Updated: Sep 23, 2019
“Life remains unchanged till a leap of faith runs toward heaven.” - Santosh Kalwar, Three Line Poetry #21
It’s surprising to me that it has taken this long for me to get around to actually writing about art. I think about art’s relationship to the world often and then think to myself, “I should write that down." Maybe my excuse for not putting pen to paper on the subject is because, as an artist, I fight to not think too much about creating. I want to focus more on feeling.
So it is befitting today that I am launching my first blog entry along with a new exploration in what I am doing artistically. Just to wrap it all up in a neat bow, my new subject matter is female high divers. If I were to give a title to the series of paintings I’m working on it would be, “A Leap of Faith.”
I collect images that inspire me; sometimes it’s a color, a gesture, or just of nature doing its thing. Recently, I have been moved by old black and white images of female high divers — many of them Olympic athletes from the 1930s and 40s: Dorothy Poynton, Leni Reifenstahl, & Esme Gibb.
There are some obvious reasons I am drawn to these images. I love the tenacity of female athletes and I also love all things water but there’s something about these images that summons a deeper sensitivity. I relate to the moment captured of a woman flying in the air. She leaps from the safety of a sturdy platform and makes the decision to fly, not fall. I know what she is thinking seconds before she leaps off the platform. I know what her breathing is like, the pace of her heart, the fears she ignores.
I’m not a high diver. As a matter of fact, I’m a bit of a sissy when it comes to heights. Recently in life, I’ve had to make leaps of faith; that everything I’ve done up to this moment was the right amount of preparation to make the jump. I can't help but think of this time in our history for women too. I feel we are watching women taking great leaps grasping a moment that has been ours for the taking for quite some time now.
Simultaneously, I’ve had the same experience artistically. I stopped ignoring a quiet voice that was constantly suggesting I let go of the safety of painting what I know and jump into the waters of experimentation. This might seem like a simple fete, but I’ve found for many artists it tends to riddle us with fear; a fear of creating something awful, of wasting time, of wasting supplies, and ultimately of failure.
But for all of us who have found ourselves on a metaphorical precipice we know it’s much harder to climb back down to safe ground and always wonder wonder wonder what if, than it is to jump and make bold changes...running toward heaven.