After matching actions to colors and creating a collage, it was time to paint. Some people in the workshop opted to work with other mediums, but I grabbed my big box of acrylic paint and had some fun.
I actually painted two paintings. The first one (pictured above) felt wrong, so I abandoned it and started over.
And this is what I ended up with:
The final painting that I ended up with wasn’t at all what I anticipated, even though I went into it without a lot of expectations or plans beyond three general artistic goals regarding composition: keep the diagonal; simplify the colors to bring into line with the trust card; find a central point that is off-center.
These intuitive paintings have hidden meaning and depth, and journalling is how you dive into that. So here we go into my journalling.
First of all, this is way more figural that I ever paint. I don’t put faces into my work too often, so I want to think about what that means. Who are they? I don’t know yet, so I will step back and slowly get to them, giving myself time to process all the rest of the meanings in the painting, too.
Colors are an easy place to start. For the purples of the calm of gardening over the waves of collaboration I mixed a purple directly on the canvas using cobalt blue and primary magenta; the teals for my struggles with stamina and Japanese were mixed from cobalt blue, deep green, and white. Shiny copper paint is creativity. The raw umber in the figures is community. Napthol red is leadership. I didn’t include yellow (home exterior) or blue (design work) in the painting.
I was thinking of Liane’s invitation to make things less square and upright, so I used tape to divide the painting into four unequal sections. Despite the strong diagonal and the figures’ gazes, the painting is quite upright. I had the idea that each section would be a light or dark version of teal or blue. When brush hit canvas, the colors wanted to spread across the tape lines, so I let them. So much for planning.
The copper lines define the space by dividing it and also forming an armature for the center to sit on. Creativity bridges my struggles and my joys. The lines form literal sight lines, paired with the copper colored pupils in the center of the figures’ eyes. These lines of creativity sit above everything except the “lotus” in the center.
Actually, I’m not sure if the shape in the center is a lotus pod, a sand dollar, or something else. It’s a familiar botanical that I think will reveal a message when I finally realise what it is. The obloid shape reflects the lanterns in the ukiyo-e print we studied earlier in the workshop.
The red splotch in the center of the center is my actual fingerprint. This work is certainly mine alone. Does the center represent me? Although that is true in so many other of my drawings, it seems to be not the case here. In this painting, it feels that the center indicates belief or something intangible to look up to, like an inner core knowledge or intuitive knowing. Maybe it’s more real, like an event or a goal.
Also visible around the lotus is the nimbus of light from the Trust card. This central point is something to be looked up to and trusted. And it’s stamped with my fingerprint like a signature or a seal of approval.
Finally, on to the figures looking at it…
The one in the lower right is my grandmother, Romayne, though I didn’t intend for her to appear. It reminds me of a photo of her as a child in the 1910s and I can feel her fiercely loving self surrounded by soft and undulating lines in different colors. She is gazing up with some consternation. Why? I think her expression is directed towards the large figure.
The large figure gazes straight forward at a goal it sees at the center. A certain sternness and seriousness to the face. Hardened. Surrounded by points and angles. There are expectations there. Is this me? An observer? A silent judge? My ego?
The lower left figure is watching with detachment. No expectations. A slight sense of anticipation. Also looks a little tired in the eyes. This one has seen it all before. It’s rooting for whatever’s happening, but it won’t be surprised if things turn out differently.
So what does all of this mean to me? TLDR;
- Let creativity guide me to my center.
- Trust and have faith.
- Recognise that others – including my multifaceted inner self – have different perspectives and backgrounds guiding them towards the same belief.