The latest piece of art to grace my walls was, at first, a bit of a mystery. You see, I found this intriguing woman at a thrift store for $5, a small image in a cheap frame, set on the floor leaning against a bin.
Now she rides high on the wall in my entryway, her level gaze overlooking all who pass through. What grabbed me about her was her casual yet straightforward gaze, her powerful body, the purple colours in her gown and the background, her burst of thick black hair, and her slouch. She is a good guardian of the space.
Signed simply as P. Hopper, 1970, I did a little research courtesy of good ‘ol google and sleuthed up some fun answers. I had assumed the artist was a man. I was wrong. Pegge Hopper, a mainland American artist moved to Hawaii and started creating a series of captivating portraits of Polynesian Hawaiian women. This painting, entitled Five-Strand Pikake, refers to the beautiful white necklace our unnamed woman wears around her neck.
After inviting my purple lady into my home, polishing up the glass, squaring her on the right wall, and sitting with her for a few days, I began to see her physicality and posture as well.
Here is where my background in posture, movement and structural integration eye comes in… See how her knees are raised so high? Tight hips. See how her neck isn’t very visible? She has a slumped forward posture combined with an anteriorly tilted pelvis (while sitting anyways), ribs and abdomen are collapsed into each other, shoulders rounded and head thrust forward. She’s a thinker, she lives in her head, specifically her forehead.
See her jaw? How solid it is? It makes me wonder if she grinds her teeth or clenches her jaw. Maybe she gets headaches and neck tension? If you recognize this posture in yourself, you probably also recognize how uncomfortable your body begins to feel after a while in it!
Aaaahhhhh, but look at her hands and wrists! While tension is visible in other areas, do you now see how loosely and gracefully her hands dangle from their wrists? She’s able to release through the wrists, and the elegance of that release is evident in how her hands and fingers hang.
I could go on and on but I’ll stop with this point: I love people watching. Seeing, then seeing more deeply, is such fun.