The words “Happy Valentine’s Day” were virtually everywhere last week. And in every image…hearts! This reminded me of a special art piece I did for a painting class. It was done in a style called “Cliché/Kitsch” that Celia, my teacher, had encouraged us to depict. I used a magenta coloured wrapping paper with a heart-shape pattern as an inspiration, and a photo of myself in a blue wig, which I took for my Contemporary Art History class. For that art history project, I’d worn a few different wigs and tried out some funky hair styles. Then I made all sorts of expressions on my face and took photos from every angle. I ended up using one of them for my ‘Kitsch-style painting’. So in this painting, the subject is wearing a shiny blue wig, face adorned with a childishly playful smile. I surprised myself – is that me?
The 14″ x 11″ painting was finished fairly quickly – within two hours – with acrylic and gel medium on wood board. I had borrowed the bright blue and permanent rose acrylics from Luba. I left the original wood surface as the girl’s skin tone, and scraped out the heart shapes in the background with a knife. In the end, I sprinkled glitter powders onto the blue wig and painted the girl’s nails with real bright yellow nail polish, borrowed from my daughter. When it was finished, I thought it portrayed the Kitsch aesthetic quite well, and I was happy when others seemed to love it! No wonder Kitsch was able to become a unique style of art – who said that art had to be conventionally ‘classy’ and hard to understand?
In light of the ‘Valentine season’, I have dug into the old memories of this blue-wigged lady, and have recalled a verse of an old song that I wanted to share with you. It is sung by John Denver, called “Perhaps Love”, in which he ponders upon the idea of ‘love’ and its many sides…
Oh, love to some is like a cloud To some as strong as steel For some a way of living For some a way to feel And some say love is holding on And some say letting go And some say love is everything And some say they don’t know
This song reminds me of how I feel that love can be a mixture of all different kinds of tastes and colours, just like sweets in candy store, which, during this month, all seem to be in the shape of a heart. And so, I have called this painting “Sweet Heart”.