Last week, I made a birthday card for Chris Dunmire from the Creativity Portal. It showed three spirits, and each one had a different wish. You can read about it here. The idea of the female figures, with their backs facing toward the viewer was interesting to me. i began to think about other meanings, and I had to make a series to cover some of my emotions and ideas.
Here’s the original:
Then I began to think how three different people would interpret the same vision. So I made this one. Each of the cloaks are in a different language text. We see the same thing, but each of us thinks of it differently.
When I thought of three wise women interpreting the same vision differently, I began to wonder about the archetype of “wise woman.” It’s OK for wise women to be imperfect physically, as long as they speak wisely. We also think of a wise woman as kind and kind-hearted.
From there, I realized that if a woman is a regular woman, not a gifted spirit, she doesn’t become powerful, she becomes invisible in our culture. Around age 45, women become discounted if they don’t keep their figure, look younger, more appealing. So I made three women who are looking at a dazzling sight (the outline of glitter on the poppy doesn’t show in the scan), but fading from view. You can see through them.
From there I saw the visibility/invisibility issue in another perspective. Now the women are alchemists, seeing visions of triple suns and wearing cloaks that appear magical. Now they are far more than wise women, they hold special powers to change their world and themselves.
Finally, I wanted the women to share something other than what they were looking at. This time, there is a hint of light in the sky above the women, but they are obviously very different. But each of them has a special edging on her cloak —music. The power of music to heal and inspire is a magical power of its own. Each woman sings her own song and is united to the other through the power of music.
That’s what I think when I’m in the studio. I love this series for what it inspires in me. I’ll fill journal pages with the thoughts I had about these faceless women who spoke so clearly to me.
--Quinn McDonald is a writer who believes that meaning making is the purpose of creativity.