The Paintings (cont)

Painting 3 – “Allow Change”

“Allow Change” – Acrylic on canvas

Before I start discussing this last painting in this series, I need to share some history with you. Quite a long time ago I moved my entire life over to New Zealand. I did this for 2 reasons, one, I wanted to go to the Dunedin School of Art and study under a textile artist who was tutoring there at the time. The other reason, was, I needed to get out of the “situation” I was in. 

You see in my 20’s I was not a super healthy person and I knew it. I was living a pretty hedonistic life style, and as I moved closer to 30 I could sense that if I didn’t take control of my life the universe would do it for me, and it wasn’t going to work in my favour. I had to change, however the way everything was moving around me and the expectation from others for me to “perform” the “usual Al”, I knew this change was not going to be possible in Melbourne. 

So I moved to New Zealand and changed my life. I dived head first into art and creating, I stopped drinking and smoking, I started cooking my own food, and started going to the gym, I even joined a walking group, it was excellent. I calmed down and rediscovered lots of things about myself I didn’t even know I had lost. The 3 years I spent in New Zealand was the most peaceful and grounding time for me ever; during this time I found the space and uncovered the true me.       

The tricky part about this was going home, you see during those 3 years when I would go back to Australia I would visit my Aussie pals and family, and slip back into the same behaviour as before, I would be the same “Al” that everyone knew. I subconsciously justified this because it was just a holiday. Then I would head back to New Zealand and go back to the “new” Allison, easy. Flash forward to when my new amazing partner (now hubby) and I moved back to Australia permanently. So how did this dual personality go?

To be honest I spent the best part of 12 to 13 years trying to bounce between these 2 aspects of myself, also adding a 3rd as I became a Mother. As the years marched by I found it increasingly taxing on my health both mentally and physically. Along with this I was slowly becoming confused as to who I was and what I was meant to be doing, something had to give.

Enter the COVID pandemic and the lengthy 2 year rolling lock downs that the whole of Melbourne endured. This was a crazy time and it was pretty traumatic for everyone, however putting it in perspective I would have to say that my little family bubble coped pretty well. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you we all skipped and floated through this horrible time with out any fall out as it was really hard, but my Husband and I are a great team and even though we had our moments we worked really well together and even had some pretty fun times. 

One blessing that came out of this enforced isolation was that I had no one to influence me, no one to “perform” for, it was just me and after the first 12 months I had re-found the Allison from New Zealand. I started doing art again, I really got back into cooking, took up walking again, and found a new passion in gardening which is excellent. I didn’t join the gym, but I became more involved with my local community and church, which has been a complete surprise and blessing. Another new thing that I started, was that I started documenting all this on line via the usual social media platforms. I was excited about my new way, and I was letting everyone see it. However some people were not as thrilled about this as I was.      

Flash forward to the start of this year where I found myself again in my studio distressed about this confrontation I have been mentioning and trying to find reason behind it all. Now I was not as angry as the last two paintings, as some time had drifted by before I faced this issue again. I was more at the sadness and loss stage; missing a friend that I had loved so dearly but now no longer recognised. However, maybe this mourning is what my friend also had for me. You see with all my posting about my art, my garden and cooking, maybe this friend of mine finally saw who I really was, which is really quite the direct opposite to what she knew. Maybe her anger was just the result of a friendship she could already ready see was lost. Where as I was too busy being me to see her sadness, this does not excuse her vicious behaviour towards me, but could possibly explain it a little.

Now back to the canvas. If you have a closer look you will notice that there is quite a lot of paint on its surface. I had to do this as I actually painted over an older work I had created whilst in New Zealand, it was a self portrait of me under water. As I was trying to find something to paint on I saw this and decided that it was time I would redo this portrait, and have myself  standing on land, solid and dry, facing the universe like a super hero. That was how it was going to go.

However the painting underneath was heavy and as I started painting over it, the New Zealand portrait kept showing through, and well, to be honest, after a while and several attempts, it looked awful and I got angry. I actually threw the canvas out the door of my studio and into the back yard. Just like me struggling to be someone else, in this moment I was stuggleing to paint over myself, and the distortion that occurred to the image on the canvas was terrible.

So here I was angry again in my studio and had wasted a very large piece of canvas, what was I going to do? Then it came to me, I had to allow for the change, I was painting over the canvas wanting it to be different but also same. As I looked at the ruined portrait laying in the dirt I realised change is messy, complicated and hard, and once it happens there is nothing you can do about it. With this I grabbed all of my bottled and queazy paints I could find and in celebration I covered the canvas completely in every colour I had. I allowed the portrait to change, I rejoiced in the flow of what was happening and was gracious with what finally appeared on the now very different canvas, maybe one day my friend and I could do the same for each other. 

This is the last painting of this series, I hope you all enjoyed the works and musings. I am not sure what I will explore next, but it will be a fun and more up beat topic I promise πŸ™‚

Be well my friends and stay safe.     

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

2 thoughts on “The Paintings (cont)

  1. I love these Al! I celebrate the real Allison with you. Change must happen and it’s lovely to be able to embrace it


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