Although I understand and have experienced it throughout my art journey, I am still amazed every time it happens. What is it? The personal transformation and insight I gain with every painting.
A stressful work-related situation came up immediately before I found myself standing in the Art Shack, and I was still internally shaking from it. I was SO mad, and I was hurt.
When I stared at the blank white canvas before me, I was seething. I was so sure my level of anger rendered me incapable of painting, but there I stood, ready to get started.
I thought my anger-fueled instincts would push me to violently and quickly strike the canvas with brush, knives, and whatever I could find nearby, as I worked out my anger on the canvas.
Well, that did not happen.
Instead, I calmly started to paint, and it was not about my anger. I wasn’t sure what it was about, and I knew just to let it flow, and later, I would understand.
Josh Groban sang in my ears as I added the base layer using one of my favorite new brushes I found at Blick here in Savannah. I was calm, the strokes were flowy, and I had peace in my heart. All the anger faded away, and it was just me, the canvas, and Josh in harmony.
About an hour or so later, I was done for the day and did what I always do before I clean up after painting. I sat in my chair, took a few sips of wine, and stared at my painting. I was very happy with my progress and looked forward to completing it.
That evening, I was calm and introspective. I realized what I was feeling prior to painting was different than anger. The intensity of my thoughts and emotions was confusing, and I initially labeled it as anger because, at the moment, the explanation defied me.
It was a temper tantrum. I was acting like a small child. I was thinking and feeling as if I was five or six. The thoughts were illogical, the feeling too much to bear. The situation that caused it triggered the little girl inside of me. As my therapist would probably say, the original situation uncovered a foundational truth.
So, the anger was more hurt, betrayal, and abandonment, which the latter is definitely foundational for me. The impact of the situation was blunt and powerful, it snapped me back to places I had lived over five decades ago, revealing unhealed wounds.
The next day, after working on book covers and interiors since the morning, it was time to paint. I proceeded to work as I did the day before. I had vision and direction and was especially calm. Joy was found in every knife stroke, and I even tried new techniques that I was hesitant to try before.
As I sat in my chair, admiring my work, the title of the painting became obvious to me. The tantrum I had before I started this painting was based on my fears of rejection and abandonment. Yes, there was anger and hurt, but fear was at the core.
I faced my fears, completed my painting, and lived to paint another day. I am stronger than my fears.
Thank you, painting journey!