Difficult Women

“Difficult Women” oil on canvas, yarn burlap, goldleaf ”Difficult” is the namesake piece from the **“Difficult Women” theme. It was made at the same time as three others of similar size that, when placed in order together spell out a “mantra” seen on the titles posted on boards on top of each work. When all together, they read “Difficult Women, Stay Apart, Women Apart, Stay Difficult”. All the women in the paintings with these particular titles hover in long dark dresses. They each have long red gloves replacing their arms. This one has the gloves attached to a sash around her waist, and her fingers hold a white string horizontally. Her hair is covered with a veil, somewhat a mourning veil. She looks thoughtfully at the viewer….. I like to think her expression shows mystery and wisdom.
yr: 1995

This painting is most important to me because while making it, a river of thought and ideas were opened. Before this, I had never made any artworks that particularly belonged to a series. This just came over me, and I ‘went with it’. I go back to this theme, “The Difficult Women” still. Over the years as I’ve made more of this theme, I have come to realize in my psyche, hidden meanings and reasons behind what brought me to make these. I came to realize my mother inspired the series. She had a major loss in her life when I was young, and I grew up watching her deal with this in various ways….to rise above her problems in life. The ‘missing arms’ are a symbol of her loss, since she was a young widow. She herself is (was) not ‘difficult’….it is (was) her life that has (had) been made difficult because of her loss. I do not expect people to understand the meaning of this in my “Difficult Women” themed works from first sight. However, if they decide to read about ‘my’ meaning behind the theme, I hope they will feel empowered when they look at the series. It is about so much more than ‘missing arms’.

** ‘Difficult Women’ definition: A ‘LiShinault’ artwork in regard to graceful empowerment featuring those who create other ways to get by when they have lost something invaluable. Most art in the ‘D.W.’ theme have missing arms, which are ‘replaced’ by another means. -LiShinault