Mixed media. Acrylic paint. Henna paste.
My goal with this piece is for people to experience hope and joy amidst the chaos.
Coronavirus has forced everyone into a journey of processing, much like the entire Human Experience, which I feel can be encapsulated in Chaos, Deliberation, Redemption and Joy in cycles throughout our lives. That is what this painting is about.
I am fond of working on found surfaces and I relish the feel of different mediums. This piece is on a found surface and combines my two loves of acrylic paint and henna paste. Sometimes I like to grow my henna designs on canvas. Part of the art of Mehndi (henna) is growing your design out of one dot, a single seed. On this piece paisleys that represent the advent of summer grow out of bold flowers representing new beginnings and joy. Henna paste is very much like pen and ink; my favorite medium when I was in high school. There is something freeing about it because it cannot be erased. It cannot be controlled. One must accept it the way that it is. One must let the medium do what it wants! The more and more I worked with henna (by squeezing a thin line of paste from something like a miniature pastry cone) the more I learned to let it flow and not get hung up on the flaws and imperfections that only I saw but to enjoy the process of communicating through line and shape and pattern. When a "mistake" happens it must become something else, it is made into something better than it would have been before. Coronavirus seems to have the same effect on the population at large.
I am fascinated with different types of texture. I want my paintings to be a sensory overload. I love for people to touch them. When I put henna on a painting it's not only visually stimulating but fragrant and tactile as well! The window opens to reveal a white square. It is interactive.
I started painting this piece during my home isolation with only one focused idea in mind, but, as I painted, the single idea began to expand. Should the shutters to the window be open or closed? Are you on the inside or are you on the outside? Looking out the window or into it? What would happen if you made the window bigger? Could you see better the beauty on the outside...or the inside? Is the white square one of peace and rest or emptiness? Are the colors joy or chaos? Are you trapped or are you protected? What are you letting in? Or letting out? What is reality? All of these thoughts came to mind while I painted.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
My profession is as a henna body artist. Henna is an ephemeral folk art, traditionally drawn on hands and feet. The henna paste leaves behind a stain on the skin for about a week and sometimes longer but then the art fades away. When I draw on people I often draw what people want me to draw, not what I want to draw. In light of the fact that all of my gigs were suddenly canceled and people cannot plan events and book entertainment such as henna artists for them, I have been painting. Painting and drawing what I want and feel. I love painting but rarely have time to do it.
There is a silver lining to all of this. It has given me a chance to breathe, to create for the pure joy of creating and to create for the One who created us.