Sunday, September 12, 2010

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing. ~ Marc Chagall

A couple of months ago, when I started my abstract painting course, our teacher advised us that the dollar store is the abstract artists friend. He encouraged us to look in the dollar store for things that we could stick onto the canvas, and find ways to be more creative.

The night before, I had been watching an episode of "Chopped" on the Food Network. Four chefs compete with mystery baskets to create the best and most creative food. In the dessert round, one clever chef took the giant ostrich egg they had given him, and made a custard and peach dessert. He turned a half peach upside down to look like an egg yolk, and surrounded it with custard to make the custard look like the egg white. Thus the entire dessert looked like a fried egg, but was instead peach in custard. With this episode floating inconspicuously in the far reaches of my unconscious mind, I went off to the dollar store to see what treasures I could find. Then, when standing in front of the styrofoam balls, a number of things clicked into place, and my idea was born.

I did not at first follow up on the idea, as I was busy doing the paintings for my classes, traveling, and pursuing other ideas in my work. It came to me recently though, that it was time to complete this painting, preferably before I have my surgery. Somehow,  I thought it would have some sort of healing effect on me.

To understand where the idea for this painting comes from, you need to know the background story, and why such an idea occurred to me when in the dollar store that day.

When I was 13, my breasts, were of course starting to develop. As friends started getting their first bras, one of them pointed out that I should probably do the same. So, I went to my mother, and told her I thought I needed my first bra. She said she would take me shopping that weekend to buy it.

When that weekend arrived, however, my father wanted to do a big clean up. He wanted the garage and the house cleaned, and he wanted me to stay at home to help. I explained that I could not stay to help, as I had to go shopping with Mum.

"Why?" he asked, "Can't she just get what you need?"

"No," I explained, "I have to go with her, because we are going to buy me a bra."

"Can't she just pick it up for you?"

"No, I need to go with her."


I remember wondering how it was that he would not know why. Perhaps he didn't know anything about women and bras?  "Because, Dad, I have to try it on!"

"What, try it on? All she has to do, is tell the lady behind the counter, 'two fried eggs'. "

It is precisely this sarcastic, wonky sense of humour I have, which is owed to my father.

And so, I present to you, my latest painting:

"Owed To My Father"

11 x 14, acrylic, styrofoam,  and a little bit of organza w/ribbon, on stretched canvas

Now, a couple of men have pointed out that these eggs, are, well, slightly larger than the height of regular fried eggs. To them I have answered this: "Yeah, well, the unspoken message, is that I was larger than fried eggs too."

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