Painting Instead of Wallowing

I am an emotional painter.

I don’t mean that I weep and wring my hands as I paint or tremble with angst. I am more of a joy seeker, a happiness hound, a deep C diver (C for consciousness). So it may surprise you to know that, upon entering my studio, you would usually hear nothing more than brush strokes.

It’s inner work I’m performing, as I try to coax out the nuances of an emotion, to illustrate the way it feels with a brush and paint. I consciously attune myself to an inner voice that directs me to make this darker, add a touch of mauve, soften here with gesso, cover that over completely. It’s exciting when I connect that way, because it’s as if I am listening to the spirit behind the emotion, rather than being caught in the grips of intense feelings. In a way I am objectifying those feelings, treating them like a still life, trying to capture their essence. At the same time, I am often painting faster than thought, by which I mean that I am not being analytical as I paint. The “directions” that I hear are not the result of my deciding that something should look a certain way according to, say, the elements and principles of design.

This is sounding quite mystical and airy fairy, I know, but I crave that zone, and believe I do my best work when I am in it. I use the term “best” to describe the work that induces the strongest emotions, that elevates my mood, that tweaks my longing, creating a delicious current that courses through me and somehow translates into feeling more alive.

So what are you muttering now? “Crazy artist!” or “Amen, sister!”

Bright Window ~ © Carol Wiebe

This piece illustrates the bright mandalas of inspiration that are scattered across our existence, if we allow ourselves to perceive them. They can provide maps of meaning for us, make it possible to discern the bright windows in the midst of dark places and seemingly empty spaces. The painting evokes, for me, a glowing hopefulness. The pulsing umbilical cord of light signals new life, fresh possibilities.

Painting my emotions is a lot more fun than wallowing in them. More informative, too.


About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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6 Responses to Painting Instead of Wallowing

  1. Tammy Vitale says:

    Amen, Sister! (but usually my hands are covered with mud when I’m at that point! =])

  2. Dayna says:

    Carol, thank you for this beautifully written post. I loved reading how you approach your work – very inspiring and insightful!

  3. Deb Sims says:

    Airy Fairy is as Airy Fairy does! And you are! Some people call it listening to the muse. I call it listening to my inner voice, my heart. Staying in that zone always brings out the best work for me. When I try to analyze and think too much I get bogged down. Better to fly on the wings of inner song. I love your Bright Window. It reminds me of an inspiration I had at the National Cathedral in DC. The Space window just takes my breath away. Hmmmm, maybe I will work on that theme today! Hugs to you, dear heart friend!

  4. carolwiebe says:

    Of course, you three are members (in good standing) of the congregation, but it is wonderful, nonetheless, to be understood when it comes to this artist’s way that we have chosen to embrace.

    I agree, Deb, that it is a way of the heart.

  5. pam says:

    AMEN, Sister!! I am just starting my life of artistic creativity at 50 something. Creating is like meditating… how well can you let go of your ego and let what is in your heart come out. Thanks for reinforcing what I hope to someday experience with more frequency.

  6. Deb Sims says:

    We’re with you Pam! I’m sixty and feel like I’m just now hitting my stride after studying art all my life. Whoo H00! You go girl!

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