Monday, June 25, 2012

Painting As Life

Day Two

I started this large piece about a week ago and have worked on it throughout the past week. The beginning stages are always very carefree and flowing with big washes of paint, lots of drips and splatters and a covering of the canvas in a very stream of consciousness sort of manner. I know that most of what first goes down on the canvas will not remain in the final piece but there is no way to get to the later stages without first being here. In addition to the dance, as I have referred to the painting process before, painting is also very much a metaphor for life.

Day Five

Images and colors come and go like experiences and happenings. Layers build up and contribute to the overall piece much like our own being. There are highs and lows as the painting progresses. Struggles develop as things feel like they aren't quite working. And then with the change of a color or area of the canvas everything is flowing again and contentment or even satisfaction become the overriding emotion.
It is interesting to see the connection between those feelings and the quality of the painting. For example, when I start to worry about an area of the painting I notice the work gets tight and lacks the energy and life it should have. The cerebral part of me steps in and pushes my intuitive guide to the side. Basically, I start to think too much about the work. That's when it's a good idea to grab new color and freely brush over the area to refresh the work.
Day Seven... and counting
What I love most about this metaphor is that we can use the process to learn and grow. We can take risks, play and experiment and know that it's just paint... we can cover it up and begin again. It is a safe space to push our limits because there are no mistakes, just a series of experiences and lessons. If we are very present in the process we can notice how we are feeling, how we react, where we hold back or come up against fear and when we are content. We can learn to be with ourselves, with our breath and with each moment as they unfold with every new mark made on the canvas.