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Hearts Abound

Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

As previously mentioned in my last article, I created a collection of miscellaneous 6” x 6” Masonite squares that have heart themed artwork on them. They were to be auctioned at a fundraiser to benefit Volunteers of America (VOA). I helped coordinate VOA’s 2019 Art with Heart event to raise money for their childcare and afterschool programs. It was a successful evening, with art and artists on-hand along with craft breweries and wineries. There was a silent auction featuring donated art by local artists, banks, hotels, and high-end restaurants in addition to sports memorabilia from area sports teams. Roc Paint Sip was on hand to orchestrate a collaborative community painting completed by those attending the event. My hope was to grow the event into a prominent art gala, then, COVID came along and squashed all those plans.


When we wrapped up 2019 Art with Heart event, I immediately begun planning for the next one. My initial thought was I was going to create a more affordable little painting for all budgets. I had about 30 squares that I began painting and collaging hearts on when the world stopped. Obviously, there were no parties in 2020, then 2021 came and went without another heart related fundraiser. So, I am left with these little pieces that have no other function other than to be seen. I haven’t decided what marketplace these fit into or if I will sell them at all.


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

Heart, 2022

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

With about 12 done and 3 in progress, I have about 15 left out in space. I do plan on following through with the heart theme and completing the entire set. I find they’re relaxing little doodles that are fun to do between bigger pieces, sort of like how there’s been a resurgence of adult coloring books over the last couple of years.


Don’t be fooled by the “relaxing” bit, while there’s not a whole lot of deep thinking that goes into the little hearts, each one can be time consuming. Some take a handful of sessions or days to complete. There’s just no sense of urgency to finish each one. I guess it’s the pace that makes it relaxing.


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

I share them on my social media feeds as I finish them but it’s also nice to showcase them, at least the finished ones, within the context of a blog post.


Let’s take a moment to look at the symbolic meaning of the heart. Going beyond the obvious connotations of love and affection that have long been associated with western culture, the shape and symbolic meaning of the heart varies from culture to culture. It is the center of us and our very being. It’s the tether to our soul. Going all the way back to ancient Egypt, Ma‘at, the goddess of truth, said that if the heart should be weighed, it should be light as a feather. Stress, misdeeds, and lies all weigh a heart down. To this day we preface bad news by saying “It’s with a heavy heart…”


Heart, 2022

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

In some religions, the heart signifies God. In Hindu, the heart symbolizes the House of Brahma or Brahmapura. In Christianity, artists used the heart to symbolize The Kingdom of God. Islam views the heart as the center of inner life both through meditation and contemplation.



The very shape of the heart has different origins as well. The heart is really an inverted triangular shape with rounded edges. It could represent a chalice or vase as they were reflected in Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The shape of a heart that is depicted in art is also based on the ancient cuneiforms that represent the female pubic mound or yoni as it was referred to. Yes, symbols had feminine and masculine connotations. The heart is one of the first organs to form in in the womb, and one of the first organs to die for the deceased.


The heart also signifies commitment and promise. When we pledge allegiance or swear to uphold a truth, we put our hands over our hearts. The heart is a symbol of courage and bravery too. We show our hearts when faced with challenges and adversities.


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"


Heart, 2021

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"


Heart, 2022

By Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on Masonite, 6"x6"

So, the heart is a simple shape that carries a lot of symbolic weight. While it’s an easy shape to draw, knowing when and where to use that shape in the context of art is a bit more challenging, having the heart be poignant and iconic at the risk of being overused. The color adds another layer of meaning. We award our soldiers who have been wounded in battle the Purple Heart. Yellow hearts mean friendship and empathy. A green heart might have an underlying meaning of jealousy, while white signifies sympathy. Come to think of it, the color of roses, another passionate symbol, have similar color codes.


So, the next time you come across the shape of heart, whether in a drawing or painting or everyday advertisement, think about why that shape was used. Was it to evoke feelings of passion and affection? Chances are it wasn’t used by coincidence.

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Love those! Never really thought that much of the meaning of a heart. That was a nice insight into the history of them, thank you for sharing. I'm sure the perfect setting for the tiles will present itself.

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Bobby Padilla
Bobby Padilla
Mar 11, 2023
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Thanks Jackie! I appreciate the kind words. They are fun little projects.

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