This acrylic painting is my response to the quarantine of 2020 and COVID-19. My art has always been about showing the light, the love, the connection to nature, and the reflection of positive inspiration, and good in the world, and in ourselves. In a way, this painting is no different. But, this time the message is a personal one about me. I wanted to dig deeper, be vulnerable in my artwork, stretch my artistic style and voice, and use art as my form of a time capsule and journal to record this moment in my life. I welcome you, as the viewer, in.
I am not the voices in my head, I am the observer of those voices. I am strong and weak, I am hopeful and fearful. I am positive and negative. I am peace and rage. I have light and dark thoughts, and it is up to me as the observer to choose which voice is louder, the voice I listen to. These past 5 weeks have taught me. If I just keep quieting the undercurrent pulling me down, shutting out the sadness, uncertainty, the anger, she doesn't go away. She gets persistent. She is me. Two sides fighting to be louder, when really each just wants to be heard.... and is desperate to be seen. "See me!" they both cry. Look, really stop and search, and see and feel, and BE me. Be strong enough to hold the weakest part. Be hopeful that listening to the fear won't derail you. Be positive that the negative just needs to vent. Be at peace that the rage isn't all of who you are. There is no light without the dark after all. Keep the faith that you are vastly and fully surrounded by the love of your God and your Universe. In the mirror, I see both the light and the dark, but only the light can be reflected onto that chair or wall, or other human being -- the inner shadows are absorbed by me, and by others. Visit and love those shadows Julie, they get lonely too. See all of me.
I've never done a "self portrait" before now. It is a universal 'me', but is it you, too? Which parts are universal? Which woman is which?
Artwork and words (illuminated verse) by Julie Leidel 2020.