You may have seen the question "What is your favorite piece of art and what does it mean to you?" posed recently for the Clickinks Scholarship Contest. For a small scholarship, we received many outstanding responses, and the decision to choose one winner was difficult.
The submission from Marissa Brown really stood out. Her response was artistic, yet intelligent. I was touched reading her essay. You can read the essay in its entirety below.
Tear Me Apart by Linnea Strid. 2005. Oil on plywood. 28 x 30 cm.
Have you ever looked at a piece of art so detailed and lifelike that you at first brush it off as a beautiful photograph? Then, all of the sudden, it hits you that that is in fact a painting, not a photograph, and you almost feel sick with the amount of talent that person must have? That is how I feel when I look at each piece of art created by Linnea Strid. In particular, her painting Tear Me Apart shows immense attention to detail, a powerful emotion, and is overall simply a beautiful piece.
While in the International Baccalaureate program at high school, I took a higher-level visual arts class. Every week we had to write five pages in our Investigative Workbooks (IWBs) about anything and everything art related. Writing in these IWBs every week for three years meant that I researched and reported on many amazing artists that I would have never known about if I had not taken the time. Throughout all of those hundreds and hundreds of pages, Linnea Strid is one artist that stood out to me the most.
Linnea Strid is originally from Sweden, but spent a good portion of her life in Spain. This atmosphere is where her career in art began to flourish. She sold her first painting at the age of 16 (Chefas), showing that her artistic talent started early. She now lives in California and paints photorealistic oil pieces that are sure to blow your mind! (Another one of my favorites is Embraced by the Silence).
In her As It Falls Over You exhibition, Linnea is inspired by human emotions and the way water plays against the human form. The main emotions she focused on were “Mortality, fear of dying, fear of living. Loneliness. Anxiety in general” (Strid). I believe that because of these strong emotions, her artwork makes that much more of a statement.
When looking at this oil painting, the first thing that catches my eye is the obvious attention to detail. Being an oil painter myself, I know how much time goes into creating even a mediocre piece, so looking at something as intricate as this painting reflects much time and effort.
I love the realistic quality of the water running down her face – you can see the color of skin peeking through as well as all of the shades that a single stream of water has. Never again will you think that water is a simple shade of blue!
Looking closer you see the eyelashes matted together, heavy with water; the hair gripping to her skin… And these are just the physical features.
As striking and complex as Strid’s artwork is, it would be nothing without the emotion that pours through the canvas. You can see that this painting conveys a sense of frustration or sadness when looking at the slightly furrowed brow and the deep crease of the eyelid. The water streaming over her face takes place of the tears.
The composition of this piece is also what makes this a favorite of mine. It is not the typical view of a face; not all of it is shown and it takes up the entire canvas. This way there is no ignoring the emotion protruding from her features.
The color palette is also extremely unique and is one of the biggest reasons in why I enjoy this piece so much. The hair color in particular is what strikes me the most. It is not your typical blonde or brunette or even red color, it’s gray – almost white. And yet there is not sense of old age in the woman’s face. It is almost like the water is slowly draining her out.
This painting connects with me on a personal level as I feel that Linnea has pinpointed a physical setting of great emotion. Being in the shower or bath, feeling the water stream over you – it can be a place of great emotional release, of vulnerability and cleansing. I often seek the warmth and comfort of purifying waters during times of emotional strife. It seems that you enter weighed down and exit lighter and more composed. It is a place to sort thoughts, or simply forget for a few minutes.
Another reason that I find this artwork (and the rest of Linnea’s art, for the record) so stunning is, again, the photorealistic quality. I have attended art shows, art museums, and even art conventions such as Art Basel in Miami, and the question “What is art?” often arises. I believe that there is no one answer to this question, and that in the end art is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. Therefore, I do have my own personal answer to this question: I believe that art is something that takes time and true attention to detail, composition, and color. I have a hard time looking at a scribble on a scrap of paper and understanding why not every other person in the world couldn’t do that. This is why Linnea is a favorite of mine – she is a true artist, in my book at least. I myself am an artistic person, but no matter how many hours of my time I spent, I could never obtain a fraction of her talent. It is something that I exceedingly appreciate.
Overall, this painting holds a place in my heart because of it’s striking beauty, evident emotion, personal connection, and attention to detail. Whenever I gaze upon this piece I cannot help but appreciate the talent that Linnea Strid holds and it encourages me to work harder at my own work – artwork or otherwise. Linnea has shown me that it is important to embrace your God-given gifts. I may not ever be as spectacular an artist as her paintings so portray, but I will work hard and develop what talent I do have; and that is an exciting topic of it’s own.
Chefas, Stephanie. "Art Chat with Linnea Strid." Platinum Cheese. Platinum Cheese, 9 Dec. 2011. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://platinumcheese.com/2011/12/09/art-chat-with-linnea-strid/>.