Meaning & Metaphor

Just This Side of Sixty Two

Meaning is an important value for me. Often it is the most important aspect of my creative process and frequently revolves around the question ” what have I learned about myself in the process of creating this particular work of art?”

Mining metaphor as a part of the creative process is also important to me. So when I bought a new set of watercolors  a few years ago it seemed not quite right to throw out the original sixteen-pan Prang set that had been my introduction to the magical world of watercolors.  The plastic box housed more than semi-moist paints and dried smears of mixed colors. It held the metaphoric potential of representing my life since I’m at an age when paradoxically my life is mostly used up but still full of meaningful potential.

All of a sudden this “velveteen rabbit” of art supplies became the perfect support structure on which to build meaning around that paradox. From there I scrounged through my “stuff” looking for things to meaningfully embellish it, finally settling on a random collection of junk incluing milagros, beads and silk flowers that I glamously called ephemera. Many of the bits are numerically symbolic such as the domino whose spots add up to seven and represent completion and perfection or the seven and ampersand/& – my favorite number and typewriter key. The heart is an obvious symbol for love – love I’ve received in its many forms and love I hope to share with others especially through the transforming work of art-making. The Scrabble tile S refers to the Spirit, an essential partner in my creative process. The X for my relationship with Christ. Less obvious is the flattened copper baby spoon representing the loss of our first child. The brushes are at-the-ready servants of my creative process since the paints only reach their full potential when activated by water and applied by brushes.  

Brushes…? That leads me to wonder – a brush with what…? The law? Danger? Opportunity? Beauty? Now there’s a metaphor to work with.

What would be the support structure that represents your life at this moment in time? What embellishments would you use to add meaning to this metaphor of your life? What have you learned about yourself even in the process of imagining that creation? What difference will this make to you?


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3 comments to Meaning & Metaphor

  • Kris Mouton

    Hi Lynne,

    I actually just erased the words that I was going to send to you. I realized that I was so caught up in “painting with my words” and avoiding my emotions. And it’s probably been my “block” for I think, a long time. My emotions are so … hidden. I have such trouble with creating. I create in my mind and collect wonderful “ephemra” and can’t translate those emotions.

    I’ve stifled myself. I must have just struck a nerve because I’m teary.

    I just love your work. Thank you,

  • Robin Rice

    Lynne, your collage is wonderful. And I agree with Kris…emotions are sometimes very hidden. Sometimes I think that we have developed a trend in our world that anger is the only acceptable emotion. Vulnerability, sorrow, grief, tenderness, fear, loneliness – these are hidden. I created a “self portrait” collage a few years ago, when I was heavy into learning photo shop….I loved the way I could change family snapshots to reflect some of these hidden emotions. I have been feeling a lack of support structure in my life lately, and the fear of showing my vulnerability to those people close to me who would support me has been a huge interference. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • Montezuma Wells, adjacent to Rim Rock, AZ, back door bumpy road to high school friends; rendezvous. Your assemblage I visualize is real, the mental attachments assigned to articles of remembrance. As I walk through Senora’s red rock monuments, I find myself blanking out the shops, the streets, the curios of contemporary encroachments. I listen in to Lynn’s assemblage; more than collage, I see real articles, significant monuments, rising up metaphorically, more real than the images recalled, labeled, reinterpreted,shared. And I lay my mind down, including the digital camera. I simply listen in without shops, streets, curios of encroachment. I am benevolently in the center of her morning’s light. Please allow me to experience your essence of person as only revealed through your rising inspiration. I am blessed with your arrangement as you continue to shower others with His inherent imaging center via you, wherever, whenever, your creativity rises.

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