Friday, June 6, 2008

"Fat Cat" painting by Gretchen Kelly c.1971

I thought this is the perfect beginning for this visual blog - my Fat Cat painting that I did in high school. This is my most treasured painting. If there was a fire in my house, beside grabbing my real cats and my laptop, I would grab this painting. It is a prize. It holds my teenage history and idealism at that time. I have another painting that I did back then which is the antithesis of this one, now that I think of it. That's interesting ....hmmm, I never thought about that before. I will post that later. Anyway, this is coveted and others would like to own this painting, but NEVAIR! as the French would say. The teenage girl with an explosion of talent ready to burst was at the top of her Art class and just starting to explore new mediums, new philosophies, new perspectives, new emotions. I remember it all as though it was yesterday and hold it very close inside my heart. This painting shows my idealistic views on the world back then. I had the typical high schooler's rebellious attitude toward the world and specifically Madison Avenue, which is where my Dad worked in advertising. One of the most important things he taught me was to NEVAIR believe what TV tells you. Which I translated to nevair believe what any of the media tells me. What a wise young girl I was. Today that is still a large part of how I parse out the world and take it all in stride.

Back to the painting: the obvious is visually stated - the American flag is draped on top of the NYC skyline and stands for American Dream and opportunities that are born from this capitalistic nation which the Fat Cat is the creator of and the beneficiary of. This Fat Cat is sitting on mushrooms and floating on his dreams and glory. He is showing you that this is his world and he is proud and happy - happier than a pig in shit. He is a bit like an Allison Wonderland character and very pleased with himself. But his world is dripping on his shoe, it is not unsinkable. It is leaky and he does not notice. The darkness that mushrooms grow in, under-foot, is a bit Hellish and foretelling of ......everyone's life, certainly mine. The big toothy smiles are laughing with you or about you? There will be dark abysses to climb out of as life goes onward. When one thinks she is on top of the world - Woo, this is when the IChing would warn to not indulge in self satisfying patting of the back.

When I review this painting now, I am fascinated by that teenage insight and symbolism. There is also a bit of serendipitous foretelling of how my life would go on it's course. My paintings today are less symbolic usually. Every once in a while a whimsical one pops out of my head, but not as much as back then. I actually, ponder this often and think to myself that I want to get back to my personal imagery and produce more of these inward mindscape paintings. My personal taste in Art is more of this kind of work than what I am producing at the moment- the landscapes and interiors, not necessarily the nudes though.

Enough babblewabble for now.

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