In the mirror a strange face watched as she carefully smeared a creamy liquid over her face. Its gaze followed her as she prudently curled and pinned her hair. It gawked when she rouged her cheeks and smudge a pink tint across her lips. She no longer recognized her own reflection. What she did see was a hauntingly sullen face, distorted and lifeless.
Bethany rushed from the classroom to the restroom. There, along with a half a dozen other girls in the crowded, room, she checked her reflection in the mirror. The mirrors reflected the images of six or so girls staring intently on themselves, blue and white tiles behind them. The taller girls filled the upper portion of the mirror and the couple of shorter filled the bottom. Bethany stared at herself. Her face quickly deformed to a look of worry as she pulled out her cosmetics and began adjusting. The other girls did the same. The mirror gazed on at them as they all began to poke and prod themselves, trying to fix impurities, blind to any eye. Bethany finally content with her appearance, left the room, complete with a new layer of gauzy material on her face.
She came back only once more later that day. She stared again in to the glass. Reflected to her was a girl, same height as herself, with carefully curled brown hair, fair completion and piecing emerald eyes. However, in the deceptive glass of the mirror her reflection was distorted and fragmented in to a girl, too short, with falling curls, a ghostly complexion and dull olive green eyes. In the misleading glass of the mirror her eyes appeared too big for her face, her nose to long her lips to small. Slight blemishes resurfaced as she meticulously examined the reflection. Again, she recovered her cosmetics, and went about freshening up her appearance. Two girls had followed Bethany in to the washroom and were too deceived by the looking glass. One girl saw herself two sizes larger than she truly was; another could only concentrate on her freckled face, as she relentlessly tried to conceal them beneath a skin tone cream that oozing around her face. The mirror taunted the girls and again, they did their best to fix their fictitious impurities.
Finally the school day had come to an end and Bethany returned to her home. Later that night however, she had to face the harshest mirror of all. Alone in her room, she sat on her vanity stool, and stared in to the mirror. The mirror taunted her as it showed her reflection mutilated and distorted to expose the undiscovered flaws and emphasise quirks. The girl staring out of the mirror had hair of a mousy colour, flat and thin extending from her head. Her complexion was deathly pale, the once green were discoloured; now brown and sunken in. Tired bags emerged underneath the sullen sockets. Her nose protruded and expanded over the small and thin, pale pink lips. A single tear escaped from her right eye, it became the only unvarnished object reflected from the glass. Closing her eyes, Bethany felt its slow travel down her cheek, leaving a glinting salty path as the warm liquid moved to her jawbone. There it fell to her collar, and she felt it pool in the crevasses of bone. Opening her eyes once more, the monster in the mirror, still there watched at her. Bethany turned away, as warm water polled in her eyes. At least, the monster could not taunt her if she did not look.
The next day she hid from the mirrors, fearful to see what version of herself might lie within the glass. She ducted out of sight of mirrors, and even windows that might reflect back to her a haunting rendition of herself. She could not help but feel unease, trying to reassure herself that she was not the girl the mirror reflected. She jittered nervously as s waited for the day to end. Everywhere she went, she saw all eyes on her, as she wondered what impurity had surfaced.
Finally the sluggish day came to an end, and Bethany rushed home, to her room. She sat in front of her mirror, with a stubborn determination, urging it to show her, her reflection. She stared severely at it. However, she could not recognise the face that emerged. Unexpectedly, the mirror presented a girl unlike she had seen before; she had brown wavy hair, large emerald eyes, a fair complexion, a long thin nose and soft pink lips that curved in to an almost smile. Then has Bethany contorted her face to a smile as she began to laugh, so did the girl in the mirror. That was her.
Happy Earth Day! I created this piece to celebrate Earth Day. Nature and all its glories are beautiful, and so many artists have been inspired by natures colours, patterns, and forms. On Earth Day, I am grateful to have access to expansive natural land, fresh air and fresh water.
Girl and Herself
Painting this piece offered me an escape from the mundane to a place of creative experimentation. This piece is my visual response to my understanding of the Abstract Expressionism movement. I soon discovered the movement to center on the human experience, profound emotion and creative innovation. Beginning this piece spurred an anxious excitement being that it was my first experience with oil paint. Later in the process I got a feel for the paint, and found the brush dancing around the canvas, revealing to me the colourful and incredibly chaotic exterior. I experimented with different brush strokes, colour and even built the confidence to use a scratching technique. The expressionist essentially reinvented American Art during the movement, using unprecedented scale, non-traditional techniques and tools in experimental ways; I tried to mirror their artistic freedom and discoveries with my own.
I had a strong desire to embed parts of the human body within my piece as a representation of the human condition; a topic explored by the abstract expressionist movement. The deeply expressive art of this movement reveals a great deal about the artist to the viewer. To capture this relationship, my idea behind the main subject, the girl, was to depict a person in their most vulnerable form and reveal her through the painting. The girl contrasts the busy exterior in both colour and style, an attempt to create a divide from her and the exterior, which I used as a means to explore a more “abstract” style. The main subject, looking forward hides her face to allow the chaotic exterior to reveal the chaos within the girl and within her emotion. In the bottom right corner, beneath a white screen of paint is a blue heart, only visible in shape, reflecting back to the theme of emotional expression.
During my Spring Break, I had the most amazing opportunity to visit Project Somos, a children’s village in Guatemala. There, the group of us, were able to provide help in many different ways; from making bricks, to painting buildings, digging dirt, varnishing the wood playground, grouting, working in the kitchen, making lamps and even painting rocks.
One afternoon, I volunteered to paint rocks. Why were we painting rock? The intention was to make the rocks into toys for the children, to play with in their sand box. I painted some of the rocks in the pictures below. The blue car in this photo is one of the rocks I painted. As I painted it, I hoped that the children would recognize this irregularly shaped blue object as a car, but I had little proof, until the last day. On the last day, the children came from their houses to where we stayed, and one of the children, Kenny, little Kenny, picked up the blue car, recognized it to be a car and began moving it across the floor. It filled me with incredible joy to see Kenny play with the rock I painted, and to see the rock could bring Kenny joy.
Currently Reading: “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger.
Currently Listening to: “I’m on Fire,” Bruce Springsteen