Art & Design Magazine

What a Painting Says

By Ingrid Christensen

What a Painting Says

Wading Woman
24 x 20

We've experienced catastrophic flooding in my city and other southern Alberta communities over the past week so my wading paintings have taken on a new psychology for me.  Ironically, the Google image for the day of the flood was of a family in a swell of water, the waves washing over them as they stared out of the screen at us.  It was supposed to be cheery but felt sinister as I listened to the sirens and bullhorns of the police evacuating homes near mine.
Viewers bring a lot to images, creating a story that's informed by their own experiences.  I often wonder what the collectors of my work see in the children that I've painted.  Do they remind them of their children, or their own childhoods?  Are they a memory or a wish?
I saw this woman on an overcast day at the beach last a few years ago.  She stood in the water while her kids ran in and out, ignored by her.  There was something pensive and separate about her (or so it seemed to me) and I'd meant to paint her for a long time.  The mystery of her personality seemed suited to a broken, ambiguous surrounding and I worked at keeping her both isolated and intermingled with her environment.
I hope she's thinking happy thoughts.  

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