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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Who Are These Women?

My  Apparition; 10" x 13," oil pastels on Strathmore drawing paper.

Does this woman look like this woman? Who is this who keeps creeping into my drawings? I did this drawing thirty four years ago. Then a gal who bears  resemblance to her doodles up two days ago on the iPad. Who is this woman and why does she haunt my art?

"THEY" (psychologists/psychiatrists), say we tend to draw faces when left on our own. We've seen so many of them  in our lifetimes, some get tucked away in our subconscious till they spill out in drawings years later.

The iPad woman, Mrs. Aster I've named her, reminded me, while I was drawing it, of this drawing from 1978. I hunted it down and pulled it out of an old portfolio. Sure enough there is a resemblance. Who the hell is she?  Then I went around the house looking for the other faces I  had made up spur of the moment.  Thankfully, they didn't look like her. They were  incomplete by comparison.

Free association drawing  can be very successful for as long as you can keep consciousness out of the picture.  You can for a while, but eventually your head comes back and you start making judgments on values and composition and balance, blah-blah.  While you started with just a pencil, soon you find yourself popping up and down going for your oil crayons, your acrylics, whatever you think is  necessary to solidify,  finish the job and figure out  exactly what it is you are doing. And that's when a doodle becomes an art piece.

Another head that appeared magically.
 Some doodled artworks are more imaginative and unique than others. The better ones are  those where you still have a feeling something more should be done, but you don't know what it is, so you just stopped.  If  you were  lucky, you were smart enough to leave well enough alone, sign it and walk away. Sometimes, you never signed it. Such was the case of the women who haunt me in my living room nightly.

These two heads in my very large painting in my living room tug at the anatomist in me regularly to come fix them . I absolutely won't. Their malformed, ambiguity is, I suspect, the life of the painting and what the painting is all about. If I fix the short-comings, I'm sure I'll kill it. So, I've never titled it. I never signed it. For all I know, I might still be living it?

This head showed up first in the painting process.  It's the head of a young bride,
at least that's what I suppose she is . She's running towards the right of the painting.
She's wearing stiletto pumps with a red bow and yards of tulle.

She's stopped  midway by a giant, seated female  figure with this head that
has no cheek bones, hardly a chin and a smashed in nose, not at all anatomically correct.
 This unfinished figure is motioning her to come closer--maybe luring her closer?

And the story ends far right with a straight forward,  nude, buxom female
 and the profile of a larger head looking back.



  1. Could they be parts of you? Metaphorically of course.... We change constantly through our lives, so I think the top photo is absolutely beautiful and mystical....The last one reminds me of a dark person.... dark in character.... I think they're all great and who knows it could be someone from your past or just your imagination that spurred these images that keep coming up. Its not a bad thing..

    1. I don't think so either. I think it's interesting that left on our own similar images reoccur through life.

  2. Another fascinating post Linda! First I must tell you how impressed I am with both yours and Hallie's iPad drawings. You amaze me!!!

    I agree that much art needs to be left alone at some point in the process and I admire your restraint in not unleashing your perfectionist tendencies- it's the right choice.

    I did a quick pen drawing of a woman yesterday, an image I've been seeing in my head for the past week. When I looked at it today, I realized it was my Mother.

    Ain't art wonderful?! Thanks for sharing your process- it's meaningful.

    1. For all I know Pamo, that woman could be my birth mom. We were separated early on. But I don't see any resemblance, so I guess I look like my dad, who I was also separated from early on. I never bothered to search out my biological parents. I landed a couple of good ones and didn't want to open up a can of worms and shake them up.

      Often it's best not to have the last word.

  3. Fascinating peering into your thoughts, Linda. I have a feeling you would make an excellent Freudian or Jungian analyst. :)

    1. OMG Kathryn. That would be a lot of reading, a lot of soul searching without an ouch of fun. I'd rather make up the stories--write a little fiction. When I think about it, the ambiguity that is the large painting in my great room is what gives the painting life and is also found quite often in live.
      You know--why am we here, what are we doing, that kind of philosophical stuff.

  4. Hello Linda, I can not find an explanation why your mind generates these female figures (never male?), I'm not an expert at all in the field. But I think that from an artistic point of view, your female heads seem to be close to be masterpieces (particularly the last three), this is my impression. Ciao!

    1. I think the profile looking back on the right panel iss male---the eye reminds me of the eyes you see in Roman busts of philosophers and Cesars. The last panel of this painting is either too complex or one horrible composition with a lot going on. I drew this large murel like a child might--just started out and kept adding what came next. Then when I still couldn't find what connected all these figures, I took cans of house paint, mixed in some acrylic and Jackson Pollacked it to obtain unity.Then I went back in with oils to define and solidify. At that point I was disgusted. I felt like I had wasted three magnificent canvases on jibberish. I hung them on the wall anyway. Honey made me feel better. He said, that's it. You're done. I love it. It stays. I finally did sign it two years ago. I don't know about a masterpiece--but then I really don't know what a masterpiece is. Maybe those are the paintings that no one can really describe with words? Thatk you Tito for your kind words.

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    1. It is indeed. And what I like about it is it is compatible with other apps like it. I just downloaded Asketch. It isn't as easy to use as they say--or I'm still too new with it? I have difficulty with finding and keeping the tool bar. But Brushes is definitely easy to catch on to and so far in my opinion, a cornerstone for artistic applications. Great work!

  6. For a start, you must call her LADY Astor, because she strikes a remarkable likeness to Viscountess Nancy Astor (see,_Viscountess_Astor)!!!!

    You've put a lot up here for me to think about - I'll pop around later - get the coffee ready! :0)

    1. The coffee's hot, the kettle's on; coffee or tea are your choices.But you're asleep and a good ten hours off...Not to worry, I'll make fresh when you pop in. LOL

      I just find these curious. And I do think that as infants we see a lot of heads peeking down at us in our cradles and we store them away in case these faces become important towards our survival--could be the truth? Could be a lot of hooey? Maybe they are just fun?

      I think Lady Aster is fine. She does look sort of like a woman in a cosmetic ad with a dewy complexion and surrounded by all those flowers. Flowers were appropriate for the feature I was trying out that allows you to "whip" the pencil/pen mark. I like whipping, so there's more flowers than the composition called for.

  7. It's 1400 hrs here - 2pm ...early afternoon ...cookies?

    She was very unpopular with the 8th Army in Italy - who she called the D-Day Dodgers ... I know all the words to D-Dodgers, which the troops wrote in reply to her

  8. Love one. But this summer a visit is out. There are no rooms at any inns. I've checked. All are filled with relatives and wealthy patrons of the athletes. It's going to be a jubilee in your town.

    That's right there's a time zone change! I forgot. I just remember flying all night over Greenland which wasn't at all.

    Do you think D-Dodgers is on ITunes? --or You Tube?

  9. I'd love to see the entire painting the details come from.

    Funny about faces--and how similar the doodled ones can be, unless one's making a conscious effort. And then it really isn't a doodle, anymore. Infant theory not bad.

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