The Seamstress, 39x32, oil on canvas over panel.
The model is my daughter, Carly. Rather than wait for her time to come this young heroine is taking her destiny in hand. Who doesn't want to be a superhero? ‘Tis better to create her own reality, even though at times it may feel as though she’s holding it all together with safety pins. She can be in charge and look feminine and sexy as hell at the same time.
Click on Read More below to see details of the paintings and musings.
This is my grandmother's sewing machine. Her name was Willie Avenell. We often speculated that she was named Willie because her father was so hoping for a boy. She came of age during the depression in the rural south. She was one of 5 daughters born to a share cropper, who also cut railroad ties to feed his family. She was married at the age of 14.
Carly is the only one in the family with her dimples. She also inherited Avanell's love of sewing. I originally designed this without the sewing machine but eventually added it. I didn't really think about it being a connection between my grandmother and my daughter in a conscious way. It just felt right. So often painting is that way, if I let my conscious mind do it's thing it will come up with some interesting connections.
During the course of the painting and after it was finished, I have been thinking of the disparity between my daughter's life and my grandmother's life. The differences were mostly attributable to the economics of their upbringing, but there is also the difference in a woman's place in the world, as understood in the 1930's, when my grandmother got married and now 75 years later.
The changes during the years between have given my daughter innumerable opportunities for education and life choices. I'm grateful to those men and women that have fought long and hard for change. Yet, did you know that the Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the US constitution? Me either, till I was doing research for this post.
This is me, with my daughter and daughter-in-law, at a Women's Rights Rally on the steps of the State Capital in Montgomery, AL last year. It was the first and only time we'd ever done anything like this and it was enlightening.
|Birmingham, AL skyline in a shout-out to the place I live.|
So would a man have made this painting of his daughter? Maybe, how would it look different? How would it be the same?
From the press release for this show:
While the feminine muse has historically been captured by male artists—deeply informed by their own point of view—today, things are changing. For example, concepts of female roles come in vastly different forms. And while we can credit this to a changing cultural landscape, we cannot overlook that this development is also due in part to a change in authorship. Women are painting women. And for over forty years, they have helped redefine the sphere of feminine influence.
This shift and its architects already live in the art history books. History has shown us that paying attention to both sides of an idea is a way of getting a more honest view of it. The limitless nuances and variations, including the gender of the artist, are a way of more fully familiarizing ourselves and our culture with the truths and constraints associated with such substantial ideas as Myth, Narrative, Metaphor, Human Existence, and in turn, Women.
|I love close-ups, they are such a record of an artist's journey through a piece.|
|American Art Collector, Sept issue, by Rochelle Belsito|
|American Art Collector in which The Seamstress appears, Sept 2013.|
My other superhero paintings, other posts about the WPW:(R)evolution, other posts about the Women Painting Women. Catalog for the (R)evolution show at Principle Gallery.