The adventure continues! Much to my surprise, it has proved significantly easier to paint the ‘negative’ than the ‘positive’ emotions in ‘Every Emotion is of Equal Value’. I had expected it to be the other way round.
It made me think of actors saying how much more thrilling it is to play a bad character than a good one. Or, when admiring The Day of Judgement fresco on a Renaissance altar wall, it is the damned souls that are of the greatest interest; and I’m sure they were the more interesting to paint – all those tortured ways of going to hell(!)
I began to question why I was finding the negative emotions easier to paint. I don’t think it is because we feel the negative emotions more than the positive ones. Feelings of joy and regret can be of equal intensity. For me, I think it may be something to do with the negative emotions – hate, anxiety, shame – leaving behind a more visceral memory. If you asked me the last time I felt shame and the last time I felt joy, I would be yanked back immediately to the shame point.
So here’s a selection of some of the painted ‘negative’ emotions.
Hate is black and white. There is no grey. Hate imprisons us. I knew this had to be a strong image – and this one just appeared.
I wanted Anxiety to masquerade as a pretty colour, just as anxiety masquerades as planning and preparation. And just as this pink has turned dirty and full of barbs, so anxiety can turn from planning to a barbed, trapped existence.
Ooh, shame … boy does it have grippers. I have shame points going back decades; they are murky and turpid. But in amongst the murk burn flashes of embarrassment. Shame flames.
One thing’s for sure, this is proving to be a fascinating project!