Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sad bastard with a paintbrush pt. 2

Okay, so here's a preview of some more breakuppy paintings I'll be putting on Etsy soon:

It probably goes without saying that monogamy is much easier when you're with the right person: if your partner fulfills most of your needs, you'll be less likely to wonder what else is out there.  If you're with the wrong person, however, monogamy - and especially marriage - can feel really claustrophobic.

This 4"x4" painting is all about that feeling of claustrophobia.  To heighten the sense of being trapped, I made the picture area a mere 2"x2" window in the centre of the canvas, surrounded by lines of text that close in on it tighter and tighter.  The picture is of a woman squinting at the sky through her engagement ring (from the woman's point of view).  The text reads: "The future is wide open," he said with a smile...but I felt my future beginning to shrink down to a circle that got smaller and... (I was going to put "smaller and smaller" but I ran out of room.  Which actually works really well with the subject matter, when you think about it).

This idea appeared in my brain out of nowhere and kept haunting me until I gave in and painted it.  Basically, the deal is that someone was so enamored with the beauty of this butterfly that they nailed it to the wall so they could look at it whenever they wanted...but watching a dead butterfly dry up on your wall isn't nearly as engaging as watching a live one interact with the world, so it looks like our butterfly-catcher got bored and left.  Judging by the grime on the Victorian-patterned wallpaper and the way the inscription under it has faded, the butterfly has been nailed there alone and neglected for quite some time.

(Oh wow...I just totally flashed back to Nailbunny from JTHM.)

On the surface, it would appear that these two paintings are very different from each other, but no: they're both about the dangers of a badly run or badly chosen marriage.  I think most people put themselves on autopilot when they get married - they assume the relationship will be permanent so they don't work at maintaining it.  I know I was like that: I was all, "Well, my love life is all squared away...time to focus on other things!" because I thought my partner had been, well, nailed down.  But you can never stop working at a relationship.  If you stop actively working at it, the relationship will eventually dry up to a dead, empty husk...just like that Victorian butterfly.

Oh, I almost forgot - I made a third and somewhat less CRIPPLINGLY SAD painting recently. 

It might be a cautionary tale about people's tendency to make mountains out of molehills or it might be a portrait of an adorable little monster with delusions of grandeur.  You decide. :)


  1. +1 on the butterfly one, nice!

  2. I'm glad you like it! I hope to have it in the Etsy store within the next week - varnishing and taking photos can be kind of a long process (well, taking good photos can).