For most women, beauty is a need, a deep irrational hunger, and an unconscious compulsion. Our identification with the need to be beautiful is so great and so ingrained that we rarely, if ever, question it. Beauty is the key to the magic kingdom of well- being, happiness and success. It is the source of our value, the guarantee of love, our only legitimate access to power, and on a very deep level has meant survival itself. Because so much is at stake, the pressure a woman feels to be beautiful and to create something beautiful is enormous.
Our whole relationship to beauty shows up painfully and clearly in the painting process. While she is painting, there is always some beauty standard- whether she is aware of it or not- that a woman is trying to live up to. Maybe the ideal is of a painting that is neat and flawless where no mistakes or messiness, no drips or uneven lines are allowed. Or the idealized vision may be one of a painting that is balanced and symmetrical, a paragon of elegance, grace, and impeccable good taste. In this version of perfection, all the colors must match, and can only be in the range of muted pastels with the overall effect being soothing and pleasant, like a well put together design in a home and garden magazine