Hello and happy spring! Earlier this month I participated in the MUSE Conference Art Walk. It was a fantastic experience - and I was thrilled when my Eleanor Roosevelt painting sold to one of the attendees.
If you're interested in hearing more about my inspiration behind this piece, check out my interview with Kelsey Rook from The Source Weekly. I have also included the full-length interview below.
And finally, I'm excited to announce that high quality fine art prints of my Eleanor Roosevelt painting are available on my Etsy site. I am offering two sizes: 8.5 x 11 inches for $25 and 13 x 19 inches for $45.
Can you describe the experience of creating art for the MUSE conference?
I've attended the MUSE Conference for the past two years and it has been truly life changing each time. I am equally astounded and grateful that this gathering of remarkable women happens right here in Bend, Oregon and it's a total honor to be a small part of it. One of the best parts of creating art for the MUSE conference was meeting with all the other artists a month ago. It was so inspiring to hear about each artist's muse and be in a room full of dedicated creatives. My work is typically rooted in personal narratives, so this was a great opportunity to broaden my artistic lens and explore painting as a vehicle for activism.
How did you select Eleanor Roosevelt as your Muse? What inspired you in painting her portrait?
To me, Eleanor Roosevelt embodies the spirit of the MUSE conference - she was a powerhouse woman who dedicated her life to social justice. My painting incorporates one of her many amazing quotes: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...YOU MUST DO THE THING YOU THINK YOU CANNOT DO". What's more inspiring than that?? I want this quote tattooed on my forehead (or at least my memory) so I can shape my life around it. And I get the sense that Eleanor truly lived her life this way: looking fear directly in the face and doing what needed to be done regardless of whether or not it seemed doable at the time.
Where do the intersections of feminism, gender, art, and expression meet in your work?
I've been interested in feminism for a really long time. I remember my fifth grade teacher telling me, "You know Miss Dunn, I can't say I've ever met an 11-year-old feminist before." And before that, in first grade, I totally caught the priest of my childhood Catholic church off guard by asking him outrightly why women weren't allowed to be priests. I remember feeling a genuine desire to know why this was. And I also remember feeling fairly unsatisfied with the answer, even at age 7.
While that strong desire for gender equality remains rooted at the core of my being, my approach to feminism has softened a bit over the years. What I'm most interested in exploring these days - in both myself and my artwork - is the beauty and complexity of the feminine and a certain strength found only in tenderness and vulnerability. I also recognize the dire need for feminine energy at this point in time - in our politics, our relationship to others and our relationship to the Earth. The Dalai Lama once stated that world will be saved by the Western woman. I would expand upon this idea with the belief and hope that the world will be saved by the power and sensitivity of the feminine spirit in general.