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Trusting the Process
and welcoming Spring
If you’ve been reading along here since I began a few months ago, you may recall that I’ve been struggling with how to manage (or extricate myself from) social media, decide who gets to see (and judge) my work and just why exactly I do this painting thing anyway (it’s like breathing: not optional).
In my quest to answer those questions, I stumbled across the concept of process painting, which is, in simplest terms, strictly about the process of painting. I don’t mean the actual techniques involved in applying paint to paper or canvas. It’s more about what goes on in your body during the time you are painting. It’s a time and energy thing: paying attention to feelings in your body and expressing them as they come and go.
It’s a difficult concept for me to even write about because I’m trying to describe energy by using language. Seriously, there are no words.
I’ve come to think of these paintings as meditations, or journal entries: not meant for other eyes (though I am showing you one here), not polished or well crafted, and made without regard to the rules of art and design, like composition, color harmony or value. You get what you get. You get what you feel. You get a pretty clear indication of what’s going on inside. I’ve always been a person who lives very much in my head; I’m more of a thinker than a feeler. Working this way is a stretch for me, but I am finding it brings me joy and insight and the absolute pleasure that I had been missing from my art practice for a while.
Because I can’t leave my head entirely out of the fun, when I am finished, I have taken to stepping back to analyze what I have done and ask questions like, “Why did I use these colors? What do they signify for me? Why did I place certain lines or shapes where I did? Is it bottom heavy, top heavy, off balance? Does that make any sense when I recall how I was feeling?” At this point I am able to put words around what I was feeling: after I brought it into being.
I’ll rotate the page 90° to see if I see anything different, then again and again to see what insights I might gain from a new perspective. I might even make a few notes about my observations around the edges or on the back. It’s interesting to go back and read them after some time has passed and remember what was happening at the time.
Sometimes there is an “Aha” moment; sometimes, like in this painting, it just made me happy to paint with Springtime colors.
If you are a doodler, painter, mark maker of any kind, I encourage you to give it a try. Free yourself up to make a little art without judgment and just for yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with me here. I appreciate you!