Changing Your Mind

The last painting, “St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats,” has found me less sure-footed than usual. I went from this….

“St Gertrude” Masked and in Process

To this…..

“St Gertrude” in Process

To this…..

“St Gertrude: Patron Saint of Cats” by Lynda McClanahan

….all in less than a week. The wonkiness of the face in the original painting bothered me, but since I didn’t know why, I wasn’t confident about fixing it. All my usual tricks (holding the piece up to a mirror, hauling out the ruler, masking off one side, then the other etc.) led to nothing. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced this before but maybe there’s a lesson in it. When a piece only comes together by finding its own way, you just have to let it. The original painting is more serene and icon-like, an impersonal Kore statue from ancient Greece rather than an individual person. The new one is younger, more vulnerable, more fully present and absolutely human. I’ve lost a goddess but gained a very sweet and strange person. Welcome St. Gertrude, patron saint of cats.

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Balancing the Bitter With the Sweet

I have been toggling between angry, bitter and sorrowful themes and lighter, more hopeful pieces. After “Do As I Say” I was in desperate need of mental refreshment, which the latest piece provides.

I started out with this vintage photo of a lady and her cat.

Vintage Photo Source for “Blue Robe With Cat” by Lynda McClanahan

Contrary to my usual habit, I didn’t alter the image much. I worry a bit about this, actually. The internet provides an embarrassment of riches when it comes to photo sources, but I’m already starting to recognize images I’ve used in other people’s work and even in advertising. I worry about our visual vocabulary becoming too homogenized. One can’t help but wonder where all this will lead.

In Process “Blue Robe With Cat” by Lynda McClanahan

It is my hope that I’ve made the idea my own via the eccentric, psychedelic background and the gaze of the cat, which is now directed at the viewer. I wanted to suggest that the lady and the cat were not just connected, but perhaps one and the same being. Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea that Nature is conscious of Herself everywhere and in equal measure in all beings. The fabric-like background is crackling and alive with an organized, yet chaotic energy, which might be a fitting description for our existence here. When the world meditates upon itself, does it apprehend a condition which is vulnerable, limited and paradoxically eternal?

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