I’ve been exploring this idea in my studio the past few weeks; The Artist’s Heart is markedly different from the hearts of others. This is not a judgment call. I’m not saying in any way that artists’ hearts are better (or worse) than people who are say, doctors or lawyers or accountants. I’m simply saying, in a great big sweeping generalization, is that artists tend to hold their hearts as their emotional centers — looking at them as the genesis of their genius. There is no doubt by anyone who creates, or appreciates the arts, that art definitely comes from the heart. For me, the best work is not always the most technically perfect. I’m drawn to imagery and ideas that capture an emotion, an intangible feeling – or a tumbling of feelings – that takes me on a journey.
I have found that artists, again in general, are more sensitive than non-artists. More in touch with their emotions — more vulnerable. I have come to believe it’s a genetically coded to see and feel the world differently than left brainers. I know that I grew up feeling different from the other kids. Silly things kids do, like stepping on an already wounded butterfly or making fun of someone who was nerdy or chubby or gay, would upset me so badly that I would come home from school and cry. I never just sat and cried. I worked out these emotions with my paints and crayons; I cried quietly as I drew. Even my childhood drawings were different because at a young age I put my heart into hands.
I know I’ve professed this about a zillion times, but the heart shape is a personal Talisman. I see them everywhere; clouds, a leaf, rocks, cracks in the sidewalk, pieces of shell. I’ve been looking for a new shape, experimenting with hexagons and shields. I’m excited by the triangle, but it just doesn’t have anywhere near the comfort vibe for me that my faithful hearts give. While it still has the pointy bottom, there is something about the softly rounded humps on a heart that continue to inspire.
I had a particularly rough week recently. Personal issues surrounding my aging parents and trying my best to take care of their needs despite a huge weight on my heart that feels and knows my options have narrowed. To counter balance the sadness, I went into my studio and found my small collection of heart rocks and crystals. My husband and children collect heart-shaped rocks and give them to me as love tokens. I save these as Talismans.
During Spring Break this year we took a Disney cruise. An offshore adventure at a beach in the Grand Caymens yielded the most amazing natural treasures. Gorgeous white coral and shells. My son found a piece of white coral in the shape of an asymmetrical heart with a natural vertical fissure in it. I tucked it into my bag, counting the moments I could get into my studio so I could mold and cast it. When we returned home, before I even unpacked our suitcases, I went immediately into my studio with my new treasure. I have no problem these days of waiting for my resin to dry, but not this time. I dreamt of the piece when I went to bed that night and woke up with no other thoughts on my mind but finishing it. I knew I needed copper to accentuate the red of the piece and a few rivets for more texture.
This little heart rock my son found and gave to me on our trip is now my literal touchstone. On days when I know I need a little extra positive energy, I either wear my necklace Talisman or slip the coral heart into my pocket. My plan is to cast at least 2 dozen of these rocks and turn them into necklaces this year. I know it’s not a perfect, smooth heart by any means, but I think my rock as a Talisman will intrigue others. For now, I cannot think of a better representation of my Artist Heart.