6.25.2010

Cotopaxi & Transformation

Cotopaxi, Frederic Edwin Church, 1862, oil on canvas

The month of June has flown by, and I wasn't sure I had the right inspiration for Art Bead Scene's Monthly Challenge, but something exciting occurred the other day and a light bulb went off in my head.

I was feeling trapped by the conformity of my yoga class. The discipline and patience that it requires triggered a feeling akin to being a domesticated animal cut off from something natural. The only way I could describe the enormity of this sensation was to seek out a painting that embodied what I was wanting to be in that moment. It didn't take long for my mind to remember an artwork that I spent hours standing in front of at in the Detroit Institute of Arts -- Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church.

If I could be any painting in the world, this is the image that I would want to represent my soul -- lush, untamed wilderness in constant transformation, flowing, and alive with new possibilities.


silver firebird phoenix charmCotopaxi, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, carnelian, citrine, sterling chain and wire,
and fine silver firebird or phoenix charm

I wanted to create a necklace that used the fiery colors from Cotopaxi and symbolized the transformation that is taking place within me -- the struggle between understanding the terrifying power of one's free spirit and the desire to connect through community.


Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in "ChilpĂ©ric," 1895–96.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, oil on canvas

As I was imagining my new necklace, it occurred to me that the painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for Art Bead Scene's June Monthly Challenge has a very similar color palette and the feisty subject matter could almost be seen as Cotopaxi brought to life through dance.


silver firebird phoenix charmCotopaxi, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, carnelian, citrine, sterling chain and wire,
and fine silver firebird or phoenix charm

What fun to see a connection between two vastly different paintings! I needed a charm to bring the two images together and for me Hint Jewelry's firebird always calls to mind a Spanish dancer. Keeping with my fiery theme I chose simple colors to represent the burning sky in Cotopaxi and the vibrant Bolero dancers.


Cotopaxi, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, carnelian, citrine, sterling chain and wire,
and fine silver firebird or phoenix charm


Latin flavors, fiestas, flamenco dancers...oh how I wish I was a fire sign!


Cotopaxi, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, carnelian, citrine, sterling chain and wire,
and fine silver firebird or phoenix charm

I also decided to use up the last of my delicate chain with the tiny sterling balls. It feels so decorative and Victorian that I thought it would add some romance to this piece.



Cotopaxi, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, carnelian, citrine, sterling chain and wire,
and fine silver firebird or phoenix charm

Finding a place within yourself that expresses your true nature is so healing and being able to say what I am feeling by pointing to a painting like Cotopaxi is utterly liberating.

Have you seen an artwork that best represents what your soul would look like? Maybe it changes as you grow so perhaps you have many artworks to share. I'd love to see what you look like on the inside :)

4 comments:

  1. i love how the thought process went on that one... despite your feeling trapped, your mind meandered and found soothing connections... that is an incredible church painting... living near nyc, i have stood in front of 'heart of the andes' in absolute wonder... it isn't just the scale, it is the vastness covered in detail - drawing you in... i really love 'cotopaxi' though... i often think about our u.s. map & how by me, the northeast/easter seaboard, the states are very small... i understand how that division happened... but as you look further out west, they grow in size & i want so much to experience that feeling... i know what it is like to stand before the majesty of the sea - but i yearn to experience the mountains and canyons in different colored soils... a wonderful post - working it's way through beauty and your self-healing...

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  2. GORGEOUS, BETH!... btw, u photograph well!... love your hair!

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  3. Chrissy, thank you! And thanks for enjoying the my grey "highlights"!

    Mary Jane, you would adore this painting if you connect with Hear of the Andes. Maybe it's the quality of the way he applied each brushstroke and the color. All I know is Church's work always feels like jewels. I love this picture you paint of feeling majesty in the enormity of landscape. I think that's what drew me to his paintings and out west! Thanks for connecting with this piece and enjoying my process :)

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  4. Beth... as an artist I truly am amazed and awed with how other art spirits find direction, peace, ideas... and calm the body enough to let the "art" out in a viewable form. I will take some insight from you and try to calm from the inside out and see what "art" comes my way... love your work!
    Chris KW

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)