When I discovered Golden Crackle Paste, I fell in love. There’s something about crackly textures that has always appealed to me.
Crackly furniture! Crackly pottery! I love the crackles!
As I’ve worked with crackle paste, though, the cracks in my paintings started to acquire a deeper meaning for me than mere textural appeal.
I didn’t have an elegant way to articulate it, but the cracks in my paintings told me something about finding the beauty in brokenness, the redemption in our cracks. They told me something about cracks being the harbinger of new life — like the cracks in an eggshell before the new chick emerges.
The cracks in my paintings spoke to me of persistence, even when everything around you feels shattered and fragmented. They spoke to me of the strength we gain when our fractures heal.
They said all of this and more — messages I sorely needed to hear.
See, it’s all too easy for me to focus on what’s broken — in the world, in my life, in me.
If you know me at all, it may surprise you to hear this. People tell me all the time how much energy I have, that I’m a bundle of positivity, and that’s true — I frequently come across as a human Energizer Bunny. That’s not the whole truth, however.
What’s also true is that I’m such a sensitive person, I have to limit how much news reaches my eyes and ears, so I don’t get sucked into the black hole of depression.
What’s also true is that I sometimes cry myself to sleep if I my thoughts light on something that triggers my sensitive side (especially when it relates to animals: pets I lost years ago and still miss terribly; bears trapped in tiny cages on bear bile farms; basically any suffering, and particularly of animals).
In short, positivity is a sort of self-defense strategy.
It’s not fake by any means, but choosing to focus on the positive is a very conscious choice, a strategy to keep me from getting mired in depressive thoughts.
My crackle paste paintings — what I’m now calling my Fractured Beauty series — are a way of acknowledging the brokenness in and around me, and turning that brokenness into a source of strength and beauty.
As I wrote on the description page of my most recent paintings:
We live in a broken world that often feels cold and inhumane. We often feel cold and broken ourselves, but it is in our very brokenness that our greatest strength and beauty reside. Say yes to your broken parts, yes to the beauty in your flaws, yes to the world, yes, yes, yes!
To that end, here are my latest two paintings, Icebreaker and Breakthrough, and some pics of their creation.
More #cracklepaste #art #artistsofinstagram #artinprogress #workinprogress #wip
Added a layer of #pouringmedium to this 5×5 #canvas #workinprogress #wip #cracklepaste #paintingfun #artistsofinstagram #abstractart View on Instagram
Added #pouringmedium to this 5×5 #canvas too. #wip #workinprogress #artistsofinstagram #abstractart #mixedmedia View on Instagram
Side view of 5×5 #cracklepaste canvas #abstractart #acrylic #mixedmedia #workinprogress #wip #artistsofinstagram
Pouring medium drying under colander dust-shield. We make do with what we can! #whateverworks #art #artistsofinstagram #artinprocess #workinprogress #wip #acrylic #abstractart #abstractexpressionism #creativeprocess View on Instagram
And the finished paintings – Icebreaker (thank you to Sally Smith Wightkin for the title suggestion):
…and Breakthrough (thank you to Andrea Lewicki for the title suggestion):
Both are available in my shop (at 54% off for a limited time!) — click on the images to get to the shop pages. I think they work quite nicely as a diptych:
I hope this series helps you see they beauty in your own cracks.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Wonderful entry (and I’m not just saying that because you used the Icebreaker title! – though I must admit I was so touched that it resonated!). Your explanation and showing these 2 pieces together really makes them special and is such a great example of how art (abstract, in particular) CAN resonate with people if they take the time to see where the artist is coming from and how they themselves might relate!
I am always trying to balance keeping up to speed with what is happening in the world (depressing) and choosing a positive outlook (sometimes keeping myself in the dark?) It is very tricky sometimes! It is comforting to know others are battling that too!
And that’s what creating (art music dance, etc.) does, I think – it reminds you that you are a much needed CREATIVE force in a world !
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Thanks, Sally! And thank you for suggesting such a great title. 🙂
I’m always rather boggled by the Fine Art World’s refusal to contemplate *meaning*, and to instead focus on academic abstractions. The fact is, most people buy art because it MOVES them or TOUCHES them in some way. And most of us who create art do the creating for the same reasons — NOT for academic reasons of hifalutin blahblah.
And yes, you are definitely not alone! My parents are news JUNKIES, and I spent much of my life feeling sort of guilty for not consuming news and current events to the same degree. But the fact is, my sensitive system just can’t handle it! So I do what I need to do for my own health and sanity, knowing that I also lose something in the process.
Jessica Hubbard says
Melissa, I really love these two pieces. For me, they represent that feeling I have in the center of my chest when I’m on the verge of discovery in my art. It’s that breakthrough moment after spending hours or days on a piece that you’re not so sure about because it’s not “perfect” only to realize it really is.
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Aw, thanks, Jessica! I love how you describe that moment, and that my art represents that to you! 🙂