Freewrites? Perhaps I should also try a freepainting. If the one can help my writing get going again, perhaps I can do the same thing for my painting. Writing up to the quota for the day, I went to my collection of canvases and pulled one out randomly. Yes, this square surface would do. Pristine, white expanse, small enough for my table easel, large enough for movement and colour to find form.
Canvas draped across the carpet, plastic on the temporary table in the middle of the room, the paint and brush drawers were the next things invaded. I had set parameters. To keep my intellect from imposing, I couldn’t plan my colours and go out and buy what I needed to complete a set vision, I had to draw from what I had. I had to start where I was. Choosing two similar colours I began.
Two days later the focus of my painting had emerged. The inner artist was stirring. Texture and colour were melding into shape and asymmetrical balance. It was becoming. So I began taking pictures of the process, for my inner record of growth. I was beginning to feel that rumbling that said my artist was beginning to communicate ideas to me again. The painter was waking up.
I knew that my image did not mirror nature in anything but basic forms. There was a peaceful exuberance in that. I was trying to get past my intellects decision to stop seeing the unseeable and focus only on what could be deductively known. I wanted my intuitive self to have more to say in the process of my life. I wanted to end the inner numbness that dried up the brushes and sealed the paint tubes of my inner self.
Then I made an error. In my exuberance, I showed the photos to an artist friend whose expertise far outstepped mine. She saw the promise but, then, spoke what I knew and had purposely avoided so far, “I wonder if as a next step you might want to try to paint actual petals?”
Wham! My gleeful intellect chortled. Support for her desire to shut down the less comfortable stirrings inside and get back to a less colourful but quieter atmosphere of numbness. At first my intermediary self didn’t see the damage in this casual sharing. It was only in facing the canvas again that the damage began to show.
The zinnias were okay. Their spiky texture needs to be built with layer on layer of spiky petals and the inner artist had enough defiance to keep from sticking to the intellects ideas on what colours to use for the petals. It was the rosy flowers that took the hit. Geometrical ovoids took the place of the randomness that had been emerging.
Triumphantly my intellect began nagging about the need for research. “I was trying to tell you that you couldn’t draw this without seeing someone else’s image or at least pictures to help you. You know that you can’t do this. You just don’t have enough talent and training. The ones that have gone well are just flukes.” The intermediary me covered her ears knowing that this was to bring out the questions, to let the artist emerge so there were reasons for leaving it out of the intellects control.
The colours were garish, a laughing intellect’s mockery of what had been emerging. The words of a respected other were all it had needed to try to take over control again before the artist was strong enough to hold its own.
Defiantly I listened to the artist’s suggestion of adding dark umber to the screaming reddish hues. The painting quieted. It could not go back to what had been emerging, but it could go forward from here, quietly, unseen by any eyes but mine so that the artist within would have the chance to emerge unfettered by intellectual supports that would have their place in the process once she was strong enough again to speak.
Note: All photos and paintings on here are my own (except the one of me with my grandkids), gifts of discovery from my inner artist.