"Force" Artist Statement

“Force” is in the private collection of Houston & Kristen Netherland.

“Force” is in the private collection of Houston & Kristen Netherland.

Force is an original painting created for my Love Life solo art exhibition as an Escapist Artist of John Ross Palmer's Escapism Program. Force was created spontaneously and very quickly in Mark and my apartment. Force began as a blank roll of canvas many years ago when I was living in my mother's house. My mom's garage served as my very first studio when I began painting during law school. I purchased a roll of canvas from Hobby Lobby. I cut the canvas myself and attached it to a piece of sheetrock my mother had left over from a previous project. I began a paint drip on the canvas, but somehow never was "moved" creatively to finish it. Since then, Force remained rolled up over the years in storage, unfinished.

One day, I rediscovered this roll of canvas and pinned it to our apartment wall in an area which served as my home studio. I began trying to paint a scenic forest with a path inspired by a very lucid dream I had one night. Somehow, I lost interest in painting the Dream on this large canvas. My husband, Mark suggested that I let go of the need to "force" that idea onto this canvas. Sure enough, later on, as I began creating new works for my Love Life solo art exhibition, I was inspired to paint on it again. The inspiration came after I was cleaning up my vision board in my home office / studio. I received an impulse to take the references from my vision board and to add them to my canvas pinned to the wall. I used them as texture for the painting, with the intention of surrendering the items to naturally manifest on their own. I officially decided let go of my need to have the things I wanted most in my life by placing them into my art.

Force included several post-it notes of goals I wanted to achieve and amounts of money I wanted to attract into my life. It also included photos of a dream house that contained my dream art studio. One post-it note, I added to Force was a note I've written to remember a statement my mom told me over the phone. This statement was from a life-changing, healing conversation with my mom, where she told me, she believed that I should pursue my art and to pursue it now. From that conversation, I made a decision that I was going to pursue as many artist opportunities as possible. This led me to google artist opportunities in Houston, Texas, leading me to discover John Ross Palmer's Escapism Program.

            I named the painting Force because, after I was finished painting it, Force resembled the beauty and power of a quiet storm. The painting felt powerful, calming and awe-inspiring, like nature. The more I looked at it and thought about it in relation to my solo show inspired by my life and the city of New Orleans, I began reflecting on my personal journey to Houston. I landed in Houston, after Hurricane Katrina. I was 20 years old, at the time, living in my mom's house attending the University of New Orleans. We incurred 8 feet of water in our neighborhood and lost all of our belongings. When we gutted out our home in October of 2005, I knew I was not going to be returning to my life in New Orleans and that Houston would now be my home. It was tough at the time, but it was not until that moment when I accepted the change, that my life shifted. I began recognizing the blessing of living in Houston, attending my new school, University of Houston, and my new life. When looking back on it, I would not have met my husband, I likely would not have went to law school, and I definitely would not have had the opportunity to participate in John Ross Palmer's Escapist Mentorship Program. I would not have had the pleasure and blessing to meet all the wonderful people in this great city. My life expanded in ways that I know would not have, had I remained in New Orleans according to plan. Hurricane Katrina was a Force, where I was not in control, which moved me in a new direction, and changed my world ultimately for the better. 

Force reminds me, that "All things are meant to serve us." All things are in our favor, even though we may not see why and how they are, in the present moment. It is my intention, that Force builds a sense of faith that everything happens for a reason and as exactly as it is supposed to happen. That everything is meant to serve us, make us stronger, wiser, with the ability to give more and to help and serve others. It is my intention that Force provides a sense of peace and faith in the Unknown, especially regarding things that are not in our control. And that Force grants all the deepest desires of the viewer's heart and a life filled with an overwhelming sense of love, abundance, and joy.

A.V.M. Hawkins