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"Scars" On My Paintings

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Did you know that one of the more difficult tasks that every artist encounters is starting their painting? There is something about tainting a perfectly smoothe, untouched, pristine canvas that makes us want to leave it that way. But my tuition dollars taught me to put my canvas on the autumn ground and throw dirt and leaves on it, maybe some coffee because, well, if you have to destroy perfection, you might as well have some fun with it. Once all that is done, then you can struggle with fine tuning your skills on your piece. But I find that this can be said with more than one thing. Many people are hesitant about their first tattoo, and then within a year they might have a sleeve covered. It's always the beginning that's tough. We only worry about our skills later.

Being an abstract artist did not always come naturally to me. Every time I tried it during studio classes, my teachers would try to pin my artwork to a specific category. I had not developed my palette knife approach yet and I was simply... lost. What I was able to figure out was that I did like playing around with geometric shapes, in an abstract manner. My teachers however felt the need to explain that a clean edge was necessary. If not, the imperfection would be too distracting from the rest of the artwork. At the time, I did not have that skill either nor did I understand how to own that imperfection.

Let me give an example.

I created a painting during my first year of Cegep. It was a good representation of my skills at the time but as I grew as an artist, it lost its appeal to me. So, instead of wasting a canvas and feeling as though 30+ hours of work would go down the drain, I decided to scrap the painting and re-use it. Now, the proper way to continue this method would be to ideally sand down the canvas, gesso over it, and continuously do these two steps a few times to make a smoother surface once again. As you have probably guessed, I never adopted this "proper method".

Instead, I used the texture underneath the painting as a continued story. For me, it is like having a scar on your body. Everyone has some sort of scar, and most people try to cover them up but that does not make them any less part of you. I remember having a certain hairstyle for years to cover up the scar I have on my forehead after running into a glass table. But now, I have learned to look where I am going.

All of this to say, having these marks be part of your new beginnings shows a different type of resilience to me. I see a choice in this beauty, whether it is the choice to heal, the choice to overcome, or the choice to learn and keep moving forward. That is why I believe that the underlying texture for these paintings is an addition to its overall beauty.

Valor, 2020 Marika Madimenos

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