Saturday, January 06, 2007

Switching Gears: Beautiful Death

Well, after a crazy couple of months of mass medallion production and hectic holiday sales I have decided to take a break from making medallions and get back into some serious painting.

I have been obsessing over the concept of Beautiful Death for some time now and I finally decided to commit to it. As of today I am beginning a new painting series based on the concept of Beautiful Death.
Oh Groan! She's getting morbid again! More skulls and angry rotting uteruses! Oh my!
No, probably not. Hear me out.

I think the concept of a beautiful death originates with the writings of Socrates, relating death with dignity, in the style of mythic heroes, or in tune with heroic ideals, or perhaps it triggers thoughts of a more Freudian/sexual nature, but my concept is a bit smaller, perhaps more *feminine* and a lot more personal, as it originated for me here in my front yard. As most of you know, I have a fascination with my wild flower meadow as well as a preoccupation with the life cycle: birth, life, death, and re-birth. The two obsessions united and sparked a real passion when I began collecting my own seeds to plant in my meadow. I learned as much as I could about the planting process from reading, but what really captured my interest was in watching the seeds I collected and planted come to fruition. They became my babies, my labor, my births. It became personal. I studied each plant as they sprouted, grew and bloomed and then as they evolved into pods and went to seed. I suffered or rejoiced their failure and success, their life and death was my own.

There I was, watching, waiting, thinking…
Birth, life, death, re-birth.
Patterns and cycles.
For me, this was womanhood personified.
Can you hear the gears turning?

On some level I found myself getting anxious, a grim reaper, waiting for them to die so I could harvest their seeds and start the process again. I also realized that the point in which the blooms seemed their most glorious was right before they were about to die a beautiful death. It was as if they could finally become wild, free and individualized at the last part of their life. Maturity, wisdom and knowledge gained, was expressed during their most pregnant ripening, and then it was suddenly over. The moment of ultimate beauty was brief and explosive and then the blooms were gone, but in their place stood an elegant pod or seed head, the flower's legacy. As each plant died they became alien and sculptural, fascinating and beautiful, they were full of potential, creating new life in death. I found that the brown and withered remains were as amazing to me as the fresh blooms.

Growth, evolution, change: life, death and re-birth.

And this is the seed that has been planted in my brain.
I'm not sure where I'm going with the concept of Beautiful Death, but I do know I feel the need to explore it, so as usual I will follow the muse for better or worse. The gears are clicking and turning, thoughts, emotions and visions are churning. There is a *need* to get this out of my system as it has been festering for a while now. It will be a struggle to put this concept (the way I am imagining it) into a two dimensional form, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I am giving myself no rules, goals or expectations for this painting series. I am thinking only of the concept – not where it belongs in the market or who I can sell it to. This is going to be a much needed personal project to rejuvenate my soul and I am giving it the time it deserves.

In other words dear blog readers, I'm going to go off line for a while to pursue this.

However, I will of course still be available for Medallion parties and on-line orders. I currently have about 600 medallions in stock here at the Exalted Beauty studio and hundreds more available at my retail locations so don't panic! I am not quitting the medallion biz, I'm just taking some much needed personal creative time. I'll be back soon to let you know more about the Charmed Life necklace and I may pop in to announce random happenings or to torture you with more sunset shots and new cat photos in the interim, but please do not anticipate a new medallion collection in the near future. I anticipate that I will be painting instead of sculpting medallions for the next few months.

In the meantime please enjoy these photos I took in my meadow on a warm and sunny day in November 2006. These images are a part of what inspired me to do the Beautiful Death series.
Perhaps you'll figure out where my work is going before I do?













1 comment:

Betzie said...

Amy,
I loved reading this...it is so true and you expressed it all so beautifully.
I can't wait to see what "blossoms" from you soul to create these thoughts in your own special way. Exciting!
Have fun!