Girl in a blue dress holding a thistle Art by Lea K. Tawd

My first painting of the year, "Thistle," is a small one at 8 x 10 inches.  

I had so much fun being painterly with her blue dress, I think I'll be doing more of that. I have been working with a dry brush technique for so long that I almost forgot what it was like to work into lots of wet paint! 

I rarely consider symbolism before I paint, so it is interesting to go back and wonder what my subconscious was doing while I was working.  To me, it is the same as interpreting my dreams--dreams that I had while I was awake.

I've been playing a lot with white hair on young-looking women.  My 40th birthday is in a couple of weeks, so I think this one is pretty straightforward.  It is a transitional time for me. I am still feeling young but aging , starting to feel time in a bit of a different way.  Plus, I love how elegant and Victorian the white hair looks.  I wish my own hair would skip the salt and pepper and go straight to white! 

Then there is the thistle.  Why a thistle? I've never given them much thought before and I couldn't come up with any particular reason why I would have her hold a thistle--it was just something that came to me while I was working, so I went with it like I normally do when something wants to show its face in one of my paintings.

Since thistles don't mean much to my conscious mind (except yum, artichokes!), I did a little research to see if they have any symbolism.  They are a symbol of protection in Scotland and France, and also represent pain, hardship, perseverance...

Perseverance. That's the one for me.  Finding a way to survive and even flower in hard times. It is so important to me to find a way to follow my passion no matter what else is happening in my life.  

 If you need a reminder of how strong you are even through hard times, you can make this painting your own.  Just click Here.

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