I’ve decided to share some of my (Ashley) mixed media art with you all from time to time. As I mentioned the first time I shared one with you, when your profession involves creating art inspired by and based on others it is really important to find time to create art for and of yourself. I try to do this by shooting for myself, but it also comes out in mixed media art…
About 6 months ago I read a really great biography about the life of Louisa May Alcott (her most famous work is Little Women- maybe you’ve heard of it ?) and was fascinated with her life story. She grew up surrounded by many of the great transcendentalist thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller. This crowd was among her father’s best friends. It is said that her father’s (Bronson Alcott) ideas and writings were the basis of the movement- he just could not articulate or organize himself in the way that all those around him could. While her father’s head was in the clouds (and choosing not to work based on one of his principles), Louisa’s writing was what kept her family from the ever present threat of extreme poverty. She was one resourceful, brilliant, feisty woman! I have always been struck by this one quote of hers:
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
This quote has been swimming around my mind for several months now… the past few years of my personal life have involved me learning how to navigate storms that were out of my control. I/we can not keep storms from happening to us in life. They are going to happen. But we are in complete control of how we react to them… we choose how to sail our ship through them, we choose to do the best we can.
I knew this quote, this concept, would come up for me in a mixed media piece at some point, I just needed to figure out the vision and the materials. This particular work’s materials include acrylic paint, spray paint, various paper sources, hemp, a ship, etc.
I spent a long time figuring out what the ship should be sailing on…the water… I brought back in the old book from the last mixed media I posted about, and had the ship sailing on those aged pages. This brings Louisa May Alcott back into the piece for me… she took her passion for writing, her gift with words and turned it into a very lucrative business in a time when women writers did not dream of making the money she eventually grossed. Alcott was brave and adventuresome, keeping herself and her family afloat by learning how to sail her ship while the storms raged on around her.
Thank you for allowing me to share of myself through my mixed media art.