Painted myself at 2AM last night as a meditative process. I’m trying to let myself paint how I want to paint, I’m trying to listen to the paint and work with what happens instead of forcing what I make into something that it’s not going to be. I’m trying to respond to what is there with interest and curiosity instead of judging and criticising half formed, newly gestating things. I’m trying to do the same with myself, striving to no longer criticise myself for being what I am not and instead work with what I am.
I’ve always used my art and the erotica that I make elsewhere (and am not sharing here, nor linking to) as a means of self expression to combat patriarchy and male gaze by claiming ownership and autonomy over my own image. It’s fraught. It’s endless. Sometimes it’s profoundly boring and I feel like I want to stop painting bodies and just paint landscapes and plants and animals. I’m tired of people, I think. We’re in a climate and ecological emergency and all I really want to do is fight for life on this planet and show my love for all the other forms of life that we are in the process of perhaps losing forever.
And then it winds back around to this body. This body which is a real thing, not a fantasy nor an inert object that can or should be owned by anyone but me. The human right to body sovereignty is an issue that touches upon colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism… all the systems that try to control and own nature are the same systems that try to deny my right to bodily autonomy be it through sexual expression or self representation (the evidence is out there that social media is profoundly detrimental to girl’s mental health and to me it’s no coincidence that social media censors women who try to fight this) and so I realise that our personal fights to love our bodies and no longer be complicit in systems of abuse, dominance and violence are deeply intwined with eco activism and the need to battle abuse, dominance and control on all levels.
The earth is my body and my body is the earth. I want to work with both these things in a loving and mutually beneficial relationship of symbiosis and reciprocal care. So I learn to paint how works for me, I learn to listen to the paint and let it follow the movement of my arm and the shapes of my form, I learn to listen to my body, I learn to listen to the earth. I learn that to love and respect myself and to love and respect the earth are one and the same.