Not long ago, my dear friend Jean sent me a picture of an unusual hibiscus…
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” People differ in their tastes for art forms and color palettes. People also differ in their interpretation of a work of art’s meaning, with art critics endlessly debating over an artist’s intent. I believe it is important for the viewer to form his or her own experience of a work of art and that there are no right answers.
When I begin a painting, I usually have some ideas in mind – a color palette, a theme, an object or an emotion. As the painting evolves, things change: there is a subtle interaction between my original ideas and what emerges on the canvas. A dance develops between the two. The process of painting can be frustrating until a harmony develops and the painting begins to sing. There comes a moment when the painting tells me that it is done.
When it comes to the question of what the painting is about, my original inspiration may be no longer visible in the painting, as other truths have emerged. Very often the painting leads me on a journey to a new realization that I do not recognize until months or years later.
As an example, in 2006 I had the idea to paint a line of doors that would represent alternative opportunities.
|Hollow Victory by Linda Carmel 2006|
During the course of working on the painting, the doors became a line of incomplete figures. I experimented with putting sand into paint for a more textural surface. I liked the look and I was engaged with the figures, and from this a series of 25 paintings emerged. I added different figures and other images like mountains and ladders appeared. Each painting fed the idea for the next.
The series developed and I had a coherent story that explained the characters’ environment and existence. I completed the series with The Big Picture in 2007.
|The Big Picture by LInda Carmel 2007|
This year I revisited the series in order to continue the journey of the characters I had created. The more I contemplated them the more I questioned my original understanding of them. Now I perceived their world a little differently. I decided to explore the lives of one set of characters in more detail.
|Sharing The Load by Linda Carmel 2012|
I am happy to talk about the process of my paintings but I am unwilling to label their content definitively. I do not want to influence a viewer’s interaction with my art with explanations and labels.
I can tell you what I was thinking when I painted them, but you might see something totally different and that, to me, is exciting, that the work is expanded rather than misunderstood.
I hope you enjoy the new series and take away your own interpretation of their meaning.
See more of Linda Carmel’s work at her website.