"No Fate But What We Make"

I love that line. Even as a child, I held firmly to the concept of free will. I didn't want to believe in determinism (although growing up in a regimented and cloistered Asian household often challenged my thinking!). I used to adamantly believe that destiny is a self-fulfilling prophecy and you are the maker of your fate. As I've gotten older, however, I've come to appreciate that there are some paths in life that are unalterable, despite or in spite of human machinations.

As I've mentioned before, I've been playing around with different textures and incorporating mixed media into my art pieces for a while now. One of the ideas that I was exploring with the addition of paper to canvas was how the paper not only added to the layered effect of the work, but how intrinsically the paper changed the landscape of the piece at the beginning. It became impossible for me to consider the piece without allowing the paper itself to guide the trajectory of the brush, or palette knife.

I started thinking how minute manipulations to your daily schedule, or tiny decisions you make at the spur of the moment, may alter the fabric of your existence. Are we blinded to how each choice can impact our lives, because we lack the foresight and the capability to view how each piece of "paper" shapes the future?

I started this piece by painting blots of colour on canvas, then applied paper overlay on top while the paint was still damp. I brushed a thin layer of dilute acrylic medium on top of that, just to set it. When it was all dry, I started painting over the paper. It took many permutations before I was able to achieve a balance I was happy with -- I wanted the original paint to show through and highlight the texture and paint on top, but most importantly, have all components speak to one another so that there would be continuous dialogue amongst all the disparate portions.

Moira. 03/2016. Acrylic, mixed paper, and oil pastel on canvas. 22" x 28". 3/4 in. profile.

As the piece took shape, I started seeing the tree of fate in the painting. I read a lot of Greek mythology* as a child, and liked the idea of the threads of fate running through this painting as an allegory. Some threads are more visible than others; some are as of yet, still hidden and may never be revealed.

I don't know where my path leads, but I trust enough that somehow, I shall end up where I need to be -- through my own determination & will, and the threads of fate.

*Yes, I am aware that the tree of fate in fact refers to Yggdrasil, which is from Nordic mythology. Fate itself was determined by the three Norns, the goddess of Past, Present, and Future who wove the threads of fate for all life. There is overlap between Nordic and Greek mythology, so I used creative license to combine the concept of fates and destiny into my painting. The Norns became the Moirae.