I was 16 in high school and drowning in anxiety. I had recently come out of the closet to my high school friends, who just about all refused to talk to me afterwards. I clearly remember how alone and devastated I felt. I fell into a depression with no one to talk to. I knew no one that was lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Walking into my high school art class always felt a bit better compared to the crushing world outside that door. It was during this time that our class was given assignments to research our favorite artist, build our own canvas, and finally perfectly timed, I was given my first paint brush. With approval, I selected a figurative photo. The pose had such a free feeling to it. A feeling I yearned for when I was suffocating in heavy emotions I could not shake off. I chose the color Prussian blue and found it most fitting. A color of change and movement. I have never attempted a figurative drawing or sketch and here I was about to paint one. Not knowing where to start and thinking I will probably fail this assignment, I selected a paintbrush and got started.
I don’t remember visually my progress or how I started the painting but I do remember the rhythmic strokes and the fear of failing this assignment melting away. I remember taking deep breaths and with every exhale I was more relaxed. All the anxiety and overwhelming emotions calm as I lost myself in my work. My mind quiet as I painted shaped shadows and soft curves. I fell in love with painting that very moment. I worked on this painting every chance I got, the more I painted, the more I felt like the woman in the photograph. Free. I titled the painting SHE. SHE was my first real painting, SHE was my first figurative piece, SHE was my first love.
“She was inspired, She found passion. Her soul could finally sing! She finally had what she most desired, She was free.” Jenna Garcia