Paintings: Make-Shift Angel XVI: Fertility

"Make-Shift Angel XVI: Fertility"
10 x 14"
Acrylic on canvas
Not For Sale
Make-Shift Angel, the novel, is now available!

Bloom as you will.

When I painted my first "Make-Shift Angel" back in 2007, I didn't expect it to become a series, but time has proven otherwise. Indeed, they are my favorite paintings of my own and are quite often the most personal.

"Fertility" is the culmination of several streams of thought. Thanks to my angels, I will randomly wonder what such and such a scar looks like, and I was surprised to find that C-section and hysterectomy scars were largely (and logically) identical. As I'd been debating an angel with flowers blooming from her wounds, that seemed a perfect fit, especially as the wound could be read either way. Cherry blossoms had just the right amount of color; discovering via research (because I'm me/a huge nerd) that they symbolize the ephemeral nature of life was a bonus. As for her setting, my husband and I go through Everest documentary phases and are particularly captivated by George Mallory. The question of whether he and his climbing partner Sandy Irvine became the first to summit Everest before dying on the mountain in 1924 is a fascinating one. We recently re-watched the "Epic of Everest" (available on Netflix or at your local library), which is the very footage from the 1924 expedition. It is a riveting film even knowing how it must end, perhaps even more so, and it is awe-inspiring to get a sense of the true unknown, the beguiling but brutal virgin Everest, the men sought to conquer. Mallory's body was rediscovered in 1999 and was eerily well-preserved, as are most of the 200+ bodies on Everest. Irvine's body--and, perhaps more importantly, his camera with possible photographic proof--remains missing. Their legacy is a combination of mystery and lives boldly lived, and I find myself revisiting their tale often. Less gloomily, I've also been watching "The Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross. The juxtaposition of gently narrated winter scenes and happy trees with "The Epic of Everest" made a snowy Make-Shift Angel rather inevitable.

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Artwork and text © Arden Ellen Nixon