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Big, Soul-Searching Art

Updated: Jul 28


During the pandemic, in January 2021, "The Window Pain" was a surprise choice (to me) for the monthly People's Choice Award. Subsequently it was made into an out-sized banner that you see here with me on the side of the Owen Theatre in downtown Conroe.


"The Window Pain" is misspelled on purpose and began with a poem that I wrote in 1991. I was writing about how I felt trapped—I was in a predicament where I felt boxed in and couldn’t leave. I also felt like there was a barrier between myself and the spiritual world, like I couldn’t connect with God.

So I drew this emotional self-portrait and included the poem in the background. I wanted it to look like I was isolated in some sort of shadowland existing in the flat plane of paper that is pasted on the back sheet. The back and forth scribbling and dark shapes are the dark elements in my life that were holding me in a sort of web. The hand blocks the mouth because I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about my situation. Multiple rectangles, including the implied rectangles of the inner edges, emphasize the boundaries. The square around my head binds my thinking while the dark square over one eye darkens my sight. The seeing eye still sees visions.

Studies show that art therapy helps people process emotions, which can be positive or negative. This drawing began a series which helped me progress through complicated feelings and ultimately move on. Since "The Window Pain" is about being mentally stuck, I never thought it would have much of an audience. Perhaps people identified with it 30 years later during the pandemic since almost everyone was feeling lonely, and it includes the word “quarantine.” Is it therapeutic for a person to look at a picture like this when they are feeling alone?


Normally, if I think people will like a picture I make wall prints available. I'm unsure about this one. Do you think I should make prints? If so, what kind of print should it be? T-shirts? Wall prints? A nft? Let me know in the comments below.


Banners displayed on the side of The Owen Theatre in downtown Conroe have been made possible by The Conroe Art League​, the City of Conroe, and Juan Cantavella. Banners of other People's Choice winning-art include Kristine Schneider, George Bramlett, and Juan Cantavella.


To see the People's Choice Award video, click here. To see two other pieces from this series, click "The Panic Vine" and "Soul Cell." Please contact me at marlajloss@gmail.com for information on purchasing the original.


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