I've only been painting seriously for the past 3-4 years, and during that time there have been several pieces I have painted that have evoked a strong personal emotion. Usually they have been pieces that I have created that focused on my father who passed away 4 years ago today.
I recall that shortly after his death I tried to do a piece that focused on this favorite cowboy boots. It was still very painful but somehow putting my feelings on a canvas helped with my healing process. Since then, I have created 3 more pieces that show him as a young cowboy on the professional rodeo circuit. It is difficult to explain the emotional experience you feel as an artist when painting something so very personal.
This is the last piece I painted of my dad in 2014. I call it "Riding the Buckskin" and it is painted from an old black and white newspaper photo taken probably in 1959 or 1960. He is young, strong and full of life. I wouldn't arrive in his life until 1961 and he wouldn't leave mine until 2011.
This week I had that same emotional experience as a painting I started for a Hearts and Carnivale themed art show for a local gallery that I am associated with. The piece just morphed into something so much more. I had the image of a silver heart painted on a web of ribbons in my mind and that was what I was thinking of when I started to paint on this 12 x 16 inch canvas.
At some point, I realized that rather than painting just a simply silver heart, I really needed paint my treasured puff heart pendant that once belonged to my dearest Aunt Marilou and was at that moment hanging around my own neck.
My relationship with my aunt was close throughout my whole life. She was my only aunt; my dad was her baby brother and she was my dad's only sister and they always enjoyed a close special relationship. Some of my fondest adult memories are of those two together and the stories they would tell. Both had a great sense of humor and could keep you in stitches for hours.
I often admired her silver puffed heart necklace and she wore it often. Now it is around my neck just as frequently and I love hearing my little grandson hold it gingerly and say in his sweet two year old voice, "Pretty heart." Maybe someday one of my granddaughters or granddaughter-in-laws will proudly wear this simply necklace and remember me in the same way.
|Heart Strings- An Original Acrylic on 12 x 16 stretched canvas|
For more of my work, please check out my website at julietownsendstudio.com