i could keep her world from changing, but i know that won't happen.

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what struck me most while painting these was how much my girls cared about how i saw them.  i was thinking they would be concerned about how much the paintings would look like them, would look like how they saw themselves, and yes, there was some of that, but they were more interested in how i chose to portray them.  it showed me that they wanted to know how i perceived them, what about them i was interested in.  in the end, they were happy.  and i was struck by how much power lay in my hands to shape them.