Skin of Self-Compassion, 2017

The Impetus

You must thicken your skin, they say to us. As if it were possible to defend against the unpredictability of life.

I say forget about thick skin, if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Deer skin is just as beautiful as rhino skin, they’re just very different. Your beautiful, sensitive, vulnerable skin will recover from your battles, as long as you can acknowledge your suffering with self-compassion. Then it will open like a flower and show its hidden gift. As will your joy.

Venturing out to explore what it means to love myself in everyday life, everywhere I go, I encounter skin. Being loved by a good man, I know, being touched, nestling close, skin to skin, is what creates this creature-like intimacy experience. Being a maturing woman my outer skin goes through changes all the time. The texture, the elasticity, the feel, the layer of my skin is changing.

My other boundaries are also changing in ways essential to my being in the world, the way my inner skin meets the demands and gifts of being human.

In my paintings I keep working on the skin of them, knowing the changes in texture keep within them the hologram of all experience, tangibly, in a way that can be felt in the breath as a smooth flow, or a sudden catch or the intake of a deep and joyous aaaah.

Exploration

To love yourself is abstract. It is abstract enough to easily become very materialistic, as in: I bought myself this bag/motorcycle/lunch/article of clothing, because I love myself, because I’m worth it. Or then it can become perfectionistic, an achievement almost; because I love myself I eat like this, move like that, meditate these many times a day…

None of these examples give you the experience of being loved. This is what I set out to explore. The experience of feeling loved by myself. This was when I stumbled upon self-compassion, which is the act of showing ourselves compassion with whatever it is that may be going on inside & outside of us.

For me, the fastest way to feel loved is through my skin. A caress, soft clothes, a bath, water in any form… So these two things started to combine in my head. What if self-compassion could be a skin, a skin we could wear in all situations of our lives. As close as our skin, as flexible, as soft.

What you see in these paintings are the expressions of the skin of self-compassion in different situations. When Trump was elected president in Ring of Fire, the discussions with my estranged alcoholic Mom in Beyond Imagination, getting lost in Edinborough, time and time again, while taking a workshop in how to love myself.

 

2016 - Skin of self-compassion.

Named by customer.

120×80 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015.

Permission to get lost

(be engrossed, rapt, off-course, wandering, bewildered, uncertain, spacey, out-of-date, adrift, woolgathering, dazzled.)

Mixed media on linen canvas, 160x160cm.

Ode to My Lungs

145x140cm mixed media on cotton canvas, 2015.

Ring of Fire

Mixed media on linen canvas, 140x160cm, 2016.

Beyond Imagination

Mixed media on linen canvas, 160×140 cm, 2017.

The Present Is My Point of Power

80x100x5cm, mixed media on deep edge cotton canvas, 2016.

Phoenix

Mixed media on linen canvas, 130x130cm, 2017.

I Exist!

Mixed media on linen canvas 89×116 cm, 2016.

AND.

Mixed media on linen canvas,160x160cm,  2016.

You promised me a rose garden.

Mixed media on linen canvas, 55x50cm, 2017.

You are my rose.

Mixed media on cotton canvas, 60x50cm, 2017.

The time for masks is over.

Mixed media on canvas, 100x60cm, 2017.

Step by step Darling.

Mixed media on canvas 40x30cm.

Love is love is love is love.

Mixed media on canvas, 92x71cm, 2017.

Jewel.

Mixed media on linen canvas 73x61cm, 2017.

Finding the edge of separation.

Mixed media on canvas, 80x60cm, 2017.

Call it the land of angels.

Mixed media on canvas, 80x60cm, 2017.

Bride.

Mixed media on linen canvas, 135x74cm, 2017.

Body. Awake.

Mixed media on deep edge cotton canvas, 80x60cm, 2015.

All woman.

Mixed media on linen canvas, 135x74cm, 2017.

Blessing in disguise.

Mixed media on canvas, 80x60cm, 2017.