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The Release: The Story Behind the Painting

black bunny on red background with bird cage

A rabbit image for the beginning of February. And the story to go with it.

When I was pregnant with our oldest, I wanted to take a class before motherhood became all-consuming, so I signed up for an introduction to mixed media workshop with the sublime artist Roy Dowell at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Mixed media uses very different creative muscles than painting, and I fell in love with the process. I often start with a panel and a concept, but then the materials will lead me in an entirely different direction. I use mixed media to tease out what I’m thinking, not unlike writing.

When I have studio visitors this print usually attracts the most questions, so here’s the narrative:

I created this mixed media called The Release a few months after my mother’s death along with several other pieces and this series became an integral part of my mourning. For this particular one, I was drawn to rabbit imagery and it took me some time to make the connection that the rabbit is a potent symbol of fertility and regeneration. The tarot symbol of the Tower came from a bit of used wrapping paper and that particular image caught my eye. I know very little about the Tarot and a savvier friend later told me that The Tower can signify liberation and transcendence after destruction and massive change. Finally, the birdcage was a bit more obvious – my mother was finally released from the cancer that kept her trapped and so isolated. The heart is often the better guide than the eye.