I was eight years deep into an art hiatus when I discovered the artist Katie Over (@katieesstudio) on Instagram. The moment something captures our attention, a process of a million steps begins, and ends, in an imperceptible blip of time.
Perception, whether it be from the rods and cones in our eyes or the hair cells in our ears, requires a relay of messages through our neurons to the brain, and once there, a full party of neuron activity to process the information. All the while, a concurrent system of traveling blood keeps the whole operation afloat, allowing receptors to continue receiving, and the brain to continue processing. It is astounding that our bodies sustain this process in the background at all times, with no conscious effort.
In this painting, I hope to evoke the essence of this marvel of biology. The color palette I chose represents the flow of blood, from the heart to the brain, and back to the heart. The key to the vascular system's function is the transfer of oxygen, and by tradition, oxygenated blood is shown as red, and deoxygenated blood as blue. The underlying white through which the colors weave through and intertwine with represents the blank slate of consciousness that is transformed by the item of our attention and the burst of movement it has spurred. The wonder of the messages being passed in this process can be seen in the shining silvery streaks that cut through the many streams.
In the brain, it all swirls around, and a simple tree that we spot in the distance can be the start of our next idea, feeling, memory.
When I discovered the artist Katie Over on Instagram, she would post videos of herself doing colorful, abstract, swirly paintings paired with gentle music. I found these so relaxing and mesmerizing to watch, and the end products were beautiful! Each slow brushstroke was placed with care, and yet with no deliberate purpose, due to the formless and abstract nature of her paintings. After following her work for months, I finally developed the courage to purchase canvases and painting supplies, and step into the role of an artist again. I wanted to learn to paint like Katie, to paint in a way that I had never attempted before, and experience that relaxing and whimsical feeling her videos evoked. My first several paintings look quite rough, as I slowly tried to teach myself this new style. Even though the end product of these first attempts were "bad," I had such a great time in the process. The freedom of painting without having to strive towards creating an accurate representation of some tangible "thing" felt so light and wonderful, and allowed me to experience the joy of painting without much of the self-judgment and anxiety that had once come with it.
After working and experimenting to learn and form my own version of Katie's style, Currents Behind the Scenes is my first painting in this style that I am happy to show the world.