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15 November 2010

New Work: “So How Does it Feel to Turn 40?”

That was the question that started me on a tangent leading to this piece, my first real (not cartoony) self portrait.  A friend asked me how it felt to be turning 40.  For the life of me I couldn’t come up with a coherent answer, and I think it has been nagging at me for a while. SelfPortrait_SM

The best way I can describe my feelings are a mass of contradictions.  I feel young and old at the same time.  I’m more excited about life & possibilities than ever before and yet I’m much calmer than I was at age 20.  I get tired more quickly, and yet I get much more done during a typical day.

Weird, huh?

Such a clear vision of the answer was forming in my mind, even though I could not pin it down to words.   I could see the whole thing coming together piece by piece.  This almost NEVER happens, so of course I had to run to the studio to get started!  Scrapping all other projects (temporarily) I started this self portrait on Friday and finished it on Sunday.

I’m not going to analyze the finished piece in too great detail; except to say that it does what I wanted it to do.  It’s hot & cold, calm and frantic, layered, complicated, not quite symmetrical, slightly frayed along the edges but still strong.  Like me!

The style represents a distinct break from my past work, but I’m not saying I intend to go with this style from now on.
These flat, solid, saturated colors are not my normal palette. And when have I EVER used this much yellow? Maybe never before; maybe never again. But for some reason it made sense for this. My least favorite color takes up so much space it cannot be ignored. Therefore the only way I can stand it is if I see the whole thing in balance and not zoom onto the unattractive parts.
A metaphor for my life.

“Untitled” describes how I feel about being 40 years old.  The good and bad.  But mostly good I think.

SelfPortrait_SMdetail

4 comments:

  1. It is just beautiful, Kate. Being forty is a privilege that we shouldn't take for granted. I look in the mirror and joyfully accept - even marvel sometimes- at the beautiful wrinkles that I earned with each experience and every passing minute. Your work reflects your maturity, just as your age reflects your experience. Bravo for birthdays and keep them coming.

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  2. interesting color work. i think the orange/red against the cool blue is cleverly suggestive of a passion burning under a quiet exterior. really like the way you thought about the eyes/eyelids/brows too.
    happy birthday! welcome to what my mom promises me is the best decade of our lives (until we hit 50)!

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  3. It is beautiful! I love the colors and what they represent. Oh, would I love to be 40 again, says she who is approaching 70!

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  4. gorgeous! love the color choices however unusual!
    welcome to your best decade!

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