Drowning in Metaphor?

Preliminary sketch for my next painting, Anna in the Waves.

“A work of art should be like a well-planned crime.” –Charles Baudelaire

In last week’s blog was an image of an oil sketch for my next painting. This week I have a pencil study for it. I’m hoping this painting will be like a well-planned crime.

I’ll be painting the ocean and my daughter Anna, yet the painting won’t be about either of them.

It will be the first in a series of paintings using metaphor for various emotions  in regard to ….life.  It’s about that repeating fear/joy continuum that is life for most of us. Only those who are truly enlightened seem to have no use for fear. This painting, however will be about joy and power and feeling invincible. I like the idea of using the ocean as a metaphor for life because most of us are ambivalent  in regards to the beautiful, powerful, unpredictable ocean just as it seems to me that we are (I am)  ambivalent about life; overwhelming, hard, wonderful, terrifying, amazing.

Metaphor is a handy way to communicate, though I wonder when an artist uses images as metaphor how often the viewer “get’s it”?  People bring to a painting what they know and believe and so a painting will speak to each person differently. Metaphor has the potential to be trite to some, but possibly prophetic to others.


Painting by Vladimir Kush 

Then again, you can not depict a 3 dimensional world 2 dimensionally without using metaphor. Representational paintings are always metaphors! Right? An artist’s brushstrokes are metaphors for ….tree, apple…whatever they are depicting.

Then there is what Henry Ward Beecher said : “Every artist dips his brush in his soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.” A metaphor about a metaphor.

Enough with the metaphors!

As Jim Butcher said “Life is a journey, Time is a river. The door is ajar”. (LOL!)



About Lorena Pugh

I'm a Rhode Island artist sharing some work on these blogs

One response to “Drowning in Metaphor?

  1. Don B.

    Lori-this preliminary sketch is beautiful!…love the expression in the eyes-I think you’ve captured Anna.


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