A few weeks ago, I was participating in the Art By the Lake exhibit with my fellow artists from the Lakeshore Association.
Here I am with my tent enjoying it all:
We had a really good turnout and were blessed with fantastic weather and it was a lot of fun talking with friends, family, clients and other visitors that came. As a bonus, we were happy to contribute to an important cause.
One thing struck me though and it made me question people’s mood and perceptions these days.
Some of the paintings I was presenting namely “Indomitable” and “Golden Watch” were created a while back in 2017, pre-pandemic , pre invasion of Ukraine by Russia and pre today’s increased awareness of climate change and forest fires.
At the time, I wrote several posts on this particular series, the whys and details of working on a series, materials used and such. But the main idea was about the beauty and protection we get from forests and nature, its force, its importance and beauty.
For this series, I aimed to paint the forest in a semi-abstract style and limit my palette to primary colors.
Here are two of these paintings with their accompanying poems I published at the time.
Man wants to subdue the forest
To his power, to his needs
Man wants to tame the forest
But the forest is fighting
Each time it resists
After each attack, it regenerates
Indomitable, secret, new
Each time it reveals itself
Despite the assaults
Every time it survives
Golden warmth is keeping watch
Over the forest and its inhabitants
Have no fear
There is protection
For all that live within
As long as you submit
To its laws.
Now, in 2022, I would say that about 15% of the people I talked to, interpreted these paintings as forest fires and destruction instead of sunset and warmth in the background.
I believe that for people to see something like fire and destruction in a modern painting about the majesty and protection of forests and trees is a symptom that these particular individuals must be generally living in fear of tomorrow, even if subconsciously, their heads filled with negative images.
I find this very sad if it is how some people perceive the world today.
It is difficult to ignore the news and see the beauty of the world sometimes but necessary for our mental health.
I realise viewers need to interpret artworks so that it makes sense to them but it is becoming increasingly difficult to convey a positive message without using pastel colors and being dreamlike.
As for me, I still like my paintings and see the warmth, drama and protection of the forest and of nature in general in these which is what I wanted to express while using unconventional colours and shapes.
As an artist, I am happy I can communicate my love of nature and of everything around us through my art.
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I believe a lot of people are having mental health issues.. COVID has changed the world.. I think many are still suffering from the domino effects of it.. Hence, it is so important for us to be grounded or connected to Nature during these times. Have a lovely day. 🙏🏻💝🙏🏻
Yes indeed! Thank you so much and have a great day too 😊
This reminds me of the Rorschach ink blots in psychology, where “subjects’ perceptions of inkblots were analyzed using psychological interpretation.” Where one person sees a lizard shape in the clouds, another sees a bird. Our external perceptions of the abstract are internal reflections of our hearts + minds….
Yes. Thank you Lu , you are so right!