We are all connected- this is a theme that has run through my work since the very beginning of my creative journey, and even before that. I would say since my childhood. Which is kind of ironic, because I tend to isolate myself…but perhaps it’s because of feeling too much…I’m not really sure.
But I do remember being in my teen years and having the thought that humanity is like a tapestry and we are all threads in it, forming a larger fluid, always changing picture. I was always connected to nature at a deeper level since I was little, but it wasn’t until more in my adult years that the thought that it’s not just humanity that is part of the tapestry, but all living things- animals, plants, oceans.
I just read this beautifully written op-ed article last night that resonated with me and I keep re-reading: What Would It Mean To Deeply Accept That We Are Living In a Planetary Crisis?
“For those brave enough to walk into the realm of acceptance, the illusion of human superiority erodes. No longer the apex of creation, we are now required to find our place in the web of life… I now recognize the Earth as a sacred place, filled with trees and birds and rocks and clouds and wind that are all alive and communicating.” – Barbara Cecil
When I read this article last night I knew that I wanted to write a little bit about this painting that I created for the Melting Point exhibition at the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA. I had been wanting to write something, but sometimes I just don’t have the words or the effort to articulate my thought process seems larger than I feel like dealing with. But I feel inspired by the article to put in the effort.
This 16×16 inch painting is created from four 8×8 inch panels that I attached together. I drew the bee with blue ink on a very thin rice paper. The beeswax absorbed into the paper beautifully and integrated the drawing onto the surface just as I envisioned. The deep dark blue/almost black panel contains thread and and old piece of denim salvaged from my favorite pair of studio jeans. (Thread has often appeared again and again throughout the years in my mixed media work.) This dark color for me always represents life. I’ve never understood associating the darkness with death/depression. Life begins in darkness and pushes through to the light. I think it is profound and beautiful. The tree at the bottom right is from a photo I took of branches against the sky, a favorite image that I return to again and again in my work. The stripes were made from used tea bag paper. And the bottom left panel is a plus sign, a symbol that has been appearing in my work that represents that we are all connected. And if you were in front of the painting you would be able to peer through the layers to see that “we are all connected” is hand written on the painting. The dots are all of us- human life, animal life, water, soil, air, separate, but not separate.
We are all connected.