Saturday, July 14, 2007


We're in the heart of summer, aren't we? It has been very hot here in Stumptown; the raspberries have all cooked on the vine and even the sugar peas are spent now. But the tomatoes are coming on and the corn too so the unseen wheel of the seasons continues to turn ever so slowly. Gak, she's gone all pensive on us.

Well, yes, that's part of the m. o. Either deliriously happy or 'go away, leave me alone'. So besides finding solace in my journal, reading Don Delillo (dang, he's moody! I'm blaming this on him!) - well, besides those activities I am making very personal work in encaustic.

I have no words to describe the many things buried in this painting. Tell me what it means to you if I may be so bold as to ask. Because the supportive DH didn't have a clue and so I wonder if it is too opaque. The colors may work against it; I'm thinking it should have been darker. But then I kind of like the juxtoposition of light and dark. Does it say anything to you? (there's no wrong answer; I'm very tough skinned so jump in.

Oops! I almost forgot to show you my process. This will give you a hint as I took the girl's features from a photograph of myself. I painted her on heavy watercolor paper and cut her out with an exacto. Now I have a bonus stencil. Don't ask me why I work this way. I just like to make everything as convoluted as possible.


Anonymous said...

first of all, kudos! the colors are very appealing. they draw me in right away. i don't think it should be darker, at all, judy. and it's quite obvious to me that she set the house on fire. look at those hands tucked behind her back and her chin sheepishly tucked down. but i don't think she is too remorseful. not her. she'll be up to no good again very soon.

Debbi Baker said...

Wow Judy - what an interesting piece. And until I read Kelly's comment I had a totally different interpretation - I saw it as a picture of a survivor - that the girl can cope and move on despite big stuff in the past. I thought the dark bits were in the distance and that the focus was on the here and now in the foreground where the girl is bright and looking forward. Now I have to go take another look...

Deb said...

You are gonna DIE when I tell you that this makes me think of Martina McBride's "Independence Day." I guess my thought's are along the same lines as Kelly's, only I don't think she set the house on fire...someone else did. but she is happy. I just think she is moving on, moving away. Her heart is on fire, and a new world awaits. I love the process of this - how you painted her on paper & then cut her out (much as I do when I draw/paint & use the image in my work). At any rate, I wish I could see the encaustic better. I love this1

Ro Bruhn said...

Once I got over my natural instinct to think of bush fires, I got the feeling this little lady wasn't sad, she's
contemplating her new beginnings.
On the other hand maybe the burning wax got away from her. Accidents do happen.


DJ said...

Hi Judy!

The first thing I notice is the girl smiling while things are obviously not as they should be.

But she is learning to survive during hardship, and will continue to go forward and be strong, and not let darkness that she can't control effect her. The night sky symbolizing pain or darkness, and the fire symbolizing out of control feelings, emotions etc.

The next thing I notice is that the house is sliding downhill as if it will take her with it if she lets it. If she keeps her distance, things won't hurt. She learns to turn her back on trouble and survive by not dealing with it or facing it... pretending it's not there. But she is young, and eventually she will learn to face the hurt when she grows up and becomes strong enough.

I love that you tell stories through your art Judy! DJ

Unknown said...

Your piece also reminds me of the CD cover. I find it equally complex and symbolic. The sky seems to be the zodiac, so it begs the question of which house is on fire. There is lots of green hill, (wavy growth), between the house and where the girl stands.
Her skirt is the passionate color of the house on fire, as are her socks. She "wears" the experience and her pose is one of contemplation.
The background sky and house on fire are on an incline like a slide, the scenario like the sky or the seasons wil change momentarily into another scene. Is it a moment, a memory, or a directive?
I enjoyed my journey into your painting & the questions it brought!

Rebecca E. Parsons/Cre8Tiva said...

i see a woman ready to step out of a child who is looking back...the first step, only moments away, will lead her in a new direction...a journey begins...blessings, rebecca

Linda O'Neill said... this piece, Judy. To me, it signifies the innocence of the girl when things are dark and burning to hell around her. Could be the divorce of parents, a death, something else bad that happened to her in her home. She needs to stand alone, away from the unhappiness. She's a child...sweet and pure...unaware that the safety of her home and her childhood is burning to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Judy, it looked to me like dreams going up in flames. Thehouse is a personal symbol for me for self and I wonder if you are facing a mid life reevaluation of your dreams for yourself.

I often do pieces of paintings on watercolor paper that I collage together. Tho I do it because I'm have more control and can change it if I don't like the way it came out!cl

Karen Cole said...

I love the complimentary colors. They are subtle and work beautifully together. The fact that she seems so peaceful while there is a raging fire behind her is very intriguing. I want to know more, which is the quality that makes a successful piece, as far as I'm concerned.