Compassion

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    I started this piece as an exercise for me to look carefully at my own compassion.  I frequently use my art to help me understand or relate to something going on in my life.  In the initial creative work and sometimes in its rendering I “see” something new in how I relate to the topic.

    So what does compassion mean to me?  I uncovered a host of elements, emotions, it includes for me.  It’s hard for me to verbally express exactly what they all are, but it became clear to me that I wanted to try to create a piece that elicits compassion in its viewers.  I hoped that people looking at this figure would experience similar emotions to the ones I had uncovered: a feeling of sharing, as closely as they can, the experience that another being is having; a feeling of heightened connectedness that is beyond the ordinary; an upwelling of a sense of wanting the best for another.  I specifically did not want to evoke pity but simple, deep awareness and attention for the other in that moment.

    This project was very emotionally engaging over an extended period and allowed a very close look at the compassion inherent within me. In doing so, it has made a very positive contribution to me.

    My understanding from my Buddhist practice is that the act of deep, concentrated attention on a subject is a contribution not only to ones own self but, indeed, a contribution to all of us.

    She sits on our table at home so I see her virtually every day.  Most times I don’t look directly in her eyes, but when I do there is clearly compassion in her eyes—for me, a remarkable feat for bronze.

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    Technically there were two areas in which this piece was taxing for me.  The expression was touchy because I didn’t want it to look pitiful, and I thought she needed to be attractive yet concerned.  This took considerable iteration.

    I also soon found out that if one doesn’t get the folds of the fabric right they really look weird.  I ended up sculpting the whole body and then laying a very fine cloth over it until I liked it. Then I took pictures of that so I could reproduce the natural appearance of the covering more accurately.

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    My intention with this piece is to elicit compassion in the viewer.  Did it work?