Artist Lynn Chatman presents a collection of paintings using symbolism that explores the cycle of life. See more of her portfolio by visiting her website.
My interest in art dates back to childhood when I submitted a pencil drawing in response to a magazine ad. You may remember those ads—“Draw this picture and find out if you have talent!”
I married young. Life, children and other responsibilities affected the time I had to create. We moved a lot with my husband’s career, so art education was sporadic. I did manage to take private lessons and workshops and art classes in college.
Now I create art almost every day. Art is something I have to do. When I am in my studio, I think about and create art and nothing else. Over time, my media interests moved from oil to pastels to acrylic. My artistic style ranged from impressionist landscapes to portraits and, finally, abstract and mixed media.
My daughter’s death in 2009 drastically affected the course of my painting. Instead of painting landscapes and people, I began to explore the symbolism in the cycle of life and death through color, texture and symbols.
Most of my Fractured series was painted during this period to represent my fractured and broken heart and life. My own personal symbols included the raven and dragonflies to symbolize the darkness and light of mental illness which affected my daughter’s life and the lives of all who loved her.
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I paint a lot of ravens and dragonflies, and always look for them in my travels. Painting and travel became my escape from the reality of her death.
While you never get over the loss of a child, you do learn to live with grief. These days my painting takes a lighter approach, though no less meaningful to me. My Ink Runs series forces me to grapple with the unexpected and reminds me that life takes many twists and turns.
This technique brings me great joy and peace with its spontaneity and bright colors. I never know what will appear when the ink runs. Then I look for and discover an image and use negative painting to bring it to life.
I also experiment with a variation of my Ink Run and Fractured series. These paintings are inspired by pictographs and petroglyphs found on rocks and cave walls throughout the American Southwest and other parts of the world. These ancient images fascinate me and some of my paintings reflect an abstract and colorful version of rocks with symbols.
Creation doesn’t end—in life or art. My art continues to evolve as I experiment and experience life. While you won’t see a realistic representation of my life, travels, or thoughts, you might find them in my abstracts and mixed media.
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