Posted on October 16, 2021
I created “the lost bouquet” in August. A friend, after seeing it, asked me if I was okay. Several works before had appeared cheerier. I told her I was doing fine. “the lost bouquet” isn’t about grief or loss. It’s about hope in that darkness. It’s about the growth that happens when we can’t see or feel it yet. It’s about the beautiful bouquet we grow when the one we had disappeared.
Category: Art and Photography, Featured, portfolio Tagged: art, bouquet, covid, dark night of the soul, depression, Digital Art, Featured, grief, growth, hope, loss, love, melissa d. johnston, mobile art, mobile photography, personal growth, portfolio, shadow side, spiritual growth, the unconscious
Posted on October 9, 2021
I felt honored to have “the next phase: trust” exhibited in “The New Life Exhibition” in September at the Fondazione per l’arte Bartoli Felter, in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy! Recently I’ve been using butterflies in lots of my images. I see them as a representation of new life, of starting again after the ravages of Covid in 2020 and the first of this year. We still have a ways to go on that front, but there is hope. The butterflies have also represented a feeling of renewal in my own life in ways of thinking, creating, being. I look forward to seeing my wings emerge…
Posted on October 4, 2021
Every now and then I like to give a little look “behind the scenes” of my creative process. I did this before with “we build with what we can: the process” and I wanted to do a new one with a popular recent piece, “emergence.” The video doesn’t give every step in the process of its creation, but it does give the highlights.
This piece was created on my iPad pro using mobile apps. In the video I will use abbreviations for the main app used in that frame. These are the apps referenced: Stackables, MB (MetaBrush), IB (ImageBlender), SN (Snapseed), DFX (DistressedFX), IC (iColorama), SIX (Superimpose X). The figure is actually the one I had created quite a while ago (also with my iPad) but had never finished. The new style in the last frames was obtained with “triangles” in iColorama.
I hope you enjoy this!
Posted on January 14, 2021
Recently I participated in the “Your Dream is You” contest, an exhibition to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. It was planned for this year but now will be held once the pandemic allows. I was surprised and so honored to have two (!) images selected for the exhibition: “fatigue” and “agency.” A slideshow of the winning images are on Facebook. A heartfelt thank you to the judges.
Posted on January 13, 2021
Early in March 2019 my doctor asked me to start working from home because I have a problem in my immune system that puts me at risk for serious complications from Covid-19. The pandemic hadn’t yet hit the Charlotte/Lake Norman area very hard yet, but she knew it was coming soon and wanted me to take two weeks off “to let the virus pass through.” Then I could go back to work. Needless to say, this has been the longest two weeks either of us have experienced. The governor shut the state down two weeks later and I had already gotten ill with what we believed to be Covid-19 (this was before tests were readily or easily available in our area). During the time I was ill, I had more time to create art than usual (although, honestly, I slept most of the time).
The pandemic was in the forefront of my mind when I created the first two pieces while ill. Image number one had come after seeing so many images of grieving and death. It was a very a dark time–and one increasingly full of despair. I didn’t want to make a piece of art that only represented the grimness of the new reality. There was darkness. But there was also love.
The second image is “the weight of hearts,” which was the one chosen for “Windows of Hope” in Charlotte and for the 2020 Mira Mobile Prize exhibition in Porto, Portugal. Some of the same thought process went into its creation, with the exception that I wanted to emphasize the dimension of hope even more. The piece represents an intersection of earthly and spiritual planes. A transcendence in life and death–but the heaviness of love, and the loss of so many, is still very real.
I did do a type of variant of the above themes later in the year. I began by playing with the idea of one’s relationship with one’s sel(ves). At the same time the pandemic as well as the images I had made earlier helped to shape this new piece. For me art is multivalent in its creation.
The other works I created early to mid 2020 didn’t have to do with the pandemic directly, but I found that I had become more playful. Hearts became a symbol of the weight of human emotion while also maintaining an element of hope.
The works I did towards the end of the year had Covid as a constant backdrop in their creation, but only two referenced it more directly.
The first was “agency,” which didn’t start as an image having anything to do with the pandemic. It started with thinking about the (seeming) duality of the self. It continued that theme as it formed but I intuitively found myself adding a red mask and gloves. The context in part was the (sometimes violent) debate about mask-wearing in the US.
One image I did near the end of the year is a self-portrait. Its title is “fatigue.” I had the virus earlier in the year, but its effects lingered well into December. I would have flare ups with crushing fatigue and leg pain. For several months I found myself out of breath and needing nebulizer treatments if I overworked (knowing where that line lay was a constant experiment). The piece doesn’t just talk about physical fatigue but also psychical fatigue. Lack of physical contact with family and friends as well as the constant barrage of negative and depressing political and socioeconomic news was itself like an enervating virus.
In July, Joanne Carter of The App Whisperer asked to interview me on the topic of “Hope in Adversity” as part of a series of interviews with mobile artists about isolation and art during the pandemic. I’ve had more time to reflect on my art since then, but the thing in the interview that still stands out to me is the appreciation of the online mobile community. Despite all the negative things about social media (and there are many), the deepening of my involvement with the community of mobile artists on Facebook and Instagram helped keep me afloat and moving forward creatively and even spiritually in 2020. It will definitely also be part of my post-Covid world as well. .