Once babies start moving... and biting and screeching, I think that's when they become toddlers. I've been kind of dormant on here because I'm chasing this fucking adorable rugrat around. As she is running around more she's tuckering out more and naps more... which means Mom gets to paint.
Here's a little sneak peak of what I'm working on.
They're not finished.
I'm fortunate to be part of a group showing this July at The Morris Burner Hostel. Alongside many other talented artists I will be painting my version? rendition? feeling baby centering around the theme of Medusa. I had forgotten about the show completely until a month ago when Jackie Dilworth reminded me of it--thank goodness.
Thank goodness for this show.
Just.... thank thank thank goodness.
Because of this show I am painting through some emotional baggage I've left bottled up for way too long.
Our stories, Medusa and mine, much like this painting, entwine.
You see, Medusa wasn't born vile. She was normal. Just a mortal Gorgon chillin. She was capable of death, capable of pain, and susceptible to life. She was a beautiful maiden. Medusa used to be a babe. She was so beautiful that Poseidon desired her... desired her so much that he raped her in the temple of Athena. Athena, pissed that her temple had been desecrated, cursed Medusa into being a hideous, snake hair'd monster who turned men to stone with her gaze. Athena cursed her and the world hunted her down for it.
I had no idea of Medusa's lineage, her narrative, or her rape.
I, too, have been assaulted in the temple of a goddess.
I, too, have been punished for this assault by banishment and emotional scarlet letterhood.
I, too, have paid a great price and have been contorted by the weight of action and repercussion.
I, too, have an assaulter who roams free as the sea.
I, too, have worn this face, this hair, this weight.
I, too, have looked into the mirror of myself and seen it's hideousness as well as it's mortality.
So I'm painting it. Well, I'm attempting to... Medusa and I are one in this freeing moment of self-realization. Caravaggio's Medusa has always been my favorite--androgynous, reactionary, revolted, and emptying. Her mouth agape, jaw locked in sound and rage and darkness. Caravaggio captured the exact moment where Medusa catches her own reflection, catches her own gaze, catches her own death.
Through the creation of this painting, I'm allowing this incident to die.
Through the three eyes of us, we see and recognize, we give in and succumb, and we will be reborn.
So.... folks, I haven't been doodling. I haven't been lollygagging, futzing, or forgetting.
I've been digging and digging and digging.
I've been dreaming and letting go and rebuilding.
I've been making something beautiful out of the present from the past.
I've been recreating myself every time I lift a paint brush.
I'll post a finished image when I'm through.
Last August I was fortunate enough to create a phenomenal memory.
My girl was there and my wonderful Mother was there and all these other wonderful Mothers and their little Petunias and Ashlee... and Flowers.
Creator, artist, Mother, photographer, space holder, Ashlee Dean Wells passed through Reno on her amazing photography tour collecting, promoting, and working with Mothers for her 4th Trimester Bodies Project. Dean describes the purpose of her project as follows:
The project exists because humans, particularly women, are judged too crudely on the way we look and are often told we don’t measure up. Because no real person can compete with the tools in Photoshop and glossy magazine covers. And because parenthood is sacred and should be celebrated.
So basically holy shit this is amazing, right?
How could I pass up an opportunity to participate in something so needed, so revolutionary, so powerful?? So community? So body positive? So necessary??
Ashlee herself is a fierce artist and delicious soul. Well spoken and sincere, she welcomed all participants of the day to sit in an circle and open up. Mothers of all walks were there, Mothers of all struggles, denominations, stories, and paths and they all had this wild thing called 'childbirth' in common.
For those who can afford, the photos and time and session did cost an absolutely reasonable amount money. I applied for and was awarded a scholarship to participate. This alone blew my mind. The fact that there were gifted/donated spots in her photography session set aside for struggling Mothers.... endeared me right away to this woman and her art.
Participants were allowed to bring along a fellow helper to help wrangle child as necessary so naturally I brought my Mom. Considering that without her love and support there would be no We, I thought it was fitting. Plus, she's my main Mama, my buddy, my rock--she's in this story as it's happened AND being written.
So of course.
And share we did, each person and partner was welcomed to tell the tale of how their Motherhood came to be and it was enlightening and powerful. Birthing trauma, infant loss, marital struggles, family issues--we all had our share of weight. We all have our share of disappointments and triumphs when it comes to upgrading into Motherhood and to be able to sit in a safe, loving, and open space and share and support was priceless.
We all were struggling to fit in this new role of Mother emotionally and physically.
And that's why we were there.
To document, to prove, to witness, to see.
To be photographed, to be remembered, to embrace and support.
To love ourselves, love our bodies, and love our kiddos.
I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be able to participate. The photos came out phenomenal.
Keep an eye out for Ashlee and check her tour dates to see if she's coming to a city near you. Congratulations to her and Flowers on their newest addition xo
Click around on her website and donate.
When you’re a working artist, maternity leave doesn’t exist. Help a Mama out.
Below are links to Ashlee's magic--have a look yourself:
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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