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Participant Information

Charlotte Berry

City:
Edgewater
State:
MD
Country:
USA
Essay:

I am a figurative artist and have been doing commissioned portraiture for twenty-some years now.

The painting entered here was not commissioned, I painted it of my friend, Linda Green- for the creative challenge. It was an opportunity to stretch my ability to distill the qualities that I see in the subject to exaggerate, simplify, distort, intensify.

The painting (done before I was diagnosed with PD) is the first in a series that I refer to as, "strong women attached to chairs that growl."

Each one portrays the strength and beauty of a woman who prevailed in spite of extraordinary life challenges.

In this painting, entitled "Sphinx," the subject and the chair are portrayed as one, an association here with the powerful half-man half-lion guardian sculpture seen in Ancient Egyptian art.

Now I have PD. It primarily affects my executive functions. Now I find the complexities of commissioned portraiture (art as business) overwhelming.

People tell me that inside I am still the same person. I know that I still have this "sight" to see the "essence" of the subject. But now I must wrestle with the artistic process which requires not just insight but discipline which formerly came so naturally.

Sometimes I still mourn for my former self. But, more and more, I feel a growing anticipation of the potential for artistic expression. An artist freed to work entirely attuned to her own artistic purpose. That is a very exciting prospect!

Reminds me once again that nearly everything we do in life involves a trade off of one kind or another.