This was not an image I came up with on purpose; it just popped into my head exactly like this. Which, for me, usually means the image is symbolic of something.
A little context...
As you may know, my boyfriend and I recently split up. I had high hopes of us getting back together someday, but have recently had the two-part epiphany that a) our problems aren't going to magically disappear just because we're living apart and b) as long as I think there's a chance of us getting back together, I won't be able to mourn or move on; I'll be stuck in a miserable post-breakup limbo. So I know now that to move forward, I have to abandon all hope and face the fact that the relationship is done.
This painting is about accepting that my breakup with The Boy is final. Let's dissect the imagery and see what makes it tick, shall we?
Apparently, in my paintings, pinks and magentas equal heartbreak.
I don't know why that is, but it does seem to be a burgeoning pattern:
Birds mean love.
That painting with the black bird? Also a breakup painting (from a few years back). And here's a happy painting I did about love:
Yep, even though birds are exploding out of that lady's chest cavity and she doesn't look thrilled about it, it's still a happy painting. You can tell because:
The right side of the canvas represents the future/positivity, and the left side is the past/negativity.
This guy is walking away from bad treatment and into a bright future.
He's sad about things that happened in the past. She's acting as a force of optimism.
And here's a self-portrait of me bleeding from the mouth and being pissed off about how my day went.
I don't do the left vs. right thing on purpose, by the way...it just happens. I get an image in my head that needs to be oriented in a particular way and it would feel all kinds of wrong if I flipped it. Took me years to figure out what was up with that.
Here we have love (the bird) trying to revisit the past (left side of the canvas) against a pink background (heartbreak). The bird has been shot (presumably fatally, considering how its chest is exploding) by someone out of frame who had to have been facing the right side of the canvas (the future). The caption in the lower right corner (which you can't see in this close-up but if you scroll to the big pic at the top of the page it's there) is "now it's done."
This is totally a painting about me wanting things back the way they used to be - of wanting The Boy's love again - and (literally!) killing that thought so I can move forward. Funfact: if this painting were about me not wanting to get back together with The Boy, the bird would be black and the feathers on the arrow would probably be some happy, bright colour. And the background would probably be light blue (often - but not always - a happy colour for me) or apple green (often - but not always - a colour that represents being pissed off or vengeful).
One thing I can't figure out is why my brain told me, in no uncertain terms, that the background of this painting had to be all beaten up-looking (I'm not sure you can tell in the photos but I totally did "antique" the surface of the picture by painting the background onto a wood panel and then sanding the crap out of it). My subconscious is mysterious and very, very detail-oriented.
I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the symbolism in my paintings. If you have any questions, feel free to ask 'em in the comments. Unless it's like 2082 and you're using this blog post to research your thesis on me for university, in which case OMG I GOT FAMOUS ENOUGH TO WRITE A THESIS ON, THAT IS SO COOL, and also, I won't be responding to your comments because I am dead.