The Seeds We Have Sown

Christine Alfery

Posted on May 11 2021

The Seeds We Have Sown

Featured image: The Seeds We Have Sown - Spring 2021

Over morning coffee as I was talking to God and sharing thoughts with Him, I thought about the work I created last week, “The Seeds We Have Sown,” and how loose and free and how easy it was for me to create. The entire process felt real and authentic to me. How comfortable I was painting it and what a lot of fun it was to paint! I asked, “Why is it that some of my work comes so easily like this one and others I struggle so with such as “Be Sure You Wear Flowers in Your Hair?”

I came to this conclusion. I've become secure with the type of mark making I used in creating the work,“The Seeds We Have Sown.” I'm very insecure doing figures. I think it's as simple as that. There is so much anxiety about where the mouth should go or if there should be folds in the dress. Should I put eyes in? And the hair – what about the hair? I know I am bogged down with how I think figures "should" look. Especially because I have been, for the most part, painting women. There is this thing about a woman being a perfect object within our culture.

Their makeup has to be just right, and no flaws in their skin. The eye shadow and color of their eyes need to match and blend. Women's figures have to be “sexy” hourglass shaped. Plus women, need to be superhuman if they are married and have a family. I, personally, know I am guilty of thinking those things and doing the super woman things. When a women gets lost in the objects of our culture, to make herself an object of our culture, she has lost what is real about her, she has lost her authentic self.

I am insecure with the figures I am creating because they aren’t feeling real or authentic, not only for myself, but also for the authenticity and reality of the work itself. My most recent creation, “Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair,” doesn’t feel that way. She feels real, she feels authentic – but I did have to rework her some.

The key I believe is to let go of the idea that things are perfect. I found two drawings online that illustrate this point for me. What happened between the first set of drawings by 2-4 year olds and the second drawing of two people dancing by an 11 year old?


The answer is so in my face! It's the exact same problem with my insecurity with painting figures. Painting figures feels the same way as being an object of our object culture - my figures have to be perfect. I do not have the comfort zone with the figures as I do with the other subjects that I create. I am not as secure creating them as I am with my other subjects. Solution? Just keep painting them until I feel secure.

I look forward to when I can paint and draw like a 2–4 year old again. Get that loose. That will be a yes, yes, yes time for me.

The seeds we sow should not rob us of our authentic selves and who we are. We should not be a slave to object culture for it's a form of chaining us to another and our authentic selves get lost. The art we create is the same. It should not be tied up in knots to be part of something that we are not. That is the key issue for me as I learn how to be freer with my figures and my marks that make these figures. I would love for them to be childlike again.

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