This painting hangs in our kitchen next to the table, and receives more comments from visitors than almost any other painting in the house. Some guests last week mentioned that they love the colors of this painting. I couldn’t resist telling them the rest of the story:
The title is “The Effects of Aging.” It’s a semi-abstract painting of a curled and shriveled autumn leaf, which I found to be quite beautiful, even with —and perhaps because of—the wrinkles and folds. I painted this with both traditional and non-traditional materials: water-soluble graphite, watercolor, and caran-dache watercolor crayons.
When I created this I was approaching a certain milestone birthday, and at the time I experienced an awakening of sorts where I realized nature is at its most beautiful when it's changing, aging, turning to its rich, fall colors and gilding everything it touches. This painting holds a symbol of the truth that a woman doesn’t shed her beauty as she ages—it grows and changes along with her, takes on a fire of its own, and is never lost.
I am learning to love my body by accepting the changes that come with both time and use. I choose to see myself as a work in progress, and each new stage as a different kind of beauty, not a loss of beauty. This new mindset has been reassuring and very liberating.
I am an artist and art instructor working in water media. Just knowing I can watch colors run together makes it worth getting out of bed every morning! Helping students capture the same excitement is equally rewarding.