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.



  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.

  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)!

  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!

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


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