Emotion Portraits

I finally saw Pixar’s movie, Inside Out.

I really enjoyed it and even before I watched it I had already painted the first portrait in this series because she’s the one who runs my console.

One of the things I don’t do when I pick out photographs (see my previous post for more about this), is only choose charming or happy people. Some people I choose look that way. But I do look for people who look honest. Who in their body language as well as their facial expression are communicating more than the viewer bargained for on first glance.

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Sadness, 2015 Acrylic and photograph
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Sadness, 2015 detail

I feel comfortable when I look at sadness.

I feel empowered and destructive when I look at anger. When I was a kid my anger scared me, and it still does, because it is powerful. Recently I’ve realized that I specifically need to give myself and other women permission to be angry.

Anger is an emotion, not a sin. Sometimes anger is the only appropriate response to a dire injustice, and while I do not like the cycle of outrage that I often see on the internet, say over coffee cups, I would call that cheap anger. We need to give our brothers and sisters all over the world permission not only to be grieved by wrongs in our world, but also to be angry about them.

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Anger, 2015 Acrylic, Watercolor, Resistance, Photograph
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Anger, 2015 detail

The color pallet for fear surprised me. I recently told a friend that I felt that fear was a more vacuous fog-like entity than a person in my mind, and that she didn’t even have to be touching my console, because her permeating presence can affect whomever of the other emotions is point at the moment running things.

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Fear, 2015 Acrylic and Photograph

Why is fear holding a puppy too young to open it’s eyes? You tell me.

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Fear, 2015 detail

In case you were wondering, Joy and Disgust are still to come. I’m not gonna force them to appear before their time, but I know if I lean into sadness long enough they’ll both show up, because she’s always holding hands with them for me.

2 Days Later-Joy arrived:

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Joy, 2015 Acrylic & Photograph
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Joy, 2015 Detail

Since I first posted I’ve got a new version of Anger that fits the rest of the set, and Disgust showed up too. And after them, a few others showed up I had not counted on…

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Anger, 2016 (detail)
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Anger, 2016
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Disgust, 2016

Imagination (below) though she is just a wee thing, was the first to show up and demand I take her into account even though technically she’s not an emotion.

What can I say, the girl’s got sway with me.

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Imagination, 2016
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Imagination, 2016 (detail)

Fidelity came next, with a soft shower of spring.

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Fidelity, 2016

And finally, quietness, who stood to the side in a picture of girls confirmation day but totally stole the scene with her gaze. She didn’t demand, she just transfixed.

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Quietness, 2016
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Quietness, 2016 (detail)
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