Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 18, 2009 Floods and Emergence

Outside my back door...Sunflower River near flood stage
The river is once again on the rise due to all of the rain we have had lately. The Big Sunflower river runs right outside my back door and it is a constant reminder of the control nature can wield over our lives. The river torrents and rolls swollen with rain from the North and it has invaded our land and taken our crops with no mercy this year. The end is not here yet as the television weather seers are forecasting even more rise in the rivers here. The loss of control over one's livelihood is quite unsettling, but it is a reminder that we are not in complete control of our lives and surroundings, and that it is futile to think otherwise. There must be a silver lining in some of these deep and brooding thunderheads, and only time will reveal it. I do know that the few days of sunshine we have seen this month are so glorious that it quite literally burns yours eyes and lifts your spirit as it renews your faith and love of nature. There is a beauty in this opposition and that is what keeps me painting and makes the journey more interesting.

Emergence II
by Cathy Hegman
acrylic on canvas
I began working in April, on a series at the Spring Mississippi Art Colony(www.msartcolony.org), called "Emergence". Perhaps this Emergence series was somehow almost a premonition of the flood we are now experiencing, since I began painting it a month or so ago.
I am in great awe of the changes in life that come with age and maturity. All of our lives we are striving to be somebody and to find our comfort zone in this life. We are largely formed by the opinions and the observations of those close to us and society as a whole. We mirror others and strive to be like them even at times when it does not feel compatible, and this can be quite detrimental to the formation of our true self. We pattern our lives by what we are told when we are growing up, and in light of the best efforts, quite often we are told things that while important to another person's life and time really don't pertain to our lives or the times we live in. I loved my youth but it lacked a certain richness that seems only to have come with age and experience. I now possess the ability to discern the things in life that are pertinent and to overlook the ones that are not. The baggage I have acquired in my time on earth has been full at times and through out the passage of time I have learned to unpack and discard some of the contents. This series is about the emergence or the rising above the things in life that threaten to drown us and keep us from being ourselves. The painting "Emergence II" is acrylic on canvas and it 60 x 60 inches. Emergence II,is full of symbolism and metaphorical references to a female's life. I often use the figure in my work and whether abstracted , painted realistically, used in groups or used singularly; I find the figure is one of the most powerful shapes I can use in paintings. In Emergence II, I use the figure shape as an attribute rather than as a specific person. I chose to use the singular figure in the painting "Emergence II" to give it a more forceful presence. The numbers are a reference to the years of life and the figure is emerging from the years as a more complete person. The lines or ropes that entwine the figure form Xs as a symbol that she is overcoming the stigma of her female status and being defined by more than just a chromosome. The blindfold is lifting and the bonds or restraints, created by life are being loosened and removed. The very word emergence renders a feeling of victory to me, and it is the feeling I am seeking with this series. The victory over misguidance, mistakes, misunderstandings in life. The blindfold is significant in that our awareness of being held under and held back is often not seen by us. The bars serve to give unity and repetition to the piece and to give a slight thought of the entrapment present in our lives. I like to play with the surface space and break it into shapes that will reinforce my thoughts and the figure. I try to give as many things to the viewer as possible but I also add some things, painted almost subliminally in the piece to give it that little bit of intrigue. I also have given the figure a good bit more realism than I usually do in my work. I have painted figures for years without faces, simply because I wanted them to have anonymity and not to to be any particular person. Lately, I have been working with the figure and leaving out parts of the figure that are not significant to the painting. In this one the figure is fairly complete but I have left off the legs and feet as I did not think they were needed to complete the feeling and composition in this piece. In life as in painting often times the completeness is not in the details but in the overall feeling.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great month!

Cathy Hegman NWS, MSWS, MoWs, SW, SAA
website: www.cathyhegman.com
email: Hegmanart@aol.com

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.


Joyfulartist said...

I do hope and pray that you and your studio is kept safe and dry from the flood. I spoke with an artist yesterday who lost all his work several years ago because of a burst plumbing pipe. We never know what this life will bring, do we?
Thank you for telling about all the symbolism in your painting. In thinking about the legs not being defined in the painting, it occured to me that perhaps she wasn't fully emerged,yet, and in time she will be.

jer & suz stuff said...

You sure have a way with words, paint and brushes. Wonderful painting.

Cathy Hegman said...

I thank you both for the prayers and nice words about my blog and my art. I love the thought about the legs that is very true! :)

Karen Jacobs said...

Incredible photos, Cathy... I remember watching and wondering as waters rose when we lived near New Orleans. That helplessness. Hope it recedes without too much damage. Your work is quite strong, glad I had a chance to see it in person. This large one is really special, I really relate to the decade markers as that's the only way I track time anymore!

CMC said...

Oh my gosh....hope it doesn't continue to rise more. The Big Sunflower, huh!

That painting is WONDERFUL. and the explanation of the symbols is just a bonus to appreciate it more.

Anonymous said...

what is big sunflower

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Cathy Hegman said...

Hey Britney,
The Big Sunflower is the name of the river! Thank you for all of your comments!

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Anonymous said...

Wonderful river and good location..........

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