Thursday, May 11, 2017

Masks & Mirrors: Beyond Reality

Masks & Mirrors: Extensions of Identity

"There are masks of survival, ceremony, joy, healing, and defense. 
In today's modern civilizations, masks continue to play an important role timeless and mysterious as always." 


Masks in Contemporary Society

      Within the last four or more years, I have realized that masks remain a vital part of modern society. In my studies, experiences, and introspection regarding human dynamics within social relationships, I concluded that masks are very much alive and well in today's world. What I realized, however, is that masks are physical (wood, metal, paper, make-up, etc.) and physiological - to include facial expressions. Our masks have infinite purposes and are also psychological and behavioral.

       Masks are one type of human defense mechanism. Whether we realize it or not, we each have personal "masks" of protection - which can range from expressions to words to attitude to behavior. When I talk about one's personal "physical" masks, they are not only about make-up, but they include our mannerisms and our "costumes." How do we act and dress for certain occasions? How do we dress for work, and how do we "arm ourselves" as we walk into an office, face confrontation, or do something new that causes a bit of fear? Consider what and how many "masks" are connected to the myriad roles we perform in life: Mother Mask, Leadership Mask, Teacher Mask, Healer Mask, etc.

 Come with me.  Explore the world of Masks in this, my new Art video... 

Note: It is under 5 minutes. I think the end will surprise you.


Painting: "Mirror's Edge
Copyrighted. ©2017 Elaine Weiner-Reed
 All rights restricted. 

    I hope you enjoyed this post and my video. Think about it. Like it and share it with your social circles. I am setting up workshops on personal mask-making. I hope you will let me serve as your Muse....

    I invite you to share your thoughts...tell me about your own favorite "personal" masks or which ones have helped you in rough moments. Email me:

   In my next post, we will explore "Mirrors" and journey Beyond the Looking Glass...and I will explain how Masks and Mirrors are vital to our very survival.

So, until next time...

        Yours in Art,

 ©2017 Elaine Weiner-Reed
 All rights reserved.

Monday, December 26, 2016

EWRARTIST: Pollyanna has left the building...

 Hopefully only temporarily...

       Like most people, I am no stranger to pain or loss... I have painted through my pain - sometimes pain and grief that spanned years and many canvases. "Primal Scream" (below) was completed in the ten days between when my Mother died and was buried. 

       When I can, I try to channel intense emotions into something whole, something positive and a catharsis and 
a way to survive and get to the other side, 
alive and whole.

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Primal Scream"
Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Primal Scream"

     We each have our own very personal and intimate world of pain and sorrow or loss.... And then, in addition to that, we have pain on a grand scale - a global, civilization-wide scale. 

     At times, world events seem removed from us and we listen and empathize, but remain somehow a little removed from it (perhaps as an unconscious survival mechanism). 

      But at other times, such events hit us hard and right in the heart and gut. At such times, we cannot look away or try to pretend not to feel or be affected. At such times, we are deeply affected and we sometimes take action - in our own way. 

       Painting through pain or the confusion of life or world events is not one of my favorite activities, but must be done...

My way of processing and honoring tragedy or grief is to paint, to write, to create.... 

       The attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 were personal…, but I could not bring myself to paint it specifically, although I am certain that some elements of my shock or pain were infused into subsequent months' paintings. How could one not be affected, changed...?

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Chaos Circling"
     The fact is, I am not really sure why this time, the Nice attack on 14 July 2016, was different… Why did I feel compelled this time to grab my paints and pull out the largest canvas I had and begin capturing my thoughts and feelings on canvas? Perhaps it was so personal this time because I had spent a few weeks in Nice in September 2015. While I was there, I had met and made a new friend - a woman who lives very near the Promenade des Anglais. Although she and her friends are fine physically, she/they will never be the same... 

      All I do know for sure is that I was absolutely driven to come to terms with it in some way. I stood before that large canvas as my mind splintered with scenes of what it must have felt like beforehand during the opening, joyful festivities...and then later, in the seconds and hours following the devastating attack. Something (my Muse perhaps) drove me to paint, turning my emotions into expressive, iconic human figures. I began exploring and transforming color and painting through my own feelings of loss, turmoil, and pain. My heart echos their pain...

      I want my painting to be a reflection of universal sorrow, representing a cry for peace, a call to our core and common threads of humanity - threads that I hope and pray are still present in our world.  Their loss is my loss – our loss. Their tears, the tears of humanity and civilizations. Every drop of ugliness and violence spilled in our world touches each of us…and our children.

No matter where it occurs, violence is personal...
"Attack in Nice, Bastille Day 2016: Enigma" (Detail)

  We are all connected, interconnected at some internal or spiritual level.
      At this writing, my painting is almost complete... Mainly, it is painted purely as a memorial to honor the lives and memories of victims of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, on Bastille Day 2016...and to their survivors. Eighty-six people died...and over 300 were injured. It is my tribute to humanity and to what we have in common.

     These people remain in my heart. do the victims and families of the December 2016 Berlin Market attack...and as do people everywhere who are touched by loss. United we stand

This year, most of all as 2017 dawns, I pray for peace and healing in our world.

"Attack in Nice, Bastille Day 2016: Enigma" (Detail)

Et pour en parler en Français un moment :

  Derrière le rideau, mon tableau…

     Alors, avant de commencer, je vous demande de pardonner tous: mes fautes de grammaire et d'écriture et de syntaxe et/ou d'usage.

    Il y a plusieurs raisons pour lesquelles je parle et j'écris en français à ce moment : C'est que les racines du grand tableau dans cette séries sur le chaos a eu ses racines dans mes rapports et mes relations amicales depuis plus de 40 ans avec la France – le pays, la langue, et le peuple français.

    Il est vrai qu'il y a des grandes violences dans notre monde à ce moment - partout - ailleurs et ici, aux Etats-Unis. Mon grand tableau "Le Jour de La Bastille, Nice 2016" est sorti avec des douleurs et de la peine au fonds de mon âme, mais il était surtout issue de mon amour pour la France et son peuple …et surtout mon amour et respect pour mes amies Martine, Monique, Bernard, Ludo, Létie, etc., et plus récemment, mon amie Géraldine – qui vit tout près du désastre à Nice le 14 juillet 2016. 

   Voilà pourquoi il m'était nécessaire de me plonger dans des sentiments de peine et de peur de faire face à la violence elle-même temoignée dans cette rue. À mon égard, il y a des confusions totales et on peut s’interroger longuement sur ce qu’est devenu l’être humain…et on prie pour notre futur. Qu’est-ce que cela deviendra, l'Humanité ? C’est à nous tous de décider, en fait et enfin.

   It is my hope that my painting may one day hang where it can be seen by many, among other memorial tributes -- as a statement of common concern. May it be a universal call for peace.
Peace be to us in 2017

  Yours in Art,

Studio: Maryland  USA
Collaboration Blog: 

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