I'm up to the 20th painting in my 100-Painting Challenge. These first images are details of "Swim", 40x48". The entire painting is shown at the end of the post but since you can't see it up close I've included these details. My friend Don and I are concurrently participating in a studio-time-challenge that we can invite you to join. It's pretty simple. Just log your daily studio time with a goal of daily hours in mind. Don chose 3 hours a day but yours can be whatever you can comfortably commit to; even 15 minutes is long enough to do sketches that will add up over time.
So at EncaustiCamp Michelle Belto presented an interesting idea for us to chew on. We were having a discussion on the meaning behind our work and how we are each on a search for our visual language. The mystery of who we are and how we experience being alive. Today I'm picking up Jung's Red Book at the library; a good read to get the wheels turning.
Michelle's background is as a therapist and she's taken workshops on art therapy that she described to us. It was fascinating to me and thought provoking. One thing she described particularly caught my interest because it is a lot like reading tarot which I consider fun and a way of reflecting self back to self.
I won't try to describe this process exactly as she explained it but rather I'll tell you how I translated it for my own purposes this morning. The exercise is called "Reading It Back" and you start at the end of the painting session. You've finished your painting. In this case I've painted it entirely by intuition which means it looks strange to me; fresh and odd. Whatever have I done here?
Let's have some fun with the painting now. Relax, take all the time you need and give it a theme. Let the painting tell you what the theme is.
I like to do this work in my journal. I determined that this painting's theme was about the struggle of transforming chaos to order. I see that I've chosen the colors of my childhood. The end result is very pleasing to me. From an unpromising beginning I have created something I like.
The next step is to title the work. Let the piece tell you it's title. Mine chose "Swim" because of all the floating shapes and predominance of watery hues. (The last 6 paintings have had 4 letter titles.) I reflect that "Swim" also relates to my carefree childhood summers at the Rendezvous Pool in Mesa, Arizona. The azure water, blinding white sunlight, bliss of floating, swimming in the cool water with my eyes closed and breath held. The physical feeling this painting imparts to me.
The lines and scrawls in the piece represent the act of releasing control while trusting in the outcome, letting whatever happens be accepted as inevitable and acceptable. Even joyful.
I felt like sharing my reading and thought others might find it helpful in their work. Of course I realize that I would never share this with a potential owner of the piece; the fun is interpreting it in your own way.
Interested in your thoughts. xo