Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Clean Slate Series

"A Clean Slate Series" by Crystal Neubauer

Sometimes my art informs my life before I even understand it - this new series is titled "A Clean Slate" and made its debut at Chicago's One of a Kind Show this year. 

As I looked at the works in this series- named for the centerpiece shown above- and talked about it to those visiting me at the show it struck me over and over how profound it was, the way it came together and the timing of it all. The series consists of several large works that have been evolving in the studio for several months. I've agonized over some of these pieces and was not able to bring them together to a satisfying outcome. Over and over again I would pull them out, work a little on them and then in frustration put them away thinking it just wasn't going to happen. Then just a few days before the show, when I was supposed to be framing and putting the last minute details for the booth together it all struck me so clearly - I could see what each piece needed and I worked frantically adding the black fields of Indian Ink and some graphite details. Better, much better. But still needing something. More pencil and mark making I thought. So I picked up a small pack of drawing pastels, in which a white piece was included, and as I put those white marks to the black ink I knew it was done. The worn chalkboard appearance with all the visible erase marks. Words came out of that white pencil. Labels I wanted to be free of. Names I had been called, or had called myself. And places I had been that I never wanted to go back to. 

I wrote and I wiped away and A Clean Slate series was born. 

But little did I know as I put it all together how much more it would mean to me just a few days later. 

"A Clean Slate" by Crystal Neubauer

On the bottom left of the centerpiece is an old ledger page, over 100 years old, that I had splatted with ink during a time of worship as the words "by your stripes I am healed" were sung. It is significant to me that this page wound up in the collage without my knowledge of what the finished piece would be about, symbolically adding to the theme of a clean slate, speaking to me - "your debt has been paid, the slate truly has been wiped clean."

 "More Then a Woman" by Crystal Neubauer

I've written about this piece in the past. I thought it was done, but was never quite satisfied with it. As I worked on the centerpiece of the series I spied this one hanging on the studio wall and had the same epiphany as I had with the first work. More mark-making and the slate appearance was added, more words and labels written and erased, and I am so fully satisfied with the result. 

"You are more then the labels they want you to wear. More then your past mistakes or any one thing. You are more then a woman. You are uniquely made and have unsurpassable worth." 

 "Do You See Me?" by Crystal Neubauer

This one also came off the wall to be reworked. The thoughts and feelings being poured out on the canvas. 

"Sometimes I think you look right through me. Sometimes its like I'm not even there. Do you see me? Does it even matter to you? I'm a real person - you can't turn me on and off. I am not disposable. I matter. Do you even see me?"

A new chapter is beginning in my life, with a clean slate. I am blessed by the places I've been, good and bad, as they have made me the woman I am today. I'm looking to God to show me the next steps and am following hard each day, the places He is telling me to go as I heal and begin again. I have many workshop announcements and exciting things to share so be sure to come back in a few days. Meanwhile be blessed.You too have unsurpassable worth.



  1. These are beautiful and your words very encouraging. Thank goodness for clean slates.

  2. These have become powerful pieces.

  3. Very beautiful pieces, and your explanations make them so personal, part of your own history. Having a "clean slate" must be healing indeed. I'm not sure I ever had that feeling...

  4. Beautiful and inspiring, tx for sharing always crystal! Aloha, angi in hana