Inside The Painting: "She" aka "Her Energy"

One afternoon in the fall of 2013, I sat on the steps of my house crying my eyes out because more than anything I wanted a relationship. No one I met came anywhere near my ideals and I was starting to lose hope. Ok, to be honest I was wayyy past "starting", I was indeed hopeless. I called my good friend in LA for some comfort and he told me I needed to just be patient and to stop focusing on it. He then told me, "You should be painting this. GO PAINT!"

Erika Rachel - Begging For Love 48x60 2013

I was reluctant, but I picked up my paint brush and the largest canvas I  had and started to paint.  I painted a heart and a figure of someone bowing in worship. There was so much desperation in this painting, I was almost embarrassed to show it. It made me feel vulnerable and exposed. But at 48 X 60 (4ft by 5ft) it was a BIG painting. There was no hiding from it.

I felt better after painting it, but as a full time artist I make my living from selling my work. How was I going to sell a painting like this? Who was it going to appeal to? I had no idea.

I decided to place it in a solo show I had in Soho NYC during the spring of 2014. During that time it made its way into the background of an on location TV spot for the Dr. OZ show. When I saw it I thought to myself "Oh No, of all the paintings to have in the background, it had to be THAT one?" It was as if all my desperation was broadcast over national television.

My paintings in the background of a Dr. Oz television segment.

My paintings in the background of a Dr. Oz television segment.

After the art show was over my installation came down and the painting came back to the studio with me.

Over the next 6 months I evolved a lot. I experienced falling in love and falling out of love. I had some great dates and some bad dates. There was significant self reflection and I became a lot more comfortable being single than I had ever been before. All the while that painting sat in my studio, nagging at me.

I couldn't stand seeing it that way anymore. I had changed so much that the painting was now an outdated reflection of who I used to be and what I used to want. Luckily as an artist I have the power to change that, so I took control of my own work and its direction.

The final painting now titled "Her Energy" aka "She".

The final painting now titled "Her Energy" aka "She".

I took the painting and planted it front and center in my studio. I turned on Pandora and my studio cam and went to work on the canvas like it had never been painted on before. Like a clean slate I painting color, fun and joy all over the previous design. At one point I even stepped in paint. What did I do? Why I put my foot to the canvas and smeared the paint on with my big toe of course! I sang and danced as I painted, replying to complimentary texts from people who were watching my studio cam, they liked the painting!

I was wearing a smile and an old dress shirt of my fathers while I painted. Hopping around having a blast, I was a totally different woman. A happy independent artist who was going to enjoy her life no matter what. No longer wanting to cope or compensate for something I did not have,  but rather to simply be who I am and where I am in my life right now. What the universe holds in store for me will be revealed over time. Its my job to just keep living in a space of love. The rest is not up to me.

*Update: Her Energy sold to collectors Oct 2015 and is on view at their residence.