Lately my "play time" has been the most productive part of being an artist. Who knew so much transformation could take place over one weekend. Especially since I technically took this weekend off!
I decided to take this last weekend off from the structured illustrations and cards I've been doing and instead, play in the studio. I even said it wasn't work.. and I really mean that! I DO have a hard time relaxing because I love to stay busy... but I took this weekend off from my current work demands, and gave into my creative and intuitive side.
I recently signed up for Mindy's E-course Permission To Play. It's a 12 month art course on loosening up and learning to play while making art! I thought it would be great to do on the weekends as a way for me to stay creative and learn a few new techniques. I've always wanted to add a little more "play" into my artwork, and I saw the class the day before sign-ups ended so I jumped right in! So far I've done a bout 3 of the projects and I've already felt myself loosen up so much.. but what's more, is I'm really liking the new work that is coming from me!
Most of my work is planned out, with reference photos, sketches and a good idea of what I hope to see as the finished piece. But for the last year or so, I've been wanting less structure and restriction in my work. I look at old work and see boxes, structure and plans... So I have decided to play more, leave mistakes, and let things transform. I try to go in with an open mind and no real expectations of what the end piece will look like.
I've been focusing on creating more intuitively. To express with color and brush stroke, rather than details and stories. I want to paint moments of emotion, and the colors of thought.
I've learned a lot about myself in these last few years. I have had a lot of self discoveries, and an acceptance of traits that I've been suppressing.. Like how I'm a total clean freak! I love my closet to be arranged by color. And I pay very close attention to details. Accepting these traits and using them has really enhanced my well being.. but I've always felt that when I create, I would like to feel less in control of every detail. I want my work to be expressive.
I love illustrating, and I love painting portraits, but I there is something wild inside me that makes me want to loosen up and just express myself. An urge to go with the flow, and watch something transform in front of me.
I love hidden symbols within my paintings and illustrations. When I plan paintings, I like to hide the symbols.. but when I go in with no real plan, I end up finding symbols.
Many of my Tarot Cards and illustrations are carefully planned and detailed. I love hidden symbology and meanings. I do so much research on my symbols and meanings. Many of my cards are meditated on or seen in a vision. I will have the meaning of the card in mind, or the emotion I would like to convey, then I meditate on it or sleep on it, and pretty soon I will have a vision of that card.
But finding symbols and meanings within splatters, textures and and colors is not only eye opening, but soul opening. Finding faces hidden in splatters and movements is intriguing. I could get lost in outlining hidden eyes, uncovering trees and cathedrals, unearthing words and moments. Then Finally to take a step back and find the meaning that my subconscious wanted to express. Not just for me, but for the viewer.
When I finished "Find Your Voice," (pictured to the left) we looked over the completed painting and searched for the possible meanings.. I was asked questions over the story and meaning within the painting.
Is she sad? Why is she touching her throat? Is she turning from the church? Are they mourning? Why the butterfly? Is she happy? Is the woman being comforted? Restricted?
And I really have no answer for anyone about the meaning of this piece, other than to ask what does it mean to you? I can tell you the meaning to me is profound, personal and relieving. I finished it and took a step back and said "Ohhh!" in realization.. "Well, I'm glad that came out." as I felt an odd weight be lifted from my shoulders.
I feel a sense of relief and empowerment when I look at it. But that's only how I feel when I look at it. Sterling said it felt political and rebellious, but others have said peaceful and happy. And I think because it was an intuitive painting, it's up to the viewers intuition and initial emotions when they see it.
What's interesting is that this came from a time of "play." Where I had no real structure or rules to follow. No worries, stresses or problems... Only the urge to express myself, and follow my intuition. To take a step back and let my higher self paint for a bit.
Here is the new painting I'm working on. This one was supposed to be a paper-hearts Valentine's themed painting, but I was a little bit behind. So instead of painting something Valentine's Day themed, I chose to paint the conjunction between the moon, Mars and Venus this last weekend.
I took a photograph on Instagram and was inspired to use that shot as part of my background. I also happened to be listening to Radical Face while painting, and the perfect words spoke to me.
"And I spent my evenings pulling stars out from the sky.
And I'd arrange them on the lawn where I would lie.
And in the wind I'd taste the dreams of distant lives."
I still have a bit more to finish with this one.. so stay tuned to see the end result! I'm very excited about it and the direction it's going.
My soul is loving this new process of creation.
Making the decision to take Mindy's Course has been such a good one.. and I'm only one month in! I can't wait to keep learning, and continue to transform.