Blog / 2022 / Bleeding Heart of the Earth

March 30, 2022

[video transcript]

Studio-life and life-life are deeply intertwined, and lessons learned in one part of life often help me see the other part more clearly, as with these beets and also with these sunsets.

Bleeding Heart of the Earth is for sale for $100 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks. There are prints and pretty things with this image here in my print shop.

brightly colored beautiful food art showing beet root vegetables and greens, artwork by Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
Bleeding Heart of the Earth
acrylic, marker, and colored pencil on paper
12 x 6 inches

Before moving to the east coast in 2015, I lived in Portland, Oregon, for years. I’d grown up there—at least from puberty on—and, by the time I left, I was aching for adventure. I was frustrated with how it felt like everyone there still saw me as a 22 year old artist, fresh out of college. I’d just turned 34 when I left, and I was looking to move somewhere that people would be able to see me as an adult, because that’s how they’d meet me.

It’s sort of like this beet painting. I was so sure I wanted to use the marker bleed—the way that certain inks and pigments interact with acrylics, pushing through the layers of paint. I was so sure I wanted to use that bleed in the background design for this piece. I was so sure of what I needed when I started this painting, but, as I painted, I realized that what I thought I needed wasn’t something that actually interested me.

In that same way, once I got to a place where people only knew me as an adult, I missed so many things about Portland. In trying trying to escape that one thing, I hadn’t fully considered everything else the city meant to me.

Portland is a place where, by and large, people share my values. It’s full of queer people and the sort of people who don’t need to be convinced that we need to do something about the climate crisis and racism. And it wasn’t until I left that I finally understood how important it is to live in a place where people share your values.

I don’t want to agree with all my neighbors on everything, but after living in a conservative vacation village at the Jersey shore for years—a place where people either excuse the January 6th insurrection or outright support it—I could not be happier with my move to Lambertville, New Jersey, which feels to me a bit like a mini Portland on the Delaware. Like with the final background on this beet painting, this move is what I actually needed.

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

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