As I mentioned in my previous blog, The Art Of Processing Unresolved Grief, I attended a wonderful Summit (or Zoomit if you will), on expressive therapies. The second of three workshops I attended focused on “Painting From the Source”. Like the previous workshop, the focus was essentially on laying color on paper, without any preconceived thoughts of where to begin, and to begin in the moment, just like a child does. A child’s inspiration comes from within, without much pre-thought, and it flows through them in a stream of consciousness so to speak.
In preparation for the course, I had spent a good amount of time reading the text by the presenter Aviva Gold, MFA, CSW, ATR. The day before taking the course, I watched as my five-year-old took a stubby piece of pink chalk, and while singing proceeded to walk around the front yard drawing on a large rock. She then waltzed to the sidewalk where she continued her masterpiece. It was pure and free expression; I watched in awe as she illustrated my textbook before my eyes. At five she possessed what I had lost a long time ago; something I now had to glean from a book. This is another example of how children have so much to teach us “adults”.
For my summit canvas, I had collected some packaging cardboard that I had held onto, in hopes of finding a creative use. I took one and brought it to the training session. As I began using oil and chalk pastels, I found myself irritated by the honeycomb pattern that emerged from the board, made more obvious by the oil pastels. Had it been paint this wouldn’t have been so noticeable. I thought I should switch canvasses, but something felt like I should continue, as the topic seemed to call for me to continue in my discomfort, as this too is part of the process. The colors came on in a beautiful way, I played around with them and again I ventured into the soft pastels. Some spirals also found their way in as well, and the honeycomb seemed like an extension of this for whatever reason. The colors were so beautiful that I thought I should probably be venturing into something deeper and darker, but here is where the painting remained. So that is where I remained.
Eventually curves found their way in and I found myself drawing the profile of a pregnant body. I worked somewhat on proportion but knew to stay away to some degree, as I was “painting from the source” and it required me not to worry about anatomy. Given my skill level this was just fine with me. But I did focus on the breast, and some scrutiny required my inner self to make it heavier and more real. Then I drew in the milk, as if making the milk glands. Then I focused on the curve within the body. I did finish a few minutes ahead of the cut off time, unusual for me, but it felt done.
I wondered about what I had to birth, figuratively. Then I wondered if the womb was empty, or if it was full. If full, what was it full of? Upon further reflection, it seemed to be more developing versus empty or full. I wondered why I had drawn this, but I really liked it. I really liked the colors, and in the end the honeycomb shape seemed to fit her. She was obviously out of proportion, and that did pull at me. The soft colors helped make up for that. I wondered about what may still need to be nurtured. Or was it symbolic of my maternal self as a mother, but also as a nurturer to my clients. I feel my clients are these wonderful people who just don’t yet see it, and I feel I am able to hold their light, as I work to bring them to it.
In essence, art has the power to bring things to awareness that are waiting to be seen; and are waiting to be heard. This project elicited a lot of questions for me to explore; and brought my awareness to the many possibilities available to me, as well as to the awareness that something was taking form. I looked forward to seeing what that may be.