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!”
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.