by Anne Faith Nicholls
Oil, Acrylic and Enamel on Canvas
48” x 36” 

Self-Preservation is a painting open for interpretation and hopefully viewers can personally relate and form their own opinions around it’s story. However, if asked, it was painted as a symbolically narrative piece depicting the struggles one may encounter on their own path towards self-discovery. The octopus, a highly intelligent, manipulative creature, is a symbol of “soul suckers” or “cling ons” everyone has to deal with on their personal journey. Here they are worn by the heroines of the work as both hinderances and crowns, a mark that they carry with them on their journey, swimming through oceans of like-minded obstacles. Worn as crowns, the octopus serves as a reminder that these woman have perhaps been influenced, but will continue to strive forward, pointed towards their own destiny. Destiny is depicted here as a hand in the sky with an eye. The symbolism behind the eyed-hand might reference the fact that everything we want in our lives is literally in hand… Only we have the ability to see and make our own futures. The all-seeing eyed-hand is also a testament to “the artist” who sees the world and realizes their dreams through the power visualization and actual, good old-fashioned hand labor with attention to detail. The bed in the corner of the work alludes to the sur-real, or dream state, a constant theme throughout this particular body of work, as referenced by some of the Surrealist greats including Dali and Magritte. Inclement weather references hard times, and also my Northwest roots, and blue mountains in the distance promise a brighter future. The life preserver of course suggests the precautions one might take to protect themselves along the way, needed or not, and also serves as a metaphorical reminder to all that even the timid and weak can swim and float!