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What's Next Lucy?


color photo of a blank canvas on a short easel

As I wrap up my "Rattlesnake" portrait project of women born and raised in NE New Mexico I'm starting to think about what I want to focus on next.


In the back of my mind are a couple of ideas for new symbolism paintings. The first one is around the subject of money and women. More specifically how women often have a limiting mindset around making money.


Fast Company has an interesting article about this titled "3 Lies Women are Taught to Believe about Money". In it they identify the following lies:


  1. Money is men's business

  2. Caring about or wanting money makes you ungrateful, selfish, or bad

  3. There is no way to win so you may as well not try


If I'm honest dear reader, those are lies that I was taught growing up. So I think there is a lot to explore with that topic but I have no idea what I would do for the composition yet.


Another idea is around how women are natural born alchemists.


True, historically an alchemist was a scientist in the Middle Ages who worked to discover how to change ordinary metals like lead into gold. But a more general description is someone who transforms things for the better. Women have been doing that since the dawn of time as they were primarily responsible for gathering and cooking and what is more transformational than cooking??? After all, you take a bunch of separate ingredients and combine them in a certain way to make something else.


Magic!


But I challenge you to find a historic image of an alchemist as a women. It's usually a bearded old man in a primitive lab surrounded books, tools, and odd ingredients. For example:


Color photo of Alchemist Heating a Pot, by David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1690), oil on canvas. Public domain
Alchemist Heating a Pot, by David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1690), oil on canvas. Public domain

But recently I've heard several songs that identify women as alchemists because they turn pain into power. I really identify with that sentiment and believe that if we don't work through our pain it can paralyze us. Or, put another way, if we don't transform our pain we will transmit it.


I've seen that in my own life and in talking with many of the women in my "Rattlesnake" series.


Here is one song I like in particular by Carly Pearl:



Again, I have no idea how I would create a composition around this topic but it's bubbling in the back of my mind.


Lastly I'm also thinking about a new series around women's undergarments and how they represent society's expectations of women through time. This idea was inspired by the exhibit I read about titled "Rumors of Bloomers" at the Center for Colorado Women’s History in Denver CO.


Promotional piece for the exhibit "Rumors of Bloomers"

Visitors to Rumors of Bloomers will be tasked with considering how women’s undergarments have liberated or controlled, enhanced or concealed, supported or restricted, while also uncovering mysteries, myths, and facts that have been historically kept under covers.

-From their website


I wasn't able get to see it but it got me thinking about how every generation has its own style of undergarments and I think that when they are examined with 2020 hindsight they tell us how women were expected to behave. Garments like chastity belts, corsets, girdles, bras in all their different shapes, colors, and designs, stockings (with and without garter belts), "grannie panties" vs thongs, and more. They all have a story. I'm just not sure which story I want to tell or how I would tell it.


So lots of ideas and no decisions yet! Stay tuned and don't be surprised if the next painting is something not mentioned in this email, you just never know when inspiration will hit!







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