Someone once told me, the best way to study something new is to immerse yourself in it. With painting, with life, I find this to be so true. It is a concentrated effort, an unbending focus that takes us to our chosen place in a more meaningful way. The idea being, the lessons will stay and become a part of you.
The last few years I have embraced this state of being more fully. It started with yoga. I thought I was starting a lovely relaxing stretching class program...next thing you know, I was practicing several days a week, and uncovering thoughts I didn't know I had.
I won't bombard you all at once with my yoga talk. Suffice it to say that you may be hearing more about the influence it had/has on me as time goes on. (oh boy, I might be losing some of you now)
With this practice, my painting quietly changed. I became interested in the whole process, from the first concept to the last stroke. No part of the journey was rushed through, or taken for granted. Of course, not all of it is peace and bliss, every painting takes a lot of effort. What changed was my reaction to it. I slowly came to realize that I didn't resent the work.
My recent painting, Anjali, is an example of all this. It gathers up these 2 elements of my life, and taught me things. I chose a pose that is difficult because I was thinking about the idea of finding serenity when we least expect to. Every situation has that still point. How can I say it in a painting? The pose is typically the start for me.
The stillness of the figure is in stark contrast to the activity of the paint. I 'worked' to achieve a lot of texture. Furiously flinging paint around. Then I stopped. I thought it was finished. NO. It needed another level of experience. Something I'm not comfortable with. Lots of paint with a large sheet of plexiglass used as a brush. Immersed and totally freaked out, I was determined to try it. To be there with that unknown result. I dragged that plastic across that painted figure screaming.
OK, so it's not rappelling down Mt. Everest.
Every bit of my life can be this way. Every bit. Washing the dishes, driving the car, visiting a museum. Having a conversation. So much can change with that sense of being connected, and totally aware of what is happening.
I know most painters don't dive this deeply into analyzing their creative life. But what do I know. They may have piles of post-it notes tucked under their couches with their thoughts jotted down. Alright. Maybe not.
I'm grateful for the gift of immersion in my world, and being able to express these random insights with you. I truly appreciate your patience in allowing me to share. I want to be as open as I am able with my process, and the meandering road of my thoughts are hands down, the biggest piece.
Happy New Year!