When Jacqueline sent over an interview with Toronto-based artist Judith Geher, I was instantly taken by the details of her brushstrokes, the curved lines on the canvas. But what struck me the most was the subject itself: strictly female, full of vivid movement and wild expectations. Women like Judith herself.
“The world of beauty, especially the female face, is fascinating to me,” Judith writes. “I think it’s because it’s something that I can relate to, something that I wish I could be. I like the idea of transformation, but I’m at odds with the idea of artifice in my work. Sometimes I want to get rid of the flourishes and scribbly bits, but then I feel like that is what is beautiful to me.”
It’s this very idea – art in the imperfect, beauty in the details – that gives me such inspiration in my personal life. By releasing the expectation of perfection, we are left with a canvas to paint upon. To appreciate and progress and learn and grow, ready to start anew the next day. Without perfection, there can be no completion. There is no end goal – leaving plenty of room for play, painting our lives with colored hues of better, not best.
It’s a philosophy that Judith ascribes to in her life, as well. “I kind of love mostly everything that I make,” she writes. “I mean there are duds and unsuccessful pieces of course, but each thing build upon the next. Failures are as important as the successes that’s when you know you are pushing the boundaries and figuring out something new. I guess for me its all a work in progress, never ending really.”
Because whether we’re painting or studying, reading or writing, it’s always a work in progress. Our beliefs and feelings and emotions and reactions – we’re continually refining and transforming and backsliding, hoping that we’ll end up a little closer to B than A.
But oh, there are times when we’d rather be A. Where we aim to experience rebirth, rather than death – a starting point instead of a finish line. And I suppose that’s the beautiful thing about life – it’s a series of circles, not lines, isn’t it? A continuous spiral, cycling around and around until we reach a new point of view, a new dot to spiral from.
Judith said something really beautiful in her interview about her own artistic process, something that applies to so much more than paint and art and beauty. It’s about transformation, really – the transformation that I’m going through this year in redefining the life I want to live. The transformation that you might be going through as well, whether in the midst of a career change or relationship shift or general discomfort, heaviness from the day-to-day everything.
She writes, “When I begin to paint, I have a pencil drawing, an armature of sorts, on the wood. Then I get into it, and start buffing and scribbling and spackle-ing, transforming what is already there, through my own frenetic vision. The artifice begins when I go too far and add another layer of marks and daubs and scribbles that were never there in the first place. Sometimes I feel as though the process of transforming the person begins with wanting to bring out an innate beauty, between me and the subject, to then overloading it, almost covering it up. I think that transformation is a natural process, and perhaps I just don’t need all the extra stuff. Yet I do keep piling it on, so I guess I just love it.”
I feel like I’m in a constant state of covering and uncovering, overloading and unloading in my head and on paper and in my own daily life. I’m torn between A and B and stop and go – more and less. And I’m realizing that it’s absolutely normal, artistic even. It’s the real and true and authentic design for mankind.
And it’s entirely, utterly, beautifully OK.
Image Credits: Judith Geher