"Pear in Phoenix Bird Cup"
5 x 7" , oil
My daughter Maura is preparing for her senior thesis show at Pratt. Her show will celebrate women artists as each in turn is asked what feminine identity means to her. As I struggle to answer her query, I find myself looking around my studio at my own work. How do the images I paint reveal my own feminine nature? My studio walls are hung with watercolors of the Delaware River, rendered in fluid, poured color. The very act of pouring paint feels feminine to me. A release of life blood. Small paintings of apples and figs reveal ripeness and promise: to bear fruit is to give life, to be fertile, to eat fruit is to be nourished. A painting of an ample pear placed inside a delicate antique china cup feels strong and curvy, yet fragile, like me. Paintings of my family abound. My recent cityscapes feel the least feminine, still, through my womanly eye, they reflect moments of quiet beauty or happy circumstances, scenes of everyday harmony, that which we wish for.
I am not a painter of disquiet. In scenes of chaos and fear we must look for the helpers. Bad things will always happen, yes, but there will also always be the helpers. In crisis, to the helpers we turn. But for the soul we turn to family. To friends. Food. Music. Art. To the idealized, wise grandmother to be soothed and tucked in. It is she, and the crone archetype with which I most identify, who will make chicken soup and tell you each day is a new day, full of possibility.