I lost some of myself this past week. or, at least I’ve been looking for something of me that I cannot seem to find. This brain trauma thing is hard to understand. There are no signposts to tell you where you are, no milestones to help keep track. Sometimes you’re moving forward and sometimes it feels like everything but you is moving forward.
Maybe that’s why I am painting – to have a path from beginning to end that gets me somewhere.
Most of my work now starts with colour choice. There are colours that look like someplace I want to go, to dive into and feel with all my senses.
Since travelling seems out of the question right now, I find the only places I can get away to are through the paint and music (when my head can process it). One can truly swim around in the sounds of Bon Iver and the depths of indanthrene blue.
I’m just checking in, with you and myself. Maybe next week will be different or it may be much the same.
just call me Dory. x
There are holes in my paint and I need to figure out what to do with them.
There are some holes in my heart, too. and I’ve got to take care of them as well…
The question is, what ones do I fill and what ones should I leave? Sometimes trying to fix a hole doesn’t help. It’s become an integral part of the work, part of the landscape. If I go tinkering around too much, I will alter what has become. I risk damaging the whole by rewriting the history. So I need to be careful. and I need to take my time.
There are fillers and sealers and sanding techniques, books and videos and seminars – plenty on offer to fix my problems – but that doesn’t mean it will work for me. So I am going back to basics, back to what I know: take each empty space on one at a time, to see what can be done. Fill up those that will accept the paint and leave those that won’t. Repair what I should and leave the other to rest. because sometimes things just need to settle…to heal and become part of who I am now. Sometimes, it’s about letting it go…
because perfection is an unattainable goal. What suits the canvas as she stands now? what sits well in the light of this present moment? Make your choices from here, not from a place of “what could have been” or what should have happened. That kind of thinking risks every other mark, every beautiful place on your canvas.
So here it is – paint and thoughts on ocean, air and atmosphere. There are smooth places and fixed holes and untouched textures on display. It is a whole picture, the sum of all these parts you see plus the journey to get here which you can only imagine.
This painting’s process reflects a bit of my own. I’m still working on me – carefully, one space at a time. How about you? Be careful with your own canvas, too. There is hope for us.
The professor over our sculpting class decided to run a little experiment, observing us in all our early-morning-class glory throughout the semester. It was like having Kesuke Miyagi in the room. He and his grad students surreptitiously watched us, even taking notes (!) about our practice as we squished the clay and I tried not to get covered head to toe as per usual. He sat us down in the last days of the year, wanting to share what was gleaned. He told us that he’d run a comparison study in his other classes, those with students who were not majoring in art but took the class as a requirement filler or thinking it was an easy grade. The strongest difference, by a significant amount, was how we approached our work. With us there was singular focus, a quiet concentration and discipline within our use of time. The other students were noisy and distracted and ready to run to the next class. but not us. We were caught up in the rhythms of the process. “Much to your benefit,” he stated, “and your work reflects that.”
I’m pulling on this discipline now, reigning in my scattered thought processes as I focus on the work. As I concentrate out beyond the noise and distraction of my self-doubt, tender heart and healing head.
I’m not going to candy coat this; there is a cost. When I get up after a couple of hours in the studio, I try very hard not to fall over. I feel the strain in my left jaw and inner ear. My thoughts start to spread out again and the internal sounds come thumping back to the fore. But the trade is worth it. I might have to go lay down for hours. I may get nothing else done until the evening. But the therapy of the rhythm, the tincture of the colours soothes my soul. And it gives me hope.
Painting the whole canvas dark seemed daunting. I was starting over, over something that just did not work. Because of what had gone before, black inky blue was really my only choice if I wanted to salvage anything. so I painted myself an empty space…
then took a deep breath and began to fill it…It’s a space of firsts: first black canvas, first go at a night sky, and first with some new techniques as well.
I think the hardest part is knowing when to stop, when to say “it is enough” and trust that the spaces in between will speak as well as the marks.
I’m still learning that lesson – in paint and in life.
optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation
of someone or someone’s character – positive and hoping for good things
be encouraged. there are good things to be seen even in dark places.
What to do in a storm? Some artists work through their circumstance – spilling out raw emotion onto canvas as a way of expressing what words cannot tell. Others find that heartache pulls a shade down on their creative process, rendering them speechless for a season, or longer if they cannot heal. I myself have written of my wounds, closed the door to my studio, sat without a creative thought as a colourless numb closed my eyes to both the pain and purpose. But now I choose to paint my peace…a place or thought or idea of where I could drift into the presence of surrounding stillness…
no matter the season…
or time of day.
A place of sound and colour that speaks to my own heart…
that gives me hope and a horizon line…
This new exercise has not been easy – this painting has taken a long time. The process to get here was not what I expected, but it has helped me to stay open and express my heart in a positive way. The outcome appears simple, but that is simply not the case. The same could be said of our journey in creativity. and in life! May you find a way to paint your peace.
What if we could dive into the perfect conversation? what would that be like? who would it be with?
Here’s a conversation I had with one of my paintings, speaking of divine exchange and deeper things…
There is an ocean of words swirling around us most of the time. We have the choice over which ones to keep and which ones to let go. Treasure the better part. Be encouraged.
You’d think I was somewhere out at sea with all the watery hues swimming around my studio.
I’m immersing myself (pun totally intended) in the colours and flow of water in paint. Come October, I will be using these blues for a project. Until then, I’m diving my brush into the oceans as much as possible…
I am enjoying the process. It’s preparing me without the pressure of a looming deadline. Take some time to consider your prep – how can you take the pressure off and still go deep? Be encouraged!