The Reason for Wrinkles


If the reason you had wrinkles was that they cradled your most precious memories, would you love them then? That is the idea that inspired the title, “The Reason for Wrinkles.”

This was a primarily a response to the Arcana Art Show at Columbia Art League. To “apply” to this show you went to CAL and drew a card from the deck. I drew the High Priestess. Wanting to put my own spin on it, I looked for something different, depicted up-close. I considered a luna moth and a snow leopard but ultimately decided on an elephant. It fit my criteria and supported what I understood to be the meaning of the card.

In my research, I learned this card represented feminine energy, introspection and mystery.  Elephants are lead by a matriarch, the oldest female. She has the knowledge to keep her heard well cared for. Their movements are mainly slow and seem thoughtful to me. As for mystery, well, we certainly don’t understand everything about them.

my hand-carved stamps

As part of the criteria for entering this show, I needed the artwork to display the symbols typically used in this card. Someone needed to be able to look at the card and figure out which is was without needing the title printed on it. To keep the pastel focused on the elephant up-close, I decided to depict those symbols on the mat: the two columns, the letters “b” & “j”, a pomegranate, and a crescent moon. I also decided to go a bit further outside my comfort zone by NOT illustrating them. Instead I used more mat board for the columns and printed the letters and other symbols with hand-carved stamps.

40483080_10156651151168851_3851269214086103040_oThe reception was well attended. And as you can see, my art was awarded second place in the show by the awards judge, Matthew Ballou. Here are his comments: “This is exceptional on a number of levels. First is her sensitivity to the pastel… she manipulates it with rigor and density. Martin’s presentation is interesting and dynamic; from the choice to crop the pachyderm’s head to her unique matting and framing, the look of the piece is special and forthright. Ultimately choosing to depict the sacred feminine through the elephant face, eye and ear is moving and — like the card it represents — stimulates a quality of quiet reflection and and memory.”

Whoa! I was blown away. I had not thought about the ear as part of it other than balancing the details of the face. Those drips though! They were more difficult to capture than the wrinkles.

As I write this post, “The Reason for Wrinkles” is on display at and can be purchased from the Columbia Art League until November 9th, 2018.

Want to see a speed-paint video? You can watch it happen in this video over on my YouTube Channel.

2 thoughts on “The Reason for Wrinkles

  1. Thanks, Hope, for this richly written description of the symbolism of the elephant’s wrinkles. Beautiful sentiment and brilliant interpretation of the arcana both in the pastel and in this explanation of it.


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