Updated: Sep 28, 2022
If you've looked at my body of work, you probably noticed that I have an affinity for dolls and toys. I think it's an extension of the joy I felt creating fantasy worlds with them as a child. Toys can seem very much alive at times. I think they have the ability to represent a range of emotions that are relatable in human terms.
When I started the painting, I give up (shown below), I had the image of a lone army man carrying a tiny white flag in my mind. After I attached the flag and started placing objects around him, I quickly realized how pretty much anything I put in the still life – even relatively small things – towered over him. To me the way the little green army man is minimized by his surroundings depicts a sense of vulnerability and isolation.
I don't see the symbolism in this painting as being literally about soldiers and war but rather about deciding to stop fighting against an "enemy" – real or perceived. Through the act of letting go, new directions are taken, new ideas are formed. It's a personal kind of journey that looks neither easy nor certain. But I do think it looks hopeful.
I give up / Oil on linen, 12 in. X 12 in.