Friends who have a second home in Santa Fe asked me to brighten up an old wardrobe (self-standing closet) in the guestroom of their casita. Make it colorful and funky they said. Even the mirror I ask? Yes, cover it up they replied. I sat on the bed a moment to collect myself wondering if I were up to the task of doing art for other people. How will I treat that antique raw wood on the interior? I rather like it the way it is. . .all my fears lined up in front of me and then opened a door. Sure I said. Sounds fun as I walked through to the side of I can do this and decided to accept the creative challenge. But not in the way of a typical mural or even an abstract painting. My immediate reaction was to do a child like drawing of simple flowers in the way of finger painting with elementary colors on the mirror (center). Blue, green, red, yellow. Basic. My inspiration from a panel of windows on the basement door of a friend’s house. I took photos for inspiration.
Rather than a painting per se I envisioned the project a combination of design and abstract elements. I am not a traditional painter. Nothing is exact.
And here it is important to note that the 5 year old child did a better job than I though I did my best. It isn’t easy to be five when you’re 50 something. I got too fussy, too judgmental, too much thinking, but in the end it all came together. Getting my fingers into it brought me down to the level necessary to laugh at myself and have fun. Acrylic paint allowed me to wipe it clean and start anew. Twice.
I also wanted to include text and circles but would they all work together?. It was so clear in my mind that I decided to go with it. My mind my mock-up. A trip to Lowe’s for paint samples to determine the palette. An internet search for vinyl decals in retro shapes lead me to an ee cummings poem that fit the vertical element I wanted. Single Stone Studios (Etsy) offered to customize the size to my needs and cut the circles too. Great and thank you and well here I go. Focus.
I often include text in my work as an abstract expression of identity, family secrets and the unconscious in an effort to communicate the unsaid, the forgotten, and the textural history of memory and its absence. My work is rich with symbols: buttons, thread, linens, and windows, circles and shapes. I love scratching the surface with graphite in the way of a poet per se and not a scientist. Nothing is exact. I leave much to the imagination, but in a way I hope is both revealing and inviting.
Brenda spent over 20 years in Alaska before moving to Santa Fe where she indulges her creative life by mixing media and taking photos to mark her path. Her images are published in Calyx Journal and Cirque.