This image came to me in a vivid dream a few nights in a row. I felt it was strongly connected to Sheila Na Gig, the Celtic goddess of fertility. Her images are found throughout the Celtic culture in early Christian and Pagan art and sculpture.
A few years later Susun Weed sent a call for artists for her book Down There, Sexual and Reproductive Health. I was inspired to create a whole bunch of more vaginas and other images related to our body. These became a series which I called ‘Nudes’.
I had them on my website for a while but as I was working on my art ‘career’, supported by a wonderful coach from New York – Renee Philips The Artrepreneur Coach – she recommended that I take them off my site’s gallery. I did understand why she said that. Everyone in the art world emphasizes that to be a professional artist and find gallery representation, you absolutely need to have a consistent body of work. And it makes sense, when you go on an artist’s website and they have various themes, medium and style, the general message is confusing, it looks like the artist doesn’t know who they are. No gallery owner can market this type of artist as there is no ‘visual branding’ they can anchor themselves to. For self marketing it also makes the artist’s job a lot easier if people can ‘recognize’ their work instantly when they come across it.
So I understood that and left my Nudes painting in a folder on my computer and rolled the canvases and set them in a corner… until they were called back to the world!
Two years ago Sylvie Bérubé, director of the International School of the Sacred Feminine from Montreal contacted me to illustrate her deck of cards on women’s body. When it came to the need for illustrating the clitoris, the vagina, the perineum, etc… I had no choice but to show what I had hidden.
I knew the time would come that the deck would be published. This is now (buy it here!). I can’t decently keep the series hiding when the deck is going to be sold by the thousands which will bring people to my site looking for the images.
And the worst is: What am I saying to the world hiding my vaginas? The whole point of this Nudes series is to talk about how we make such a big deal out of our ‘down-there’ parts, out of our periods, masturbating, having sex, birthing, breastfeeding. We don’t talk about these most natural things, we even censor many of them, meanwhile distorted sex and unhealthy sexuality is used to sell everything in our world, in commercials, movies, videos, books, magazine covers, etc…
To make matters clearer for me that it is time to show my Nude series – in case I still had some hesitations and I did – a man from Quebec recently found one of my Nude images on someone’s blog and contacted me to order a giant print of it as a gift for his wife to celebrate her midwife diploma.
Recently I wrote to Edith Lassiat, an art critic in France that has supported my work for a few years. I entitled the email : “I need your blessing” and told her about my questions regarding my art career and my dilemma for adding one more different visual to my portfolio.
Your questions are pertinent Gaia
Here is what I am feeling:
The art world comes with rules that great artists have always transgressed
So my advice is to decide to fly toward your power
Listen to your heart
I doubt that Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh and so many others have limited themselves to listen to a “coach”
They imposed their vision
They showed the way
The essential of a Creator is in his/her vibration
From this vibration is born his/her power
So trust yourself
Be proud of what you are birthing
And show the world all your talents
You are exploring
You do not fix anything
Here is my feeling
Yes I do have quite a few visually different series on my website: From my Silhouettes, Nature scenes, Mandalas, Wild Woman and now my Nudes. But the truth is that people that truly understand my work get it, they see the connections, the continuity and thread between all the stories. All my themes are just different ways of expressing my inner world and my concerns and interest for creating a healthier humanity and planet; In my view, which is reflected in my paintings, this happens from connecting with nature, to our true nature, to our body and spirit.
I would love your feedback on this new series, there is so much more to say about it as I see each image as an invitation for many important discussions. I will now write more articles (and paint!) – without censoring myself – about this subject of the body!