|"In Olden Times"|
Curator’s Note: “Other than the earthy palette used for this piece, content and composition is strong in two ways. For composition, Emily draws the eye through the whole piece by using the moss, antlers and implied vegetation to point the viewer back inwards to the focal point, which is the head of the stag. The viewer’s eye never “falls” off the page."
“This piece speaks to me about our connection to nature, using mythological reference. The stag plays the part of the tree of life, both wild and yet tranquil and peaceful. The figures, male and female, survey the world from their vantage point in medieval attire, as if to note that at one point we had a connection to Earth in its Springtime (note the flowers), long ago. Maybe now it's truly a fairy tale, all but forgotten.”
As an illustrator, my artwork is usually complimented either implicitly or explicitly by an art director for its technical skill or how well it achieved its goal of representing the story or product I was hired to illustrate. It's less often that I receive feedback about the way it has connected emotionally to a viewer. I have the opportunity to discuss my artwork with people at conventions and gallery shows, but I don't often receive such a lovely, in-depth review of one of my pieces.
Sometimes it's difficult for me to explain the meaning of one of my paintings, even though I'm the person that made it. Sometimes I'll get "in the zone" while working and add something to the image that just feels right for it, without any lengthy calculation about why it must be there. This seems to happen to me most often when I start to develop a deeper connection to a particular painting as I'm working, and I attempt to channel that emotion into the work. "In Olden Times" became one of those special paintings.
The best experience I can have as an artist is reaching this emotional connection with a viewer –– a communication without words. I'm happy that Julie picked up on the duel expressions of peace and sadness in my painting. One of the best ways I can think to describe it is a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia.
Thank you, Julie.