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Behind the Paint


Last year, I stumbled upon a canvas I had never used before because I was too scared of making a mistake. The canvas felt too formal for my artwork since I worked better without pressure. After examining the canvas, I said “screw it,” and began to freehand draw on the canvas with pencil without any idea of what I was doing. Black and white, a girl looking over her shoulder came to life.

With a pen, I went over my sketch of the face making a small mistake on the eye. What started out minuscule, snowballed into a disaster. The eye was completely overworked with pen. I finished the rest of the piece using watered-down acrylics and pens, but I hated what had transpired. Angered, I got out my darkest black paint and smeared it over her eyes, watching the paint drip. I laughed because I felt as if I made the artwork even worse.

A few hours later, I came back to my painting. I looked at the girl differently and somehow began to like what had transformed. My painting had more depth than just a girl gazing at the onlooker. There was a story behind it, full of frustration, hope, tenacity, hopelessness, anger and humility. Coincidentally, my friend who was going through a hard time Facetimed me, and I showed her my artwork. She said she loved it because she saw her reflection in the girl—that she looked lost, unremembered, and almost as if she was hiding something. I then smiled because the woman yielded purpose.

Her nakedness reveals a raw emotionality but the viewer can’t read her eyes. If the eyes are the window to the soul, does she have no soul? The paint that drips from her eyes makes the viewer curious as to what expression her eyes are making. The tension between the girl and the non-gaze leaves the viewer to a wide range of interpretations.

My friend interpreted the girl as herself and shared her experiences with me as experienced a cathartic feeling of being empty and disconnected. Even though my painting is full of unwanted lines and strokes, it is perfect. The painting teaches me to go with the flow allowing my hands and heart create something, rather than letting my mind point out the flaws.

When you first saw the painting, what did it mean to you?


About the Author

Lucie Aria Green, a freshman in high school, is a young visionary, artist, and athlete based in Los Angeles. Having received a scholarship for the Georgia O’Keeffe Arts and Leadership Program, she hopes to inspire young women, through social media, to be passionate, intelligent and curious leaders. Although she is a busy-bee from cross country, club volleyball, and track and field, she always takes moments to enjoy the small things in life like the Beatles or a good cup of tea. Lucie is an avid reader who enjoys poetry, and mystery novels. As a patron of the arts she adores fashion, photography, drawing, and playing the viola. Continuing high school in the STEM program, Lucie wants to pursue a degree in design or engineering as she hopes to one day create innovations that help our planet. Contributing to Free to Dream Magazine, Lucie believes that she can make an impact on the world.

Follow her journey on Instagram :) @lucieariagreen

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