Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i heart art

I seem to be having trouble uploading photographs, so you will have to sit tight on the picture front.

It's frustrating because I wanted to show a detail of a collage piece I made on the weekend. I don't know why Blogger is doing this, as other photos are loading fine, but photos in this one particular file on my computer are loading sideways. No matter what I do, whenever I load these photos, they come out rotated either to the left or right. Grr! I hate it when software has a strange little bug in it that I can't sort out, and not for lack of trying, either. You try a bunch of options, each time getting more annoyed, and you can't ask the bloody thing what's wrong, either. Bah!

Oh, well. I'll tell the story, anyway.

I didn't set out to make art for International Women's Day, but halfway through my afternoon of cloistering myself in my room in order to play with collage and paint, I remembered that it was, indeed, March 8th. Not only that, but the piece taking shape beneath my hands happened to be about women's bodies and about loving yourself, loving your strong body for what it can do. It seemed like a sweet little coincidence. I went with it.

I'd been collecting photos from magazines, photos of women's bodies that are different from the norm - those that are hefty, big, curvy, plump, muscular, short, et cetera. Any body other than the ubiquitous "tall and thin", in other words.

(And there's nothing wrong with being tall and thin if that's your body's true shape. But there IS something wrong with only one representation of the Ideal Woman's Body, and I'm sure all sensible tall and thin women would agree.)

As I'd been collecting the photos these past few months, an idea had been hibernating in my head, an idea to make a collage showing the variety and diversity of women's bodies, as an affirmation of the difference you can find when you look outside the magazines. (Ironically, the photos are all taken from magazines. Perhaps future versions can improve on that, by taking photos myself, or in some other way. Open to suggestions!)

I was having a grumpy-pants weekend, and feeling this definite need coming up out of myself, a need to be BY MYSELF and MAKE ART. So, I listened. I cancelled the plans I'd made to see a friend, and made sure I had all the art supplies I needed. I shut my bedroom door, and took out the big drawing paper pad. I sorted out all the images and words I already had, and started playing, laying them on the paper, moving them around, cutting out more. When I had it where I liked it, I started gluing pieces down.

(And, I wish I could show you a part of it. Let's all shake our fists at Blogger for being buggy!)

The next day, I took another few hours in the afternoon to paint onto the piece. I took out some bright acrylic paints and my paintbrushes, and got some water into a jar. I thought, "My god, it's been years and years since I've used these paintbrushes." I laid on bright pink, orange, blue, cherry red, purple, in the white spaces between the photos. The sight of the color on the white styrofoam tray made me really, really happy.

I realized how much I want to make more pieces like this. The subject matter, definitely: our bodies, our strengths. I want to make images that contradict the poisonous images in so many magazines and on TV. And also, I want to make more art pieces in general. Doing this one got me thinking about high school, when I took an art class each of my three years there, and got to paint or draw or sketch for an hour and fifteen minutes EVERY DAY. And art got made! That's what happens when you commit to your own art, your own craft. One day at a time, you make stuff. It's not perfect. But then, nothing is, AND then it's outside of you! You birthed it.

So here's to women, and to art. To the birthing process.

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