I put key relationships I've had with people (and then some) into a blender and this is what I poured out ^^
Seona is a German artist I met in art class who specialises in hyper-realistic oil portraits and whom I somehow managed to stay in touch with after we both *got out of school*.
Recently I discovered she’s begun to explore relationships in her portraits, specifically those between old friends. It reminded me very much of Claudia, this other German artist who painted a picture of a friend of hers who (if I remember correctly) wasn’t her friend, anymore. I think I only saw that canvas of Claudia’s once but I never forgot it.
In any case, I *got to talking* with Seona a bit about that whole *friendships and relationships* thing in art. It was kind of a landmark discussion for me. A chunk of it was about how (if my murky memory serves me right) people can only paint (or write) (or sculpt or compose or what have you) what they know.
Drawing from your own experience and your feelings and so on makes it, you know. More real, more powerful, or something (I hope you know what I mean). Kind of like how you can’t really write a movie review if you’ve never seen the movie.
Then the discussion turned to the idea of wanting to experience something you never have, ever. When you paint something based on ‘just’ wanting something versus actually *having* the something, does that make it any less? (Less valid, less real, less powerful, less whatever.)
I don’t know. What do you all think?
I’m not sure if I brought this up at the time, but that reminded me of when I heard that a doctor doesn’t have to have a disease to know how to cure it. The doctor can study it or *experience it secondhand* (i.e. have hands-on experience of taking care of someone with the disease).
It’s kind of like that.
But see, I don’t exactly have a PhD in relationships. And my *secondhand experience* is largely theoretical~or third- or fourth-hand, even. So I guess I really have no business exploring this aspect of mortal existence in my work.
But I guess I can’t help that, I mean, with the kind of work I do, anyway. I can’t help ‘sticking people I know into my paintings’ or just straight up painting people I know (and don’t know, really). Sometimes it’s planned; most of the time it just happens.
‘I’m not a psychiatrist’ (or even some specialist in space psychology focusing on thought patterns developed in the close confines of a ship on an extended voyage in space XD). So I’m not attempting to *shrink myself* (or anyone else, for that matter).
It’s just that discussion between Seona and me (which took place a couple of weeks or so ago) got me thinking about how I’ve, represented people and relationships in my own work. Just a mild, superficial ‘curiosity’ (for lack of a better term at the moment)~because I’m wondering: are these representations less because I have no real experience of any, *real* relationships?
Or was ‘wanting’, ‘enough’?
Define ‘real’, define ‘enough’. ‘You don’t know. You’re not a doctor.’ ^O^**
But I have defined or at least identified a few relationships between people that I’ve represented (I can’t say explored, really) in my work through the years. I don’t know what this means, or what it forebodes. Anyways it’s just me~I wouldn’t read into anything too closely ^^;
So I tried to put some structure or order into this, but… …and I also tried to pick out just one piece, per.
1. Family Relationships
This used to hang over the door that led from the kitchen into the dining room back at my parents’ house. It's done up in oil pastel on cardboard, and I picked this out because this was how it used to be, back ‘home’.
My mom’s parents used to live with us; our dining room table was this huge, glass thing perched on a Chinese bathtub (they say it was used for making century eggs). Well, however huge it was, it was a squeeze for all of us~and to think, I’m missing my mom’s youngest brother in this picture. Looking back I don't know how we all fit; think budget airline seating XD
2. Parents and Children
Interestingly, I couldn’t find very much for this in my *stash*, but here’s one of the king of the Diwata (that’s our word (more or less) for fairy) with his daughter.
I also found it mildly interesting I couldn’t find very many of these, either~I say ‘interesting’ because I’m pretty sure I painted mine a lot. But here’s one of me and a couple of them in one of my larger acrylic on canvas works.
These I had a lot of (paintings, I mean lol). I think the common denominator in my work depicting friends (at least, for the ones I was able to dig up real quick) was that there were never very many of them in a group (I count five, max).
Some were reminiscent of the ‘best friends’ you make at school~ you know, the kind you eat recess and trade stickers with, that kind of thing. Here’s one of them, a watercolour called ‘Crossberry Shake’~ we used to play this sort of thing at school a lot (but I don’t suppose the kids do anymore, these days).
This is all sheer speculation on my part, of course, lol. Without belabouring a subject I pretty much know nothing about, here’s an aspect I might be faintly familiar with~ when you don’t like the guy who says he likes you ^^;
Remember that daughter of the Diwata king? This is her getting hassled by another diwata who doesn’t seem to understand what ‘take a hike’ means.
Self-explanatory; here’s a watercolour duel between a couple of mermen who are half Lapu-Lapu (red snapper) and Portuguese Man o’ War.
7. Frenemies / Rivals
Maybe the person you’re fighting with isn’t actually an enemy, or maybe you’re just sparring, that kind of thing~just like the Siamese fighting fish in this watercolour.
8. Predator and Prey
For a minute there, I was like, ‘this was meant to be about relationships between people’~but then I think everyone might agree that there are ‘human’ equivalents. I found a few pieces of mine that express this relationship, but I thought I’d put this one. Because here, the prey doesn’t seem to mind that they’re about to be lunch for a giant dragon that really only eats their kind ^^;
9. Humans and Non-humans
Well, you know me~this is kind of like my, thing ^^ Like I really like to think that people who are different from each other can get along and not treat other people differently because they are different. Like people should stop picking on Mr Spock just because of his ears ^^;
So yeah this a watercolour with shokoys and humans hanging out on the beach.
So to expand the previous relationship type into three or more kinds of people, because let’s face it, there are a bazillion different kinds of people on this planet and we must all just learn to share it ^^; And it can be fun, desho? Like the monsters here in this watercolour Congaloop ~
11. Pets and Owners
A good friend of mine has a little girl who had a pet chicken. (I don’t think she took the chicken with her to Canada; I understand there were only six suitcases ^^)
12. The Relationship You Have With Yourself / Intrapersonal
This is me hoping I’m not the only one who has this, surely? ^^; Like maybe the daydreams or the ‘internal monologues’ we have or when some people ‘self-talk’ to psych themselves for something. Like this is me having a watercolour *videoke moment* XD with, family, friends, old crushes, memories, all that junk ^O^**
13. Teacher and Student
To be honest I legit had to dig this up, and this was the only thing I could find that represented this relationship. I think I made this watercolour back in my late 20’s and I’m not sure now whether that was really a teacher or a tutor. It’s called MNM and I’m fairly sure the M’s stood for their first names.
I do have one teacher back from uni who I’m still sort of in touch with, and who became more like a friend than a teacher (if I’m not mistaken, I was in her Philippine history class). To this day, I still call her ‘Miss Marco’ ^^
14. Adults and Children
How do adults relate to kids who aren’t their own, their students, or charges or so on? I suppose there’s usually some degree of condescension; me, I try to relate to them more or less just as other people. Although I admit as ‘bigs’ (as my youngest brother used to call them an insanely long time ago), we do have a responsibility towards the ‘smalls’.
Here’s a piece I made also from an insanely long time ago with a grown-up lepidopteran using props to tell a story to the young of her kind.
15. Young and Old / Grandparents and Grandkids
There is that distinctive relationship between seniors and children. We even have a term back here (‘Laking Lola’) specific to people who were brought up by their grandparents.
I was rather fond of my mom’s parents, actually, and when I made this watercolour piece I had my Lolo (grandfather) in mind. No, he didn’t carve wooden toys (although he was an architect so I would’ve given my eye teeth to be able to draw as well as he did) and I don’t remember ever having been on his knee. (But I’m afraid he did become very skinny towards the end </3)
16. Masters and Servants / Bosses and Underlings / Leaders and Followers / *Strongers* and *Weakers*
I’ve been more of a foot-soldier than a general over the entirety of my long boring life but I think it would be fair to say I have had my share of ‘sitting in the chair’ (electric? lol)
But I picked this watercolour piece out because I’m a firm believer in that ‘servant-leader’ thing.
That means if you’re in charge, or if you happen to have ‘more’ power, in whatever form that takes)~ it’s your job to take care of people. And by ‘people’ I mean the people you’re responsible for and/or who don’t have as much of whatever as you do. It’s your responsibility. Not to lord it over them or make them your personal Alfred Pennyworths.
What if you super don’t know each other but you’re aware that you’re sharing the same space? Like it or not you are relating to each other, even if there’s absolute disinterest on both sides. But sometimes like the two merpeople in this watercolour, you can’t help but stare~even if it’s just idle curiosity, it’s still curiosity ^^
18. Teammates / Co-workers / Classmates
They say nothing creates unbreakable bonds between people the way sports and war do~either way, to me, it’s some form of fighting (which implies a struggle) or working real hard together on the same side for the same cause.
Now sports and jillamonsters don’t mix, and I’m relieved to say I’ve never been, in a war (at least in this reality). But I think I am able to say I’ve had firsthand experience of this kind of relationship, and it really is something special. Like even when the *war* is over and you go your separate ways, it’s like you were still *on the front lines* together if you should ever see each other again.
This is one of the few diptychs I’ve ever made showing two teams of different species having at it but having fun. And, they’re all still friends after that (no matter which side won). (Actually, I don’t think either side won; it was a draw, haha.)
19. God and Man / Creator and Creature
By rights this should’ve been first on the list, shame on me, and it is arguably the most important relationship anyone can have. So I’ve put this here as the Omega as He is, after all, the Alpha and~. This piece done up in acrylic and watercolour pencil represents not just the way I relate to God but how a lot of people still do, at least back here or wherever such processions still take place.
Was there another kind of relationship I missed? Like maybe I just didn’t have anything in the archives to represent it. But that doesn’t mean that relationship type doesn’t exist, right, and I’m sure other artists like Seona or Claudia or anyone from way back when have represented or explored it far better than I could. If there is, I should be very glad if you could share with me.