"Such as Her" 16x20. Acrylic on Canvas. Sold.
Inspiration: Aaron Shilker's "Girl with Guitar"
Model: Actress and Musician, Rebekah Pusey
Snack Eaten: Cheez-Its
Listened To: The Silver Lining Playbook, Matthew Quick and "Such as I", Rebekah Pusey
So my husband and I are binge watchers. In fact, I think the whole idea of just watching one show at a time and having to wait a week for the story to continue is for suckers and hobos. It is surreal to me that it was the norm at one point. (Am I right???)
Recently, we binge watched Showtime's Ray Donovan. In it, there was this painting by Aaron Shikler, Girl with Guitar. (The late Shikler is most famous for his portrait of JFK.) The painting was a focal point for several episodes. The painting and the story surrounding it, captivated me. (Spoiler alert!!) It was the beautiful painting that tortured Ray was drawn to because it reminded him of his guitar playing daughter with whom he had a strained relationship. The gallery owner/his mistress/mob connection gave it to him. Of course Ray's wife hated it (I mean who doesn't hate expensive gifts from your husband's lover????). So when she tried to pawn it for money, they discovered that not only was the painting worth a lot of money, but that it housed thousands of dollars of heroin in the frame. It was beauty and destruction in one. What had angered his wife later became the family's path to safety. (I won't tell you why--watch the show.) I knew instantly that I wanted to paint something like that. Not like the pastel on board masterpiece so much, but the crazy story surrounding the painting on the show.
Then I remembered I had a beautiful niece who played the guitar. She recently released her first single, "Such As I". Her haunting voice is somewhere between Florence Welch and Kelsea Ballerini and sings of being past redemption, of the tole of addiction to the family of an addict, of trauma and shame and hope and longing for home. For me, as someone who has struggled with anxiety and parents three kids with traumatic pasts and loves her share of addicts, the song haunts me.
Plus, it is super awesome to be able to speak into your phone and say "Siri, play my niece's music" and have her say, "Here is music by Rebekah Pusey." (This is where I must interject not as an artist and just as her aunt and say "OH MY FREAKING GOSH, Y'ALL! SHE IS SO FLIPPING TALENTED!!!! She is only 17. When I was 17 I was stalking a boy named Al Murphy and thinking my skinny self was fat.)
I used a photograph taken by the talented Molly Scott as a reference. Remembering the wise words of my artist mentor/teacher/friend and extraordinary watercolorist Donna Campbell Allen, "You're a painter. Not an illustrator. Paint it how you want." And so I did.