Barbara J. Mason
Social Media: @dragonflistudiocreations (IG); @barbmasonart (FB)
36" H x 36"W unframed, 41"H x 41"W framed
Artist Statement: I’m in awe of Amanda’s story as she openly discusses her stage 3x breast cancer journey. Over time, I grew to admire, respect and bond with this single mother, 19-year Army service woman and cancer survivor. During our zoom, text and phone calls, I learned all that Amanda is and loves: A strong woman and gentle mother who loves her daughter, serving her country, Gardenia flowers, Ford Blue, pageantry, long hair, putting on makeup and being in nature. As I created this pastel artwork, I reviewed notes from our girl-talk conversations. Our talks were open and honest as we cried, laughed and shared a small moment in time in Amanda’s tumultuous-yet-beautiful journey.
The overall shape of the painting is circular to represent the full circle of life regarding healing and restoration. The juxtaposed floral design on the borders of the mat board represent incomplete and open-ended spaces that are to be filled in the future with BETTER and THE BEST that is yet to come. The Gardenia flower has deep symbolism. Gardenias symbolize TRUST, HOPE, LOVE and RESPECT and BEAUTY. It is no surprise that this is Amanda’s favorite flower because it symbolizes everything she represents. Gardenias also symbolize the idea of a renewal and starting something new. The small drops of tears symbolize her pain and hardships. This is balanced with the cool-and-strong Ford-blue color against the gentle and softness of the white, floral petals. You will find several stars that represent the lone star state of Texas and a few dragonflies that represent my participation in telling her story through Dragonfly Studio Creations gallery/studio. I placed the adolescent hands just beneath the flower, as they appear to be embraced and protected by the adult set of hands - this portion represents Amanda’s nurturing side. The child’s hands are nearest to the flower because the Gardenia also represents purity and innocence.
On the completion of my painting, I felt as though I did my newly found friend a small bit of justice as I tenderly attempted to share the things that hit home and inspired and moved me creatively, and emotionally, but most importantly, forever changed my life through this intentional pairing of souls. This is my way of visually honoring Amanda with her crown! Wear it well, my friend!