Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Figurehead - Breast Cancer Awareness - Mixed Media

"The Figurehead"
Terah Ware

Among the series of paintings in "Forever Strong Womanhood", their is "The Figurehead".  A painting that is more than what we view for pleasure, but an illustration that transcends a message of courage.

I remember sitting on my knees on the floor of my studio, practically on top of my painting that had slowly come to life over a period of three years.  The background had been completed and I knew that it was time for the next layer of information...

A woman who conveyed strength and yet displayed sorrow.

Images came rolling in my mind and the thought of my Great Grandmother appeared.  I knew that this piece would be different from the rest, a personal gesture that would linger for all women. 

I imagined myself as my Great Grandmother, Lula Irene Koontz, during the end of her life.  She was succumbing to breast cancer in her home and was surrounded by family and friends.  I felt her courage during the illness and the sweet acceptance of passing.

How could I illustrate this?  How could I put these emotions for you to see?  How could I capture that strength?

My hands became swift and I began to render with pastel the beautiful face.  The downward look, the glance towards the compass.  A symbolic gesture that she is looking for direction.  Bare breasted and vulnerable, she has been exposed...maybe revealed.  The painting is not complete without the opened pocket watch.  My mind reeled with imagery and symbolism.  I wanted the viewer to feel the pain.  I wanted to create an image that showed the breast removed.  I wanted people to see that breast cancer is not just a disease.

One of the most profound interpretations that was presented to me gave me goose bumps.

As she had tears in her eyes, she said, "Time is running out."  ~ Dr. Cee Ann Davis

As an artist, I believe that I succeed with a work of art if...only makes you feel something.  If you remember something or that it touches your heart.

~ Terah

To view more paintings from her series,
"Forever Strong Womanhood".


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