"Corazón Azul" oil on wood panel. By Traci L. Turner.

“Corazón Azul” oil on wood panel. By Traci L. Turner.

Over the last 6 years or so, I gradually became more publicly expressive through my artwork about my experiences and feelings regarding romance and dating. This year I was inspired to revisit an old idea for a series that I contemplated a few years ago. Back then I found myself in deep thought and reflection about love, sexuality, dating and my place within all of that. The trails of thought kept leading me to heart symbols, probably because that’s the image that we always assign as the epicenter of all emotions about love. I wanted to find ways to incorporate hearts into my work and I wanted to paint them all the time. It was almost obsessive:
The Heart Balloon

Balanced Breakfast



A closeup of the bleeding or exposed left nipple motif that I use, which is also heart-related.

Traci L Turner, Traci Turner art, Nude Nite Tampa 2015

Heart pasties, even

I think it was a huge point of interest a few years ago because I was falling for someone around that time, and in hindsight, the experience and that person ended up being such a gamechanger in my life. I was captivated.

My approach to the original series of heart symbols was to paint hearts on a simple background, but to make them all different somehow by playing with color and mood. I think at that time my intention was to make a point about how every heart, just like every person, is unique, like snowflakes. I suppose one could go the route of seeing the heart symbol as how we have trivialized, commercialized and over-simplified love, but at the time I wasn’t thinking of it like that. I just thought it was a cute idea, and could be a fun on-going project. After thinking about it more, it felt too one-dimensional for me. I was even painting them in acrylic, which is a medium that I’m not totally comfortable using. Though it still seemed fun to try out, I couldn’t get 100% into it so I decided to shelve the idea until it felt right. As I went through the experience of that aforementioned love and dealt with the aftermath, I had a lot of growing pains and realizations in a short amount of time. I thought more and more about the current landscape of romance and dating, and about my own history with it. The deep thinking lead me back to reconsidering the heart series again, but this time I had a more weathered and realistic mindset. So was the start of the “corazónes.” Instead of the flat color and shapes that were part of the original approach, I opted for human hearts. I decided to use my medium of choice, oil paint, and employ the looser brushwork that has become my chosen style in recent years. I also started becoming attached to painting on wood panels, so along with the concept even the materials received an upgrade (before, I used cheap canvas board for those paintings).

The original concept for the heart series (left), and the current iteration (right).

The original concept for the heart series (left), and the current iteration (right).

The more current version feels like the way for me to go. It seems more mature, more layered and more meaningful than the original idea that I had. It’s just a better match overall, and I’m excited to move forward with it now, which is a necessary feeling. I’ve already done a human heart painting in this series that’s become one of my favorite pieces so far. I’ll do a post about that one next time.

I’m looking forward to using this idea as a springboard to experiment with many more color possibilities! Would love to know your thoughts in the comments.

**Read on to part 2**