I think joy is embedded in that painting!
I was so excited that night I literally couldn’t sleep.
The next day we went back into the studio to bring forth more of the unknown to be revealed. It seemed that no sooner had I begun to paint than it was time for lunch. Where had two hours gone?
The sustained level of quiet, intensely focused work in the room was profound and one of the most memorable qualities of the experience for me. Each person seemed to be immersed in their own individual process.
A ground rule had been laid at the beginning not to discuss anyone’s work. We could talk about our own experience, but no comments could be made to anyone else – a habit that for me as a teacher was disconcerting to break, especially when I wanted to gush over someone’s amazing painting. But soon I got on board and found it relieving and liberating not to have any business with anyone else.
In fact, once a painting was done (which was to be determined only after consulting with Stewart) it was parked facing the wall, never to be unearthed again until time to take it home. And that policy actually led to one of my most valuable breakthroughs.
Okay, this breakthrough is rather personal to me and might not be useful to anyone else. But here’s how it evolved. The idea of my painting going to face the wall helped divest me of the lurking feeling that I had to paint well to impress others. It wasn’t quite enough (because between now and then was plenty of time to worry about how my painting looked to others), but I knew somewhere in that direction was a nugget of gold. So I played with it in my imagination and soon came up with a scenario that magnified the effect.
What if I’m in jail and painting is the one thing I get to do, with the stipulation that when I’m done they will throw it away.
Somehow that was a sweet spot for me, calling forth patient focus and intense caring about the present experience of painting, yet with no concern for what someone else will think. It was an instant remedy to set my priorities straight. With that tool I was on my way and in the zone (and still use that tool today).
Yours in the love of beauty and spirit,
This is an abbreviated version of my story. Please click to my blog post for the full story, as well as lots of pictures!
Did I unlock my creative expression? I've made progress! In a future article I plan to show you how the Painting Experience has influenced my artwork since then, and explore differences with my way of teaching.
On that note, I'm thrilled to offer my new workshop, The Inspired Abstract, for anyone who wants to transmute inspiring visions and moments into beautiful abstract paintings! Please check it out below.