Blog / 2023 / Proof of Existence

February 6, 2023

I’ve been opening my studio twice a week recently, painting live on Twitch with anyone who wants to come and hang out. It’s been lovely at times and difficult at others—the rolling self-esteem outages I’ve been experiencing since my father died are unpredictable and crushing.

But one part of the experience that’s always wonderful is when old friends show up in the chat: shoutout to Aleesha, Rachael, Hope, and especially Joy Murray!

painting process by Gwenn Seemel, Lambertville art
painting process for Joy’s portrait

Joy has been a part of my life since at least 2011 when we first met in person at a reception for a group show featuring art by both of us. We haven’t lived in the same state for years now, but we’ve managed to stay in touch and nurture a friendship with the help of the internet, phone, and good old snail mail.

Joy, portrait miniature painted in acrylic
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on panel
4 x 3 inches

Years ago, I painted another friend, and he often talks about how that portrait helps him feel more grounded. As he put it, the image acts as a kind of proof of his existence. In some ways, his explanation for what that portrait means to him is also an excellent description of why I painted him—as well as Joy and other loved ones too.

We live in the people who care about us. I mean, we obviously also live in ourselves: we exist in our own bodies, separate from the people in our lives. Still, I think it’s fair to say that the best of our living is done with others.

detail of a tiny portrait painted in acrylic
detail of Joy

Join me live on Twitch through the end of February:

Mondays 12p to 1p EST
Wednesdays 7p to 8p EST

Come just to watch or, if you sign up for a free Twitch account, you can write to me during the broadcast.

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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