In a previous post I started a series of thoughts from an old Life Magazine article titled “The Meaning of Life.” My cute little Ego Mind will do anything to keep me from writing. It knows it can’t stop me from painting every day but all my plans to write daily are laid astray. I even hid the Life Magazine – put it somewhere so I could easily find it! I guess I’ll find it when the time is right. Meanwhile The Painting Life goes on.
Last weekend I participated in the 50th “Fine Arts for Ocala” art festival. The attendees really got me revved up on every creative level! They responded actively to my paintings, listened attentively to my rants on Creativity and offered their own words of wisdom, sending me back to my little apartment-living-room/studio bursting with confidence, enthusiasm and renewed energy.
I select a 24″ x 20″ canvas to begin a new “Creative Energy” painting. I ignore Ego Mind who says “You don’t have room on your display or in any of the galleries for another Energy Painting! Maybe you shouldn’t paint for a while?”
My paint drawers and my brush wrap.
Cerulean Blue calls out to me from the paint drawer beside my recliner chair where most of my paintings evolve. I grab a #8 filbert brush from the brush wrap on the floor to the right of my chair. With the tube of Cerulean in my left hand, the canvas on my lap and the brush in my right, I watch with wonder, and more than a little trepidation, as the paint flows from the tube, to the brush to the canvas with no effort at all from my conscious mind. I follow the paint with my eyes as it flows from the tube, to the brush to the canvas – from the tube to the brush to the canvas, until Titanium White calls out from its drawer: “Me, Me, Me!”
It’s a duet! “Toning Grey, Pinkish” is calling in union with Titanium White!
The lid to the blue paint is still off; the lids to the White and Toning Grey Pinkish join it on the table on the right of my chair. It’s out of control! Three tubes of paint open at the same time! It’s chaos! I’m watching my hands as if they belong to someone else. I don’t know where the paint is going next. I’m turning the canvas to better reach another area. The paint flows, more blue, more white, more pinkish! Then Van Dyke Brown joins the party. Ego Mind protests: “It’s too dark! Why not add indigo? I thought you wanted blue to be the dominant color! People like blue. They won’t like all this brown! Maybe you need a plan?” It doesn’t matter what Ego Mind says. Van Dyke Brown is asserting its place on the canvas, its lid just rolled off the table to the floor! I brazenly leave it there!
And so it goes for at least half an hour – maybe an hour? Time seems to stop when the paint is flowing. But my bodily functions do not. This is my cue to place the canvas on the easel opposite my chair without looking, finish my business in the bathroom, then return to the living room to look at the canvas for the first time.
As I look at the canvas for the first time, I try to see it as if someone else did it, and in a way, that’s what it is. But Ego-mind goes to work right away. “Any kid could have made this mess. What a waste of paint and canvas! It looks just like all your other Energy Paintings. It’s boring. You’d better throw some glitter on it quick! Or how about beads? You’d better do something!”
I try to ignore it but Conscious Mind (Ego Mind in one of its many disguises – t’s more gentle and extremely intellectual) is busy trying to fix it. “Maybe define some of the lines. People like representational work – maybe put some faces in it. Or circles, or fish! Yeah, fish. People love fish! Remember that one painting you sold? Wait! Why not just call it finished like it is. No need to over work it!”
So I hang it on the wall and pick up a portrait I started earlier in the day. Sometimes while I’m working on the portrait, I look up at the Energy Painting in Progress. Once is said “Earth, Air and Water.” I wonder if that will be its name? I get up and turn it. It looks like a different painting each time I turn it. I wait for the painting to tell me what to do next. “Trust the process.” it tells me. And I do.
I will post the finished painting in my next blog post.