Re-entering figurative painting

My Faith in Faythe

Returning to figurative painting has not been an easy transition.

I am confronted with who the painting is about and how they are seen through my eye. My world view. Returning to painting figures is a different kettle of fish if not can of worms.
You ask why?

Because I must confront being what society deems me: ‘a woman painter’ painting figures. Which is why I have chosen the painting of Faythe to start the journey back into figure.

Faythe is everything you haven’t seen when looking at paintings of women. She is whole, integrated, in charge of her world and life. She is comfortable in her own skin. She bows to no one and most importantly doesn’t need to jump up and down screaming and fighting for women’s rights. Because she’s there. She has arrived.

Most of us know that women’s progress in human rights and equality has stepped back a few steps during the past few years. To the wonderment of some of my younger students, who have asked me, what happened?

Progress in most things have a uncanny rhythm of a few steps forward and a few steps back. Let my painting of Faythe be a great leap forward.  The only way to arrive to where we want to be is to behave as if we are already there. And that is what Faythe is about. Just being there.

Once a male colleague of mine said to me during one of my shows, “These are women’s paintings.”

 I thought, “Hmm – yes I am a woman and painter.”

But what I realized is that I am more than a woman, I’m a human being.

 One day my paintings will be seen as someone’s paintings and someone’s view on life and the world. One day I will not be referred to as a ‘woman painter’, rather as a painter.  Faythe is there now! I’m with Faythe.

Recently I was doing my first three week residency at Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. It helped me see how important it is to get feedback from fellow artists.

On my first day, after explaining the idea behind my painting of Faythe, one conceptual artist said to me “Man, you’ve hit the motherload.” I smiled and said “Yes, I think I have.”


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