Stage 2 of ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’

I have been working on my painting ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’ as described in my last post and, guess what, it is not proving that easy! Turns out painting emotions, whether ‘negative’ or ‘positive’, is not a piece of cake especially when each emotion is a small painting in its own right. As with many of my paintings, each of the 20 squares has taken on a life of its own. So not only is it a question of balancing the painting within itself but also of balancing it with its neighbours, in addition to balancing it within the whole canvas. Phew.

But what the hey! We don’t go into art for the ease, do we. In the meantime I am discovering so much more about how I react to my own emotions and am learning to give the ‘negative’ ones equal space to be.

Here is a selection of the painted ‘positive’ emotions.

WONDER, detail of ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’, oil and silver leaf on canvas

Wonder is at the inception of every creative act; I wonder what would happen if I did this …? This square of deep blues and blacks highlighted with silver leaf symbolises the night sky, the ultimate in WONDER. When we gaze up at that infinite expanse of deep black, flecked with shining celestial bodies, it is almost always with a sense of wonder.

JOY, detail of ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’, oil and silver leaf on canvas

For JOY I wanted a lightness of touch and so this interpretation is painted over silver leaf in light, delicate colours. My view is that joy cannot be manufactured; you can’t make yourself feel joy, it is a spontaneous emotion.

EXUBERANCE, detail of ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’, oil and gold leaf on canvas

EXUBERANCE just had to be orange. Orange is the most childlike of all the colours and, orange jumpsuits and the Orange Revolution aside, quite an innocent colour. Orange sings with enthusiasm and cannot fail to make you join in. I always visualise the feeling of orange to be akin to bouncing on a bed of tangerine jelly!

Next time we’ll have a look at how some of the painted ‘negative’ emotions turned out …



  1. It’s so interesting that I had a response in the pit of my stomach looking at each of these – Joy was all butterflies and Wonder’s slight anxiety was accompanied by a tremulous soundtrack… I love your tangerine jelly tag – reminds me of childhood treats and the natural exuberance of being young. Looking forward to the negatives (I think🤔😊).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What wonderful words, thank you! I’m so glad you had such a visceral response. Yes, definitely childhood with orange and that spontaneous vitality we all used to have 😆
    I will be interested to hear your responses to the ‘negative’ ones 🕴

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It must be quite a project Francesca, because presumably you have to ‘live’ in each emotion as you’re painting it! I got exactly what you suggested for joy and exuberance, but interestingly, I felt ‘wonder’ as more of a negative, a little claustrophobic…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, it is a bit exhausting(!)
    Thank you for your feedback. Another commentator also had a slight panic with Wonder. I will take both your comments on board and maybe give it a bit more space to breathe …
    Fascinating isn’t it!

    Liked by 1 person

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