When I create with feeling, I'm drawing in the emotions within me at any given time. Sometimes I'll begin by focussing on a particular feeling within me that I'd like to explore, for example, a memory of an afternoon spent with my son. Other times, I just paint what I feel as it arises, doing my best to live in the moment and be playful in the way I match my feelings with colourful paints.
I often work on a couple of artworks at once (here's why), and for a change/challenge, I wanted to try linking these two together. I loved the 'earthy' colours of the completed artwork on the right, so I used that as my start point to unify them.
As I added new colours and shapes, the bluey yellow painting soon disappeared and began reflecting the earthy tones too.
But try as I might, it didn't 'feel' right.
As I added more and more layers; blocking out some areas, embellishing others, I began to spiral into a well of confusion. Why didn't this feel right? What was I doing wrong? Where was my usual sense of freedom as I painted?
I tried telling myself to relax and keep going, it'd all come together when it's time. Only the more paint I added, the more frustrated I felt. I kept putting the two artworks together to make sure they linked and I hated it more as I went along ... It may have looked pretty, but it just didn't feel right!
By the next morning, I woke up feeling completely out-of-sorts. How could I teach other people how to Create with Feeling, if my own art wasn't working? What was I missing?
I always find writing in my journal can really help shift creative fog and realign my thinking, because it's a wonderful way to understand myself from a different perspective.
As I wrote, I realised something:
Instead of creating with my true, honest feelings, I was focussing on how I thought my artwork 'should' look, and conforming to make it look successful.
The out-of-sorts-feeling throughout the whole painting was due to a mis-matched intention, and feeling ungrounded, as I stepped outside of my intuitive guidance.
There was nothing wrong with my creativity, I was just shrouding my inspiration with 'shoulds'.
Realising this, I began to calm down. All I needed to do, was to regroup with myself and tap back into my true feelings. Take a few deep breaths and write a little more to see what they wanted to say through my art. So I wrote these feelings down as I connected with them:
I released the intention of making an 'artwork-pair', and let this artwork take on its own life ...
As I did, these shapes, colours, objects and images unfolded, as I matched them in with my feelings:
- terracotta earth and turquoises
- mountains for strength
- tree roots for groundedness
- opening/blooming plants and flowers
- natural, hand-drawn elements
- grasses floating in the breeze
So, I did all I could do to bring about balance and speak my real truth. I painted them.
After all the struggle, through the thick layers of paint and heavy emotion, I can now honestly say I adore this artwork.
Because for me, it was a beautiful reminder of how easy it can be to paint how we 'think' something should look, rather than who we really are inside. I've struggled for many years to feel safe to speak my real truth, and this painting reminded me to stay honest and true with myself ...
To make deep, rich, beautiful art, we must let go of the 'shoulds' and go to the places inside us that are deep rich and beautiful.
For me, beginning an artwork with a rigid, pre-disposed outcome, crushes any opportunity for unique, surprising beauty to emerge.
It takes guts and deep trust to Create with Feeling, because it's all in the moment and it's all within us, if we dare let it speak on the canvas. It serves as a beautiful mirror - we can see who we really are, reflecting back to us more beauty and creative ability than we ever thought was within us.
This was a deeply personal and satisfying journey back home to myself. I feel honestly grateful for the struggle, to reunite with myself in this way. I effing love Creating with Feeling!
Love C x