Women Painting Women - Sublimating the Imperfect

"Beauty Is Not Perfection, It Is Sublimating the Imperfect" - Helene Delmaire

I loved this article over at Combustus featuring the artist Helene Delmaire from France interviewed by the talented writer Deanna Elaine Piowaty. She writes:

"To make oneself vulnerable, to “bare” ourselves to those beyond our comfortable circle of trusted friends and family, to share of our fragile interior beyond what is whispered in the dead of night to the love of our life…to take this chance even as we know the risks: Truly, is there anything more courageous? More achingly beautiful? And isn’t that what we ask of artists? What we depend upon them to deliver?"*
"Emerse yourself in Love"  WORK IN PROGRESS | OIL ON WOOD | 36X40 | Heather Shirin

"Emerse yourself in Love" WORK IN PROGRESS | OIL ON WOOD | 36X40 | Heather Shirin

My eyes start to tear-up. You see, I somtimes paint women with women. It's a difficult subject matter to sell, and I continue to get flack from friends and family who honestly wonder "why don't you just paint landscapes?!"... but painting Art Novueau portraits of women is what my heart wants to do. To fight against disgriminating views. I have had bigotry released onto me when I paint something I believe to be so beautiful, and full of love.

I know I am painting intimate settings between women, and I see it as the romance of best friends, the closeness of lovers, or the dedicated unbreakable bonds of Sisters. I paint for the freedom of speech, and more than anything I paint for the freedom to marry whom you love. I feel like a rebel with a cause, with something to say, but afraid all the time to say it. I want to be brave, have that courageous heart Deanna describes. 

Married to the love of my life Paul, people always question my sexuality. It doesn't bother me, I think women are beautiful. This is about doing something to pave the way - so that others can consider what it is I do is beautiful too. 

Kimlt, "girlfriends"

Kimlt, "girlfriends"

Gustav Klimt - (a huge influence), painted women with women, and he is now famous for being a womanizer. He also has the highest valued paintings in the world!

"Nevertheless, he was a womaniser with uncalculated conquests and seven known children. No wonder Vienna buzzed with gossip about what, besides painting, went on in the studio beyond. Yet among all the photographs of the rather pudding-faced artist in the exhibition, not one captures what made him such a lady-killer."**

"I am not a womanizer" I think to myself. "I am a Feminist!" I google this to be certain. "Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common stated aim: to define, establish, and defend equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women." says Wikipedia. I agree, I am a Feminist. I desire the United states Supreme Court to pass a universal law that makes Marriage Equality legal in all 50 states. It's coming. I am excited. I cried when my home state of North Carolina passed the legalization, I thought it would be another 20 years or more!

Nude I – work in progress | oil on wood | 36x30cm | Helene Delmaire

Nude I – work in progress | oil on wood | 36x30cm | Helene Delmaire

"But a thing of creative beauty doesn’t have to simply offer us a distracting side trip: it can actually serve as the roadmap itself.  A curious set of hieroglyphics scratched on the wall of our co-traveler’s life, a clue to the caverns another has spelunked down into, the treasures and monsters they’ve found within, and what might be waiting still for us when it is our turn to make that beautiful-terrible journey."*

Deanna Elaine Piowaty wrote something I hadn't quite grabbed completely before, what I was painting was really important. It was a voice of many. Helene Delmaire painted these figures, Nude 1, together, and Denna never questions her sexuality or motivation behind two women together.

What mattered to her was the expression of feminity and vulnerability:

"Helene, the vulnerability you are able to convey in your artworks is phenomenal. And yet without any hint of powerlessness. This is vulnerability in all of its potent beauty. Femininity as a source of strength, creation, renewal." *

"Femininity as a source of strength". I loved this. It's perfect. I paint women for many reasons. I adore the process, from beginning to end and all the tangents inbetween. But mostly I just see the beauty of the model's soul. Women emit emotion. I relate to their feelings and paint what I am reacting to within the photo that captured this to begin with, this something...its a look of reflecting the 'fragile interior'. 

As I release new more women with other women themed work, and I am not certain how to make my viewers see what I see, but it's a challenge I am willing to take on. I fight for the right to paint whatever I want, and to celebrate love in all it's forms. I think my work is beautiful, and that is all that matters.


* Author Deanna Elaine Piowaty from Combustus interview of artist Helene Delmaire
** From 
"A lover of women" on the economist.