Monday, October 7, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness "Pink Collection"

It's been awhile since I created a 'collection'....but this one has a lot of special meaning to me and I'd love to share with you the whys and hows of these pieces.

There's a little back-story to this collection. Actually a lot of back-story. I'll start with the the most important piece.  I'm in love with a  man whose mother I never got to know. She died of cancer when Mike was a senior in High School.  I know, because of Mike's gentle spirit and kindness that she must have been one heck of a sweet woman.  Sometimes during family get-togethers, they will talk about her. Her recipes, the things she liked or said....but it's no substitute for KNOWING someone.
Sometimes in the last 4 years I would pray to her and I don't know if she heard me, or if she delivered but it still made me feel close to her in some way.
There is tragedy in the whole thing, but for me personally, I was never close to my first mother-in-law. She struggled with painful shyness and was a hard woman to get to know.She was extraordinarily partial to boys and I am a girl factory.
 I was kind of hoping for a second chance.
I wanted to do something to honor the woman I will never know, but whom I owe so much. She raised an amazing son and I just want her to know, in some small way, that it means the world to me.

So,  here's the rest of the story.
  I go through these phases where I create art just for the fun of it. Then I get burned out, or busy and I abandon ship or walk away or just say 'yuck, i don't like it'.  I have a whole stack of rejects all the time. Or if something doesn't sell, I layer over it and tweak it until I fall in love.(then I don't WANT to sell it)  That's the real reason why my art has sooo much  texture. There are usually at least 2 paintings layered over each other.  So I realized my pile of rejected/abandoned canvases was getting kind of uncomfortably large and my bank account was getting kind of uncomfortably  small and I thought 'you really need to get the hell off of Pinterest and create some art.'  But I wanted it to be meaningful and something to 'give back' in some way. I put a little deadline on myself of October, and realized that is breast cancer awareness month. It was all just so obvious what I had to do.

So I got to work. Since I can't create a entire collection of artwork based on someone I never knew, I decided to make each piece be about some strong  woman I knew. Cancer warriors, mothers, Survivors of any kind....

Yo Viv!
Art has to come from somewhere....some deep place, some tender spot, to be really good art.
My Grandmother died recently and I wanted to commemorate things about her. I pulled out a coral pink canvas that I actually loved, but didn't sell and started layering things on top of it. I chose that particular painting to honor her because it has these circular 'cookies' on it....and as my cousin Michael said in her eulogy...."She was the only person who would stuff you full of cookies one visit, and then ask you if  you'd gained weight the next."

A long time ago, I cut out this heart with bra sizes all over it. I knew I would use it in a collage someday. My Grandmother, while she was living was a breast cancer survivor. (She died of old age). She also loved to quilt and so I added some buttons   and some very old straight pins that are still in their original roll.

 I made a copy of a photo of my Grandfather as a boy with some of his cousins or his brothers, and some headless women  behind them. That photo just cracks me up...He was just the cutest thing!!! (He's on the end, smiling.)

I added some vintage pink sequins and some glitter and then poured resin over the whole thing. I love it.
I named her (all of these paintings are women)  "Yo, Viv!".    My Grandma was named Vivan and I miss her.

Thank God I'm Pretty
When I first started creating artwork to sell, I entered photos of my work in a local art fair. I had to be judged by 3 'jury' members...all of whom most not have gotten the memo about how much art I had donated to their annual charity auction because I was unceremoniously rejected from participating. They must not have gotten the memo that my donated pieces had all sold too, and I was creating lots of commissioned pieces for some of their biggest spenders.  They really should check their memos more often. After I said 'screw you!!!' about 9,000 times, I decided it was a God thing and I wasn't ready anyway.  I started just experimenting and playing around with painting over studs and beads and all kinds of crazy raised textures I created with some of my faux painting products.   Long story short...I had this one canvas, that was from that original attempt to be accepted in my own town....that had a ton of texture on it but was kind of a painful memory.  She was sad, she needed to be happy.

 What's happier than a huge pile of confetti?.

See....I told you.  It's good to be her and that Arts' Council can kiss her ass. She's got her fur coat, and her  tiara and her gloved middle finger up, cause dammit....she's pretty and she doesn't care if you like her.

When I was finished with this painting, I decided her name should be Barb.  She reminds me of one of my mom's dearest friends who was not only gorgeous but hilarious and she too was taken too soon from breast cancer.  Had she been brunette, I'd have named her Jeanne because another one of my mom's closest friends ALSO died of cancer.  (Cancer SUCKS!!!!!) But Jeanne did always have a gigantic smile of her face.

It's a party!  A bridge playing party!

I wish I had 'bridge' ladies. My mom has played  bridge once a month for like the last 35 years or something crazy like that with the same group of women. Sadly, two of them are now in heaven but the bridge ladies still get together, even if no one has seem them shuffle a deck in at least 10 years.

Bitter is the New Black
If I'm being honest, I created this Bitter collage because I thought it was hilarious. But then, I started pulling together pieces together to layer on top of it  that appealed to me, and in some subconscious way, they all pointed to a period in my life that was not really funny at all.
 I hesitate to explain what it's about, I don't want to ruin it for people. But in a nutshell, ugly divorce...bad, bad times...   It changed me. Like it changed my DNA. Seriously.

Every single little piece in this collage has a deeper meaning to me :Game pieces, a tarnished tiara, dress patterns, lots of broken jewelry.  

I love this page taken from an old Love Letter Writing hand book!  

Everything is covered in resin, which is becoming one of my favorite techniques!

Every family has it's legends and lore. One of my family's is a story that I will not share here, out of respect for my mother, but the word FLY has a lot of meaning for us. I personally find it whimsical and  humorous and having just reluctantly pushed my oldest baby bird out of the next with instructions to SOAR!!!!....I like this painting a lot.  I want to get the word 'fly' tattooed on my foot with 4 little silhouetted birdies....but out of respect for my mother.....le sigh...

 I really like the juxtaposition of the sweet frame, the doily fragments, the skeletonized leaves that look like wings....and the big, bold, in your face FLY! It's almost like graffiti. It is a command. "Fly, Girl!"  
Like the others, this one is coated in resin.

My mom is also a cancer survivor. 

The final piece in this collection I will have a very hard time letting go of. I am soooo in love with it. It's called PINK and it's my favorite, and also the biggest piece in the collection.

Here's the point at which I start blubbering like a baby....but it was created to honor my  daughters. Who are my favorite survivors of all. I want to be just like them when I grow up. 
I created this piece awhile back and it was glazed over with a warm amber-y color that I used to use on all my paintings to age them. I've kind of grown past the need to make everything seem old so i got out my trusty can of Dragon Fruit Pink paint and went to town. I added some bright red polka dots to fun it up and my signature drips of paint and now I love it.  
It symbolizes everything I want for my kids. "Nothing less than the best".  

I hope you have enjoyed hearing the stories behind this collection. 

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