“Big Eyes”

When I was 16, a young teenager, I was going through a tough patch. My mom, sister, brother, and I had just moved into the Green District (a suburb of Roseburg, Oregon), and my sister and I were assigned to one Queen sized bed in a small bedroom where two Margaret Keane’s paintings hung from our dressing room mirror. Being a teenager, I was trying to figure out myself. I was worried about my school grades and homework. Would I make it to the top? And I was centered on my mom’s and step dad’s relationship. There was the man in my life, whom I hardly new, and we had just come to live with him. After living with mom and him for awhile,  I wish I had never known of him. He was an abusive man. We had a medium sized annex above the ceiling of our bedroom, which Ralph, our stepfather, had turned into two small bedrooms. I would go to the Payless Drug Store off of Jackson Street in Roseburg, by bus, and purchase my art supplies- canvas paper, oil paints, and brushes, in hopes of painting upstairs someday and to hide my feelings that were pent up inside of me. My sister left the house to go to college, and I would become more tense, depressed, and paranoid. I’d make my escape up to the attic with my paints, canvas paper, and paint brush. I began sketching and painting children and women with “Big eyes,”from Margaret Keane’s paintings. Most of the figures looked thin and ghastly, like the air was sucked right out of their lungs. I kept painting, and painted into my adulthood, and continued painting children with “Big eyes.” I saw the movie, “Big Eyes,” and I felt sorry for the painter, Margaret Keane, and what she went through to prove her paintings were hers. Discrimination still exists these days and now I see why her life and paintings were so important to me. I needed to work through the dominance of my my stepfather and symbolically, when I enrolled in college, I fought for equal pay equal work. The photos are of my ‘Big eyed’ Paintings. The portrait of Pam 18×24 is hanging in the Portland Cancer Society.

Pam 18x24

Pam 18×24

Donna

Donna

Greta 20x24

Greta 20×24

 

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