4 x 5 ft oil painting

After every storm follows a vast array of luminous colors that paint the sky. In life, not a single soul escapes the chaos nature throws our way, and in the same way, we are forever living through a cycle of darkness and light. As we emerge from our storms and light warms our faces we grow in strength, as if reborn into another state of ourselves. The many faces we have during this lifetime: what we perceive ourselves to be, what others see, our younger face of innocence, and the face we see after years of experience with humanity form a glorious spectrum of multiple emotions, ideas, and personalities undefined in one person. As people we continue to change with the passing of time, just like the clouds that rain we may fall to the ground but will eventually rise, becoming a vast array of colors and complexity as light shines once again. 
The inspiration behind this painting:
Saville's "Messenger" with me standing to the side- taken by gallery Security guard
During my time as a gallery assistant at FUA I was required to visit local exhibitions in Florence. In a city that embodies art and the definition of beauty I had been overwhelmed with the amount of art and history that surrounded me. Just walking to class I passed works by  Giambologna and Cellini, masters works became a regular part of my day. Expecting to wander into the Museo Novecento for homework purposes, dragging my feet I walked into the gallery. I didn’t expect to be blown away by what I was welcomed with. And then there was this beautiful moment where a stressful workday turned into a surreal dream-like experience. A quiet moment as I walked into a wide open gallery full of larger-than-life portraits. As if I had private access to the gallery I walked through straining my neck to look upon these vibrant contemporary paintings by Jenny Saville. I remember studying her work in a couple of my contemporary art history classes, but seeing them in person was absolutely breathtaking. I got lost in the details and the way she delicately treated skin and facial features, a subject my work tends to be centered around. but Saville has this wondrous ability to create harmony with contradictory elements. With seamless combination she creates a dreamy reality. Personal meets universal, realism becomes abstract, and timeless themes become modern with a colorful twist.
After seeing her work and studying her process of creating lively skin tones I decided to take what I learned and make something of my own. Despite not having access to a studio I cut a roll of canvas 4x5 ft, rolled it up, and carried it through Florence for 25 minutes down streets as people stared and cars flew by. Finally as I reached my apartment I carried it to my room, taped it up to my wall, and started to paint. I had no references, and I had no projector to aid my creative endeavors. I stared more than I painted trying to find rhythm in my juxtaposition of faces, trying not to paint anything that I would have to fix. After hours of all-night pulls, I finished it up in time for the final student exhibition. When I work on a project that has demanded my full attention I often exhaust myself perfecting it, as it pulls me in and grips my concentration it feels as if for once I have stepped out of the bland simulation of life to a state of connection with myself. I will forever create my art for my own love of exploring the place it takes me to - mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I don’t make art to sell- I make art for myself. And I don’t plan on changing that. If I can’t connect to my own art, how could anyone else? If there was no emotion involved, it wouldn’t be present. I felt the energy in Saville’s work, (even crying in the gallery when looking at Messenger -pictured above) because as I looked at the pieces it felt as if I was seeing the world from a new perspective, transported to a place through the eyes in the painting, silently experiencing the feeling of light touching my face, blinding my right eye as light poured in from some unknown place. The eyes in Messenger looked hopeful as if she had survived something profound. It’s as if Jenny Saville had carefully studied each person’s perspective and personality before illustrating them. I know for me that was a moment I will cherish when I think of Italy and my time there. A brief pause and reflection as I spent a few minutes alone with the work. And I hope that when people look at my artwork they can interpret their own meaning but know that so much care went into what I made. The four faces I included are based on features from my face but as I worked morphed into different people as I added color changes and tonal contrast. I guess that's what happens as we age, we spend so much time working on ourselves or surviving life we often begin to be a completely different person- and that's not a bad thing:)
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