A friend recently asked what it means for me to have my first solo show. My first thought was, “Oh, yeah. I guess I’m doing a solo show.” My first thought after the show will most likely be, “Holy crap. I just had a solo show.”
This is the way that I work. I don’t think, I just do. The good news is that there is no time to get scared and back out because I’m usually ten steps in before I realize what it is that I’m doing. This doesn’t always make for the most well thought out schedules, and not a lot of sleep happens when I’m going all in, but for me nothing jumpstarts my creative flow like saying, “yes”. And right now, I’m swimming in the flow.
This wasn’t always the way for me. A long time ago I painted when I was inspired and most of my work came from my imagination because I rarely ventured far away from home. I was happy to not travel and just create from the comfort of my own little world. As I got older I let the world come to me via my job in fashion design.
However, from 2009 – 2012 everything in my little world came crashing down. My mother—who was more than just my guardian but my confidante, my cheerleader and my best friend—was diagnosed, suffered through and passed away from lung cancer. My mother WAS my own little world. It was through her encouragement that I began to paint. It was because of her support that I left home at 18 to pursue a career in art. And when I gave birth to a baby that needed surgeries and more strength than I could muster, it was my mother who held my hand as we held our breaths.
And then she was gone.
Painting saved my life. In addition to my family and friends that held me during those dark years, it was pushing paint around while I let the feelings flow and crying over those canvases that helped me to heal. Many of those pieces never came to fruition, but they were the pathway that led me to find my intuitive self and to learn where art meets the soul.
In March of last year, my birthday month, I yearned for something more. My mother had always gone over the top for our birthdays and I could feel that this birthday it was time to do the same for myself. I followed the inspiration of a fellow artist, and took my first trip out of the country to an art retreat in Costa Rica.
Despite being slightly terrified of the journey, and arriving horribly sick from dehydration because I didn’t know any better, it was on this trip that I learned that I love to travel. There is a connection that is made when people appreciate each other in new surroundings and recognize that we are all the same. Like me, everyone is trying to live our best life through our experiences. I think this is why I enjoy painting the human figure.
I woke up one morning in Costa Rica to find our house host, Martha, crying in the kitchen. This was a cry I could recognize; a cry of loss. Since she spoke only Spanish, I could not verbally communicate with her. I could only give her a long heartfelt loving embrace. I later found out she had lost her abuella (grandmother). Another girl on the trip, Jen, had recently lost her brother. I connected with them in their grief. I realized we had all suffered loss and that we were still all living. Pain and all.
Costa Rica was a life changing event for me. I got to know myself on a different level and I met some beautiful women. My creativity was flowing in bucketfuls. It was clearly waiting for this moment to come out. The mariposa flew onto my pages; I had a new appreciation for the butterfly. Could I be seeing the beauty in transformation?
Who is this girl in “Wanderlust”, you ask? She is me. She wears the beautiful amethyst on her head—a calming stone which works in the emotional, spiritual and physical planes to provide calm and balance, patience and peace. These are the things that I want for my life. Perfect peace. She is also you. We are all connected.
Ask me when it is over, and I’ll probably give you a better answer about what this solo show means to me. For now, I just need to keep painting.
I hope that you like “Wanderlust” and that you will find in its layers connection and solitude.
MAY 3 – 28, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION: MAY 6TH, 5-8PM