We Are Survivors

We Are Survivors

"Cadence"

(Watercolor on Canvas)

"Everything's Blue in This World"

(Watercolor on Canvas)

"Your Aura Is Showing"

(Watercolor on Canvas)

"Washing Whispers"

(Watercolor on Canvas)

"Ascension"

(Acrylic on Wood)

Why do I make art? Because I had to do something with all this pain. I was recently asked at an art show and then subsequently reprimanded about my art being too sad. The man asked me why the faces I paint are all so somber. He told me I need to look on the bright side more, etc. I responded kindly with something along the lines of this art that I make is real. This pain and intense emotion you see and feel from these paintings are derived from real pain. A lifetime worth of anguish. He ended up buying a piece from me and didn't even try to haggle down on price. The following days I tried to blow off what he said but I couldn't. It crippled me. I understand when you put yourself out there by showing such vulnerability in your art that it will inevitably collect some criticism, constructive or otherwise, at some point. But what he said bothered me so much that I couldn't paint for a week. I found myself looking through all my paintings and realizing what he said was true. My art is sad. Very rarely are any of my paintings smiling and most of my subjects have their eyes closed or their glaze fixed upon something in the distance or avoiding eye contact. I realized that this was unintentional. When I paint whatever or whoever comes out is who comes out. I am for the most part a medium between the canvas and who ever appears in the painting. And it just so happens they are collectively sad. I also realized that his observation was proof that, if nothing else, my art is doing its job by ultimately evoking an emotional response or connection or deterrence in the viewer. My art is me keeping it real with myself. Life has been nothing but difficult for 40 years and it clearly shows that my soul is still, if not forever, heavy. At least I don't hide from that. At least I've found a way, through art, to bend into that. To bend into the pain and bring forth creativity. Each emotion my paintings display are emotions each of us have felt, whether we like to talk about it or not. We wince at these emotions because they're not fun to acknowledge, but we recognize them because they have been real to us at some level in our lives. I am going to continue to make art as long as I can, until it all closes in on me. I think what I told this man was pretty damn accurate regarding my "sad" art, "better out than in" and I'll hope to stand by that as long as I can.
Melissa Moore
Artist

About the Artist

Art is healing. It’s redeeming. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it can be soul settling. Which I believe, is a gift in itself. These things are beyond monetary pleasure, by my measure. Instead affording my energy the channels necessary to shift my focus to the all consuming study of saturating my own soul in growth. Much like a flower stretches towards the sun. Ultimately moonlighting as a soothing middle man between whoever emerges from the blank canvas and the canvas from which it emerges.

My three daughters and I have gone through hell and walked right through that fire, and are each living testaments to how possible it is to ENDURE and overcome. I wasn’t sure what to write for this, so I did some digging in my old notes and found this little nugget that I wrote to my daughters a couple years ago, post trauma. Though originally written for my daughters, I feel deeply that these words might resonate with many on endless sorts of occasions:

 

“We are of strong women. We will raise stronger women. And they will raise stronger still. We will raise, and by God, we will rise like little doves with sturdy eagle wings. We will rock and descend into unknown turbulence. And again, we will rise. Little girls, we WILL rise. We will teach our young and old alike kindness over fear. We will be gentle and tire selflessly for those who are unable to help themselves and we will not judge nor condemn the trials that lead them into the darkness. Instead, we will extend warm, embracing hands fearlessly into the deep dark sea. Not only will we rise, my girls, but we will pull others up with us. We are not the only ones. Above all be gentle to your own soul. Feed it what it longs for, and be brave enough to seek out and not settle until you find just that.

 

WE ARE SURVIVORS”

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