Two people I saw separately over the weekend made equally lovely comments about my painting “The life of an artist explained” that they had both seen on my Facebook page on Friday, so I thought I’d give them and anyone else who is reading this a more in-depth answer to what it was and exactly what they are…
I have done a number of these paintings over the years as birth presents for babies, birthday presents for adults, and wedding presents for couples. They tend to have the same running themes in the majority of them…being the sun and moon and stars, clouds, raindrops, umbrellas and rainbows, a fairy castle, the sea, jigsaw pieces, dice, bags of money, butterflies, snails and toadstools, hourglasses, candles, theatrical masks, doorways, windows, hot air balloons, flags and ladders. All of those are symbols of life – the butterflies being the happy jolly parts, the snails signifying the sad slow parts. The sun and moon and stars for the passing of days, the hourglass showing the passing of life. Candles for the passing of time. Rainbows are for good luck, as are the bags of money below them. The dice and theatrical masks show the changes in life, some happy, some sad. Raindrops are for the tears we shed. Umbrellas are for protection. The hot air balloons are for jolly light days and the ladders are showing the way we go through life looking to improve ever upwards in our searches for happiness and achievements. The castle is for the dream home we all want to live in, the sea for travel. Doorways and windows signify the way that sometimes we have unexpected access into other parts of life that we weren’t expecting. Jigsaw pieces show the way that life joins together, to form a whole, made up of all the pieces of our lives. Flags are for the celebrations.
But as well as those general running themes, the paintings are also personalised for each individual.
The one with the moon at the top left hand side was done for Sam – and the way it was personalised for him as a birth gift was an anchor (because he lives near the sea), a deer (because there are deer roaming near where he lives), numbers (because his father was an accountant), rugby and motorbikes (because his father loves rugby and motorbikes), tropical fish (as his parents kept them), tadpoles (because they had a pond in their garden), music notes (for their love of music), wine (for their love of wine), books (because his mother loves to read), and two boys pointing at the number three on the dice (as he has two older brothers).
The fantasy profile with the word “Christopher” written on it was a birth gift for, as you no doubt have already guessed… Christopher! And amongst other of his favourite things features “The Far Away Tree” that his mother used to love to read when she was a child, the eye looking out and over him, the window for the view he loves, and the presents for the gifts he is wished.
And now for the third picture here… “The life of an artist explained” which describes how I look at my life as an artist. The hand and eye connected to it obviously symbolise the artists eye always drawing, the tear from the eye showing the emotions involved in artistic creation. The brush and pencil are the artists tools, as is the bucket of spilt water for the artist to clean and wash brushes. The lamp post is for looking for illumination in art, both on a physical aspect with overhead lighting, but also the way light shines on a subject inspiring us to paint, and for the more cerebral illuminating improvements in our art, and for others to shine their praise on it too. The tea cup and pot signify the huge amounts of tea I drink to help with inspiration and energy! The question mark for the unknown next painting that hasn’t even been considered yet. The egg shell for the fragility of creating art, and the face for the portraits and people I have painted, and my buyers. The scissors are for the cutting part of being an artist, to cut down the painting for mounting and framing. And the deckchair and shell are for the aim to end up somewhere near the sea eventually, to relax, as artists never retire.
So that is my life, in a painting, as an artist.
I adore painting these pictures, for the bright colours and liveliness in them, and as you can tell there is an awful lot of work that goes into them, but I never tire at looking at them, they are always interesting to observe the interaction of the individual aspects, hopes and dreams, that make up a whole celebration of life.
I think they make a wonderful gift, with an incredible individual aspect that can’t be replicated in other ways.