Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
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Learning How to Paint Again

I've decided to get back to painting. 

Painting for me has always been about healing through discovery and action, putting oils and acrylic on a brush and letting myself explore what's deep inside, trying to figure out how to convey it through color and design. 

I first started painting in college. I would go into the studio by myself and using clean, vibrant colors would apply them to the canvas not knowing what would happen.  I was comfortable with abstract designs back then and didn't want to force a likeness of a landscape or a familiar face even though I've always been good at drawing these things. I wanted to paint my soul!

Now I like to watch and capture what's around me, sometimes all three dimensions.  I enjoy seeing how space and shape interact in nature and watching my hand and heart transfer them to the canvas. 

I like to paint what I'm attracted to.  And I'm particularly drawn to flowers, cats and people because there's an energy there for me,  a life force I can hold on to in my brush and then transfer carefully to a still and peaceful place on a clean flat surface.  It's a way of honoring these things, of showing my love of watching and learning from them. 

The truth is, I want to make pretty pictures!  I want to brighten the day of others that view them.  I want to create moments of enjoyment that takes them outside of themselves. 

Painting is no longer about me!  It's no longer about the unseen, the vague, the "deep" I needed to understand and release when I was thirty years younger and freer.  Using art as a tool for self-absorption seems like a waste of time.  

And I've discovered I'm actually boring! I just am.  

The only thing interesting about my life is that there's a world around me I can interact with, hold, shape, transform, celebrate, and make my own somehow.   Sometimes I can find a world that's truly beautiful and can turn it into a beautiful image all my own.  

Today,  I don't want to explore the unknowable and intangible. I  want to embrace the world in front of me and share what I see with color and passion.  I want to learn to paint again not like I use to paint but still with the cleanest, most vibrant colors I can find.

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