For centuries, the portrait has been an avenue for the artist to tell personal stories, discuss emotions and identity, and even immortalize the subject through artistic conventions. The portraits in my collection are an avenue for discussion about the emotions all humans experience, a topic to which each and every person can relate. I take inspiration from the quote by Judith Wright, an Australian poet and activist who said: “Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest level.” This universal emotional experience joins us together. This body of work creates a connection to cultivate a bond of shared emotional experience across time and preconceived societal boundaries.
A common element within my portraits is floral motifs. Each of the unique floral motifs is selected for its symbolic meaning according to the western tradition of assigning symbolism to flowers. This tradition originated during the Victorian era and continues to find popular usage today, and assigns every type of flower a unique meaning. This meaning can vary according to the color of the flowers and their arrangement. For example, hydrangeas can hold several different meanings based on the variety of colors they occur in. Blue hydrangeas in particular are symbolic of emotional frigidity or apology. I incorporate these floral elements for the beauty they add to the portraits, and I utilize them as important visual cues that solidify or add to the emotional content.