Beauty from an “Outsider’s” Viewpoint
I have been working hard in the studio lately to crank out as many paintings as I can before leaving for Hong Kong at the end of the month.Â However, the pressure has been getting to me.Â I want to create these beautiful little portraits – breath prayers – pictures of my prayers for my wife’s relatives.Â I hope that people find these small paintings beautiful.
However, I am well aware that what is beautiful to me, mayÂ not be the same as what is beautiful to them.Â Â Most recently I have been quite taken withÂ accurately depicting traditional Chinese hairstyles.Â I look at the way that women piled up their hair in all these elaborate shapes … they look so beautiful, so sculptural.Â IÂ make attempt after attempt, only to start over and over again.Â It is hard toÂ re-construct something from a few fuzzy black-and-white photographs or a few good drawings.Â
Once in a while I wonder why I am so taken with re-creating the images of these beautieful styles of the past … especially as an outsider to the culture.Â Â Of course, I think my wife is beautiful, and that may be part of it.Â I am also wondering if there is something more, something deeper that I connect with.Â Maybe it is the sense of quietÂ and attention to detail that holds my imagination.Â Maybe it is because of the way I imagine their lives to have been, often socially isolated andÂ far from their childhood homes.Â Or maybe it is a combination of both of these – beauty coming from suffering.Â
Regardless there is something that I am connecting with that I cannot explain.Â I only hope that I can capture some sense of this beauty in my own work.