July 14, 2008

Horse butts


Last week I asked Ana to sponge the horses off and I took a series of shapshots of them standing by the shadows of the panel gate, coats gleaming in the glaring sun. I was amazed how, in the photos, the blue of the sky actually reflected off of their wet black coats. One shot I took was of the mares from the rear- I love their black and white curly striped tails.

I liked most of the shots quite a lot, as studies or compositionally. Trying to decide which one to work on first, I kept coming back to the one of their butts. I thought, who is going to want to see a painting of a couple of huge horse butts? I heard a little voice in my mind, my mother's voice,

"Why would you paint that?"
"Who wants to see their butts?"

At that point I decided, very deliberately, to paint them to thumb my nose at my inner critic, and make a bold statement that I didn't care what anyone thought, I was doing this for me and out of my creative drive rather than what others wanted or expected.

When horses don't want to talk to you or if they want to show you their indifference, they turn their butts to you. Couldn't have been more appropriate.

Ironically, Mom came over the evening I was almost finished with the painting. I really debated showing it to her- even though I am a grown woman, and we've never completely agreed on our taste in art, there is a little girl in my who wants her approval. Right before she left I handed her the photograph.

"Horse butts." she stated.
I pointed across the room to the painting.
"Oh. "
"Why are their tails curly?"

Somewhere inside, I felt my little girl droop like a hot flower. Soon Mom left, and after the door closed I started laughing. In my mind my little girl started dancing and giggling, with a growing awareness of a new sense of freedom.
I'd like to add an addendum to this post. This painting was a turning point for me. Since I did it, I have really lost my need for others' recognition or acceptance of the artwork I'm doing. This has freed me up tremendously, not only in my art but in other aspects of my life as well.
I'd also like to add that my mom was always my biggest fan, encouraging me and believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. Her influence was a gift then, and continues to be so as I learn to trust my own inner wisdom.

No comments: