A while back I came across an advertisement for a class that claimed to help you learn to paint what is inside of you.
While intrigued by this concept, I was unwilling to shell out the bucks to learn what this meant and decided to explore it on my own. I took a few moments to look inside myself and found a number of things milling around.
I found some joy, resentment, worry, boredom and a bit of fear. These emotions were all attached to various thoughts that came and went depending on what my mind was currently focused on. How could I paint that?
Next I asked a very experienced artist friend of mine what she thought that meant, and her reply was it was just hog wash, hippy dippy meaningless jargon. I kind of liked that answer as it meant I could quit trying to figure this thing out, question solved, search over. Until last week.
I was attempting to make some of mixed media work, endeavoring to incorporate rusted metal with pieces of wood and other found objects. I was soon blowing brain valves trying to get everything just right.
What could have been a fun project turned into a frustrating and aggravating endeavor of forcing the pieces to comply with my directions. My creativity became a casualty of the war between my left brain and right brain.
One side was screaming “let it flow,” and the other side demanding I “get it right.” I needed to find a compromise fast or everything would be thrown into the trash.
I decided to quit trying to force the piece to take form and, instead, allowed it to create itself. I imagined myself as a young child just playing with the materials in front of me as if they were Lincoln logs or Lego pieces.
Once I got out of my own way and decided to focus on having fun rather than demanding I produce, my work flowed together. Did I just discover the answer to my original question?
The universe must have been listening in on my inner dialogue because the next day I came across another paint class ad promoting process painting. The idea here is to make the experience of painting more important than the outcome. The goal is the creative act itself, without concern for the outcome.
What a concept! I learned there is exhilaration in creating without the pressure to perform, produce or succeed. I found that being present in the moment worked better than being in my head. I discovered there was beauty in letting myself be led rather than grasping for control or attempting to plan.
And the end results? Well, you can decide. These works, along with the works of many other artists, will be on display during the Belen Art League’s Fall Show that runs from Sept. 14-28. The show will be held in the gallery at 509 Becker Ave. The opening reception is from noon to 3 p..m., Saturday, Sept. 14.
This is an outdoor event with a bistro-themed setting, complete with the requisite wine and cheese. Please join us. And I promise, no hippy dippy jargon.