I’m calling her I Am Enough.
Today I went into my studio unsure of what to work on. I was thinking I should make more potholders to insure some money coming in next week. But before breakfast I picked up the book Ninth Street Women, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art, that Jon bought me yesterday.
I can’t wait to start reading it.
I’m familiar with the art of these women, but have read little about their work and it’s influence on painting. I was looking at the photos (I always go to the pictures first) and in one Helen Frankenthaler is standing in front of one of her paintings. She’s really small compared to the canvas which is hanging from what looks like the ceiling of a warehouse. The painting has two shapes on it, one taking up much of the canvas the other small and bleeding off the canvas.
I was awed by the photo. That’s thinking I big, I thought.
It reminded me of one time when I was in art school and I had cut out a bunch of shapes I was working with in my painting class. The shapes were about half my size, and I was using the wall in the painting classroom as my canvas to hang them on. I was up on a ladder when my painting teacher walked in.
I just expected him to tell me that I couldn’t use the wall or to be careful on the ladder or not to get paint on the wall. But instead, with a smile on his face, he said,” It feel good to work big doesn’t it?”
I never forgot his encouragement or how good it actually felt to have all that space to myself even if just for a little while.
So when I walked into my studio this morning, and saw my goddess, hands on hips, staring straight at me, I said to myself “Think big Maria”.
Big isn’t just about size, and “thinking big” is a state of mind.
Always lingering in the back of my mind when I make a fabric painting is the thought that no one will buy it. That I’ll have done all the work and put all the time into it and then, when my health insurance comes due, I won’t have the money to pay it.
That’s the essence of small thinking.
I’m calling my goddess I Am Enough. A phrase I’ve used in my work in the past, but is once again relevant to me. She is standing by herself, hands on hips, determined and sure of herself.
I’m almost done with making her. Today I worked on her skirt, cutting some of the stars in half from a part of the same quilt she is stitched on, to define and decorate it. I still have to sew down the pansy chain on her pubic triangle, festive and fecund as it is.
The wall in my studio isn’t close to the size of the wall that was in my painting class. But my I Am Enough goddess is big in attitude and meaning, if not in size.