The morphication process….

The dust of Fall is settling all around, although the temperatures do not seem to reflect it. It is a time for pause and reflection on the year, and where I have gone with my work.  I look back, and I see paintings that mark the days and events of the  past year.   I spend almost every day here and the better part of it alone, and I have a visual reference of work to let me know the progression of time as well as the direction of my art.

I have watched my work transform and translate over the days and months.  I am finding the older I become; the more I am drawn to  the more simple subject matter: the more simple the subject for me, the more complex the paint: the more complex the paint translates into a longer thought process and relationship with the paint; the longer thought process the deeper the connection between the painting and myself.

As figures are my muse, and have been for some time, I have and will continue to seek a way to paint a figure that is as much a part of the surroundings as the surroundings are a part of the figure.  I want a balance to exist between the environment and the figure that will evoke the interdependence of one to the other and the coalescence of the two.

Weight of Balance Domestic Life, is a painting that has truly morphed and changed, every time I have addressed it in the studio.  The beginning stages had color and lines that were almost too precise, and too beautiful,not the emotion I was attempting to portray.  I left this painting several times with the intent for varnish the next day, only to return in the morning with the knowledge that there was more to say than just the prettiness of the paint.

I finally had it to a point that seemed complete and harmonious before I left for Art Colony, so I did not take this painting with me, but for some reason I also did not varnish it.  We are often our best teachers,  I knew something in my heart that my mind refused to acknowledge.  Here is how it looked:

                                                     detail of the painting at this stage

Before I left for Colony this is one of the stages at which I thought the painting was finished.

The  finished painting before I left for Art Colony

At this stage the painting seemed complete, but when I got home from Colony, it seemed to be lacking, what was missing?   I think for me, it was an adequate painting, but I wanted this painting to be about much more than nice color and shapes, I needed to feel like I related to the figure and the environment, and somehow I no longer felt the connection. The figure appeared to belong in this place but as a whole the painting was so benign. As I moved supplies back into the studio,I put the painting on the floor where I had to face it each time I walked into the room.  Finally after a couple of days of dancing around the issue of going back into this painting, I decided to begin work on it again.  I really thought about it, and for me the issue was one of aesthetics, I found this painting too safe, the edges were too alike, the figure had nothing that I had not seen before, in my figures and it emoted no particular feeling to me.  It was in a nutshell lifeless, adequately lifeless.

Not good enough,  I wanted more, so with big brushes in hand, I began to really work on this painting. I had to destroy much of the harmonious color palette in order to achieve a deeper meaning for the painting.    I realize for some this may seem really silly,  the notion that I would want a painting to do more than decorate a wall, but for me art is so much more than decoration. I really feel that we leave a part of ourselves in the paintings, and although beautiful is all well and good; at this point my life is not really about how things look as much as, it is how things exist and feel.   So after now 4 weeks of working on this piece, I finally feel the glimmer of finish coming over the horizon.  The surface is mature and has a rich textural quality that belies and is symbolic of life and how it truly feels.  The paint has layers of color that obscure and reveal the underpinnings of the structure of the painting. The edges now have a variety that is rough and at times jagged much like domestic life  The figure seems to have purpose and seems to belong in this place.

Weight of Balance Domestic Life
36 x 48
Cathy Hegman

I will still tweak  the layers, and add some marks, and make a few more adjustments, but the backbone of emotion is here.  The figure is evocative, it is stable, and it exists where and how it should in the picture plane of it’s surroundings.  I feel a form of validation for persevering and bringing this painting out of normalcy and into something more.  It, as well as I, have turned a corner in art, I believe I have learned to be honest with myself when dealing with my art and to not settle for less than I had anticipated.  I hope this will give you the inspiration and courage to be brave and push the boundaries  in your art, even if you have to destroy a painting in order to create a more meaningful painting.

Thank you for reading my blog, I am always grateful.

Take care,

*All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to blog.

About Cathy S. Hegman

Art, much like a road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find something that links them to the artist and the art. A work of art has the ability to resonate and touch the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration. It is my hope in this lifetime to give a part of what I have learned through and on my journey with others. The deepest form of us is revealed in our thoughts and my art is the translation of my thoughts to paper and canvas. I paint layers of color and line to create a history of marks that will guide the viewer into my world of thought and engage them in the process. I embed personal symbols throughout my art to give it deeper meaning. I encourage you to think about life in a visual way and to contemplate our connections with each other and the world we share.
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7 Responses to The morphication process….

  1. Patty says:

    Gosh darnit, Cathy. You do it to me every time, even to the point of tears. You help me so much to be true to myself,again. You have said that so many times and I need to post it here in my studio so that I do not, once again, get caught in the “will someone like this on their wall” trap!! PAINT FOR ME!!

    ” I believe I have learned to be honest with myself when dealing with my art and to not settle for less than I had anticipated. I hope this will give you the inspiration and courage to be brave and push the boundaries in your art, even if you have to destroy a painting in order to create a more meaningful painting.”

    This is what struck me. So much of my work is not meaningful, to me. I must strive to get there over and over. Thanks so much for the push!! xo

    • Patty! Thank you so much for the comment, you give me the extra push to keep blogging… I really started the blog to be able to put down emotions and ideas about my art making process that otherwise might never be realized by a viewer. I think I later realized the blog is a wonderful chance to communicate with other artists about the life of artists, the practice of art, the good the bad and the ugly of creating a painting, it is not all butterflies and sunshine on most days…it proves that I exist on some level outside of my studio and that my struggles and triumphs are paralleled by others…Thank you for reading it!!! I look forward to seeing you again when you come back to this side of the river…. 🙂 Take care my friend!

  2. Great post–the mark of a mature artist is that willingness to push past what is OK, fine, adequate into true exploration of the medium and its expressive potential. You describe this so well!!

  3. Ro Rainwater says:

    Very soul-full blog AND painting, Cat. It allows me to realize that this long hiatus from painting that I’m experiencing (2 years!) is a maturing process that had to be done outside the studio, in my case. I don’t pretend to understand why, but I can say that during these years, I’ve turned several corners and come upon a Self which is wounded but vital, a soaring Spirit, and a Soul which balances it all on some imperfect fulcrum, but it IS a fulcrum. I know the poet in you will understand on some level what I’m saying here, we are so similar in many private and internal ways. So grateful for your friendship!

    • Ro, I have missed you not being at Colony, and I DO understand what you are feeling. I believe the thought does precede the action and that you will be voicing all these emotions soon in your work again. The fact that you see it as a fulcrum is amazing and that you know that for one side to pull down the other will lift! You my friend are in the balance mode just waiting for the proper time to pull down and get the fulcrum back into motion. I am so looking forward to when you get back to your art ….thank you for reading my blog…I do appreciate it and the kind comment! 😉

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