woman as artist

i am sitting with my hands full of paint. i look at the three canvasses i made last night and they are still in the process of becoming paintings. i now know why it is hard to be a woman artist. before i can paint, i have to clean my bedroom, dust the tables, check breakfast ,wake up ayen,sweep the garden and answer my emails. i am thankful i have two women companions judy and jocelyn who wash, clean, cook, buy supplies and keep the house safe for the family. otherwise, i will be a starving artist. or a lousy wife. whichever, ed would find life with me anarchic. so why do i still want to be an artist?

ed said that it is a good thing to be an artist even when one is starving. “You may be starving but it makes no impact if you are a starving person.” he continues ” an artist , to be called an artist, makes a lot of difference.” “so if you are both, starving and an artist, that makes a story !” ‘but i dont want to starve at this stage,” i complained,”i want to enjoy some good food and be stress-free when painting.” ‘”well then, paint and paint till someone decides to buy your painting.” ed replied with a gesture of his brushes.

how does a woman become an artist ? i read may dautin’s and patrick flores’ Women Imaging Women 1999 where they documented the lives of artists from vietnam, indonesia ,thailand and philippines. the women shared how difficult it was for them to meet the standards set by high art which was dominated by men. the artist phaptawan from thailand told me when we met her while i was Isis director ( we were supporting may datuin in her art research) ” i learned to paint as an apprentice for my father who did the murals for temples. i had to paint 10,000 gold leaf in one mural. ” there are artists whose fathers taught them well and were able to make a name for themselves but it is rare for women who have no family tutors to carve a space for their art. in the art scene are images of women painted as objects perceived by male eyes. frida cahlo painted herself to distingush her art from those of the muralist diego rivera.

this is my challenge – how to paint in synch with ed’s art. i have started learning to be a colorist. and ohh it is hard! the paints dont always come out the way you want them. cooking is kinder because you can change the flavors by adding ingredients and you can smell how your food is going. you can rely on your senses for the food to be what you imagine you want it to be. but with painting, you have your eyes and hands to rely on. one cannot eat nor drink the paint and use the canvass for a plate. consuming paint needs more than your hands pressing the paint on the canvas. it is with my whole body, aching arm muscles and carpal nerve sensitive fingers that i make the colors come alive.

now i bow to all the artists, especially women, who make great works of art! it is more than work. it is being alive in the most passionate level and expressing it. it is spiritual. art demands everything from oneself. an artist gives and gives and gives.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Babaylan, Lifelong learning, Psychology

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