Here is my latest accomplishment—a still life painting that my husband set up and titled, but I of course, took the last 10 months to paint. Those were not active 10 months, mind you. I’m not that slow. I was just terribly apathetic and ambivalent about the concept of this piece. I briefly touched on it in an earlier post: https://amaranthiarts.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/no-luck-of-the-draw/
Even after completing this, I was displeased. After much persuasion by the inspiration for this work, I’ve settled on being pretty dang proud of it, enough so that I will be entering it into a magazine competition. Do I expect to win? No, but as a coworker told me the other day, You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play. (I am playing the Illinois Lottery once a week, incidentally, but not winning. Theory and anecdote are both compelling, but rarely the twain shall meet.)
My ambivalence, as it turned out, was due to the conflict over owning the process from start to finish. Basically, this is not a still life I conceived. I pride myself in my original, and dare I say, unique, ideas. But this time, I just painted what I saw. It was my interpretation and I took some license, but still. I was (painfully) reminded of a story that my husband and I are currently working on for an idea I created. Does that dilute his involvement, to the point that he will feel detached from the final product, thus not proud of his contribution? That would be a resounding ‘No.’
After being presented that irrefutable argument, I had no choice but to accept the consequences. I had to paradoxically set my ego aside for admitting my specious feelings to allow myself to be proud of my achievement. And it was a bit uncomfortable at first, but I’ve come to terms with the possibility that I pulled this one off.
As for the premise, it is up for interpretation. It has an obvious mafia theme to it. Note the double entendre with the Latin title. I debated between painting the skull an actual bone color and how the object actually was (it was a plaster cast of a skull), and decided to keep it white, similar to bleached bone. My work at times can gravitate towards pathos, macabre, and other equally fun emotions and states of mind. I haven’t figured out why that is. But, that is a conversation for another time.