I've come to be pretty confident in my artistic voice, but when I was recently asked to go past my favorite joke ("I paint sad flowy ladies.") and the usual followup ("I paint the quiet things: internal drama and subtle emotions of the figures in the stories I love."), I found myself going in rambling, vague circles which boiled down to "????"
So, having put some thought to the question, it is time to think aloud (aka write it down), because wow it is hard to pin down.
How do I put my art into words?
There is a definite theme and direction, I know that much. There's something about pain and beauty and humanity and femininity, and there it is: but how do I actually verbalize it? It's not a 'something', it's a definite thing, but I dance around locking onto it constantly.
There is beauty to be found in pain, in sorrow and grief, and there's beauty in quiet moments, too. My art is about these intersections, and especially in those things in the context of overlooked narratives within known stories, but it's more than that. So many times, women are subjects told about and acted upon but not explored, even when the stories are technically about them. I keep looking at these isolated, simplified figures through the context of their humanity, the emotion I read in their actions and choices, and celebrate their beauty and strength and tragedy (or attempt to).
There really is something arresting about all the things not said, but implied, by these narratives I find myself drawn to. We know Persephone ate the pomegranate seeds, but why, after all those months? We know Guinevere was unfaithful, but what did she feel for the husband she betrayed? We know the girl without hands forged her path from the great unknown, but from where did the strength come to take herself from those places of danger with such self-possession?
I want to ask these questions, strip from them the gloss of storytelling disassociation, but still make sure that these women are celebrated no less for being reassessed as mere mortals - their untouchable nature is not what holds my interest, but their beauty in the midst of their human struggles and weaknesses.
(I think I'm getting close to finding the right words for my art, but it's still quite rambly. I need to be able to speak both succinctly and in-depth about this, and right now I have neither. I feel like I'm circling the point from a height - I'm no longer doing a haphazard fly-by, but I still need to close the gap.)