I few years ago, I attended two workshops conducted by a well-known South African artist, Judith Mason. Our project for the second workshop was to create an oil painting, called legacy. Our painting had to show something about our lives at the time, so that our grandchildren may in years to come, have a glimpse into the year 2004.
Initially I placed a large tree with huge roots predominantly in the painting. My newly deceased dog also was centrally placed, with images of my significant others being reflected in shards of a broken mirror. This painting is about the changes that occurred in my life at the time of the workshop. Both my children decided to live permanently in the UK, my lovable, faithful dog died and we moved out of our large family home into something more suitable for two people. On the fourth day of the workshop, I became so choked up with emotion, I couldn’t complete the painting. Looking back, I was not used to painting such emotive subjects; I painted boring landscapes and still life’s that were devoid of any special meaning to me. I wanted to destroy the painting, but couldn’t throw away the images of my loved ones so I merely cut that part of the painting from the stretcher and kept the piece of canvas in the cupboard of my studio.
Recently, I have taken a more intuitive and personal approach to my painting. I retrieved what was left of the painting and decided to complete it. I moved the image of my dog to the right side with him looking over us as he always did. I painted a self-portrait in the centre shard, since this painting is really about me; and painted an image of our family home over the roots of the existing tree. The sky above the house turns from sunny to menacing, shards of a broken mirror fall to the left of me, completing the circular composition. It is strange to try and remember how I felt at that time and how my life is so different now. It has been extremely therapeutic completing this painting!
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