I had a canvas with various layers of paint and collage. I would look at it periodically, wanting to do something with it, but it did not speak to me.
The other day, I looked at it, picked up a paintbrush, dipped it in paint, and a face emerged.
She sat for a few days. On Saturday, my stencils from Stencil Club - the wonderful creation of MaryBeth Shaw - arrived. Every month, members receive 3 stencils - a 9 x 12, a 6 x 6, and a 4 x 4, which are designed to relate to one another. The designing artist also creates a video demonstrating ways to use them -- all for only $25 a month.
The December stencils were designed by MaryBeth, and were all about the winter solstice. As I turned the larger stencil around, inspiration grabbed me. I mixed Glass Bead Gel and gold mica powder and made a paste. I dragged it through the large stencil. Held one way, the stencil is of tree branches. Held another way, it looked like cracked glass. My lady was breaking through things that were holding her back. I wrote: "looking into the future she decided in an act of sheer defiance that she would have hope."
The medium stencil has the phases of the moon. I added that to my canvas, and used a circle punch with a gelli print to create circles that would echo the stencil.
The 4 x 4 stencil has stars and swirls, which I used in my lady's hair.
With the winter solstice, my lady is looking at the world around her to find beauty in the wreckage, hope in the despair. Just as the spring will defy the winter as the days get brighter again, she stares into 2014 with defiance, daring to hope that the world can be a better, more peaceful, place.
Four years ago this season, I was making twice daily trips to the hospital in Newark, as my friend Sharon lay in a coma, having contracted viral pneumonia after a round of debilitating chemo treatments for breast cancer. On December 26, it was my responsibility to authorize the doctors to remove her life support. I held her in my arms as she took her last breaths. Although I have opened myself to the joys of this season, I remember Sharon and think of her children, who she loved so much and of whom she would be so proud. I feel as though some of Sharon came through this canvas to remind me that we must always look forward with defiance and hope.
Wishing you all many blessings of the season. I am designing the stencils for January - so I hope you'll check out Stencil Club and consider signing up. If you do, you'll be able to purchase past month's stencils as well.
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