“The ghost of self”… is this a good title for this painting?
Sometimes as I create a painting it can go through changes, it’s meaning can grow in my mind throughout the process. This can be a process of self-exploration, communicating with my subconscious, interpreting the painting’s messages through the feelings it evokes or the direction it takes.
Normally I get to the point where I know there’s nothing else it needs, and even if I don’t or can’t verbalise it’s meanings I understand them. With this painting I feel as though the painting is finished but perhaps the process isn’t. There are a few possible reasons for this.
I have had a few more forced breaks between painting sessions than usual… ones where I’ve had to focus a lot on completely unrelated considerations, that probably disrupted the processing. It’s also possible that this isn’t a subject that can be fully explored in one painting… or possibly in a lifetime! So I thought I’d try verbalising my thoughts on it’s meanings to see if it clarifies anything.
It started with a focus on movement that conveys feeling, in the way that dance and drama communicates across the distance of the audience. Particularly dance, conveying meanings/feelings succinctly without words, and the Tango which is a dance of love, passion and pain. I think the feel of the Tango is significant to what the painting conveys about love, but the woman is depicted alone. There is a longing, and reaching out to someone, an offering… a rose. However, what is really being offered? Love, or the complete self, blindly, careless of the cost? A sense that nothing else matters, a romantic illusion of love, of passion. A hint of being trapped within a fantasy, before reality hits… or have the thorns of reality already bitten deeply, yet regardless of pain, or more tightly bound because of it, she continues to appeal to love. She has lost herself.
Perhaps the painting feels unresolved because whatever experience teaches me, there is still a part of myself that wants to believe in love, or perhaps needs to believe it’s possible. With or without it’s romantic connotations. Perhaps ‘The ghost of self’ is not so much about the loss of self in love, but the mourning or denial of this belief. To loose belief in love is perhaps a greater loss, than to loose yourself in love or experience pain. Binding yourself in disbelief or fear.