Let’s talk about High Painting Number Five

For just a little while there, I wasn’t getting along so well with Five. But Five wasn’t the problem, because it’s never the painting’s fault if we aren’t vibing. It’s always me. This is how I know I need to check in with myself by having some interesting experiences, such as taking the dog to the park, or watching a good anime; the kind of experiences that I can nurture and nourish myself with.

It’s those other experiences, besides painting, that stimulate my art, and if I don’t have enough stimulus and variety of activities to get my creative groove going, I start painting nonsense. My paintings make no sense at all when I’m in that state.

I’d been approaching this painting as something beautiful that I’d already broken and now I had to fix it somehow but how could I? I’m just yet another crazy person with a paintbrush, pretending their art is worthy of lofty praise. How dare I ever be such an idiot to ever think my weird, psychological, poorly made, druggie art has any validity in a world packed full of significantly more adept and capable story tellers than I? Puta. Arrogant cow.

Clearly my relationship with myself as an artist needed working on. My Psychedelic Selfies project has been such a cool addition to painting as a way to connect with myself as an artist. Five’s canvas is me reflected in paint, and the psychedelic selfies are myself as art. Together, they’ve been creating this vibey, chilled artist Catherine that I’m learning to tap into even when I’m doing other stuff.

I take Artist Catherine with me wherever I go and then I return, ready to groove with Five about all the cool things I’ve discovered about myself while cleaning or walking or tending to a plant. I’m putting my experience of the world into paint.

This painting is drawing out so many wonderful aspects of myself, some of which I am reuniting with, while others are new and intriguing to me. An example of a new aspect of myself is that I’m taking pleasure out of wearing make-up every day. I’ve never lived like this before; where I make myself look nice every day and enjoy how good I feel all dressed up and showing off my best self. Not for any reason other than to shamelessly enjoy my beauty.

The way that this make-up enjoying aspect of myself has influenced High Painting Number Five is that I realised that I can show my darker and more vulnerable aspects in a beautiful way too. Nothing in this world is just plain ugly. There’s some beauty in everything. That’s what I’m looking for in Five; how to express my traumas with beauty instead of expressing them through my body with fibromyalgia, or through my moods with anxiety or depression. Letting go of how bad past events made me feel bad, and letting go of carrying that bad feeling is both the work and the result of this painting process.

Cruella de Vil and Ursula the Sea Witch are two examples of the uglier parts of existence portrayed in beautiful ways. They’re sick and twisted and loathsome and yet their nastiness is just as absorbing to watch as the innocence of the puppies and Ariel is.

Through this painting I am learning to perceive the world in such a way that my impressions of life are always beautiful in some way.

I can make beautiful memories by enjoying a beautiful existence.

Five and I. This is taken while I’m seated on the footrest that came with when Matthew’s green chair tripped and fell into my art room.
Sometimes she makes me laugh.
She makes a mad backdrop for my psychedelic selfies.
Me realising Five’s pranked me again by putting paint in my hair.
I’m especially proud of this yellow thing. I made her so she’ll eternally inject her cheeriness into the ugliness that I expressed in that area of the painting, and therefore into that part of me.
I feel like I’m nearing the end of my relationship with Five, as the painter; but I just don’t know how long it will take for her to be actually finished, ready to cure and then varnish. But more and more areas are starting to feel like they are most excellent as they are and it’s time to let it go and let it be.