Meaning

Today’s guest post is brought to you by chiropractor and writer Meghan Palmer…She’s a real cool chica!

Misty’s Mermaid
By Meghan R. Palmer

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Misty for a local Johnson City magazine. As often happens, I drove back home from the interview with more information than I could jam into the profile. Like a sandwich with fresh tomatoes dripping over the sides, there were a few choice topics that I still wanted to lap up—so I figured, why not do a guest blog or two?

Misty and I talked quite a bit about life philosophy, and about the layers of meaning behind works of art. The artist has a story to tell herself, but by the time the painting is finished and hanging on someone’s wall, it takes on a new life and a story unique to each viewer. I asked Misty about one of her paintings that didn’t fit her garden-themed collection. It is a painting of a mermaid. She told me the story behind it:

Flail

Flail

“The mermaid, entitled “Flail”, was completed as part of a neighborhood ‘art challenge’ project.  The theme was “something in the water”.  The earthquake in Japan had just happened and who knows what was spilling into the ocean from the nuclear power plant …on top of that, the previous summer was the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.  So, there were a lot of water pollution issues….The mermaid was painted as in mid-flail, in the midst of furiously whipping her tail around…she’s a fictitious creature, but in my mind, she’s pissed off that her habitat is being ruined….Hopefully, though, what comes across without knowing that story is that she is beautiful and powerful!”

Misty has an optimistic personality. With her, life is about what you make it. She says that “being optimistic is a job—you have to do it actively.” This is the kind of thinking that led her into painting professionally in the first place. Her philosophy is that “whatever you want to do, just imagine your life is that, and live that way.”

I asked her if her paintings reflect her optimism. She thought for a moment, then said, “Yes…and no. The Mermaid is a fictitious character, mad that her environment is polluted, but I wanted to paint her in a way that is beautiful, and that someone would want to put on a wall.”

And, really, that is one of the inherently intriguing things about art: how many stories can one painting tell?

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