Seeing elephants

I am doing the art course that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and I have decided to do the art component as well.  Mine was not finished before the submissions closed, and I had a minor panic attack before I decided to submit what I had done.  It was finished enough.  The idea of peer evaluations has me worried (and filled with self doubt), but I am excited about the development potential and taking my art to the next step.

The first assignment was on Surrealism and was really interesting.  I learned a lot and I love the way the information was set out.

I have decided to share here, because this is about documenting my journey and also the idea terrified me a little which indicates this will be a good learning experience as well.  It certainly feels very vulnerable, so be gentle!! The more I look at the pictures, the more I see wrong with it, so I am going to take a deep breath and press publish! :)

As part of the assignment we also had to write an artist Statement which I have included under the painting pictures.  Another very helpful exercise that also gave me direction when I was a bit stuck with the painting.

Pachyderm Doorways

Pachyderm Doorways close up

The painting is named ‘Pachyderm Doorways’.

This was painted with acrylic paints.  I employed the technique decalcomania that was common in Surrealist art that utilised automatism to explore fears and emotions to get some initial shapes and colour on the canvas.  Looking into the shapes I saw an elephant shape so I began painting that in.  I then focussed on my inner feelings and emotions noting where I was feeling a bit anxious or emotional. Once I identified the primary emotions I was feeling I began looking deeper to get a sense of the root fear and then I considered how best to symbolise that in the painting.

At the moment that consisted of feeling like I am a bit lost and not sure which direction to go in.  I portrayed this by the repeating symbol of closed doors scattered behind and beside the elephant.  Though the reality is that I do have options, there is no clear cut option that sticks out more than the others, no arrow guiding me towards a particular door, and this is represented by the barren landscape that is empty of any persuasive signs focusing on one door.

The symbol of the elephant is said to include the following features strength, royalty, connection to ancient wisdom, removal of obstacles and barriers, confidence, patience, using education opportunities, commitment, discernment, intelligence, and compassion which seemed appropriate when distilling the root fear that was behind the piece.Utilising the wisdom and strength of the elephant to decide on which door, or even to knock down all the doors and forge new pathways.

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10 thoughts on “Seeing elephants

  1. Wow Natasha, firstly I love your painting and then I love it even more with the explanation around it – so utterly beautiful. I hope any feedback you get is positive because whilst I feel growing as an artist is always good I feel being able to be free in your art is the richest of gifts. At school I couldn’t draw with pencils that bowl of fruit, it looked all wrong and as a result I decided I couldn’t do art, I was ‘no good’ it’s taken until adulthood to appreciate that I am an artist, just in my own way and that not everyone else might like it but hey I didn’t do it for them I did it for me! I hope the doorways start to give you glimpses of paths you could travel rather than being closed to and I hope the landscape starts to grow from barren to the beginnings of a beautiful growing garden.

    Much love

  2. Oh Natasha … love!
    I am signed up for the course and am having a difficult time fitting it in. If I could just get a CHUNK of time!

    I am so glad you are sharing your art here. Don’t worry about the “deadlines”. Learn for yourself!

  3. This is FASCINATING! I loved to read about how the painting came together and also the WHY. I wanted to sign up to that class and then decided not to, I’m not sure why now. It looks like it’s really interesting and useful. Having recently done an elephant painting myself I was also interested in the symbolism of that. Well done you for pressing publish :) From over here I can’t see why it would be scary but I do know what that’s like. xx

  4. Natasha, your painting paired with your descriptive Artist Statement is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing with us! I applaud you as I continue to struggle with sharing my work (working on that!). Beautiful work! You are such an inspiration!

  5. It’s so gorgeous! And compared alongside what inspired it – makes it all the more so special. I’ve still not started – sleepless nights make for a groggy Cam and am falling behind on everything. Remember what you said about stealing hours from bored people? Yeah – start work on that please :)

  6. This painting is so beautiful and I am not able to put in words what I am feeling about it. (Maybe because of English being not my mother tongue, maybe also because it just touches me and I can’t tell exactly why.) The only thing I feel, it touches me really DEEPLY inside. Thanks so much for sharing it and also for sharing your thoughts and feelings!

Your comment will make my day. Thank you! :)

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