Philosophy behind Intuitive Painting
I am in love with the experience of being swept away in the blissful tide of creativity. I love the feeling of ideas, thoughts, color and form bring pulled through me from the earth and the ethers. They pass through me bringing energy, openings, visions and vividness. My relationship with this lover is typically complex and I spend much of my time taking care of the practicalities. I enjoy the courtship, the daily chores, the work, and the slow evolution of a deep relationship with the muse. Through my work as an artist and as a teacher I hope to help others develop their relationship with what can be a passionate lover.
We live in a culture that often does not value art or appreciate its ability to free the spirit and unbind our hearts. Art is highly valued by business and advertisers as an effective way to get our attention, manipulate us and separate us from our money. I may sound a little cynical, but there is some powerful art in advertising that helps condition us to tie our emotions to a product or lifestyle or something else beyond us. As an educator I see art education validated as a method for raising math scores. This is great, as art really does work to make the brain a better practical organ, but fails to recognize the intrinsic value of creating art. Math scores are quantifiable where as the bliss of working from the depths of your soul is a little harder to measure.
I believe that the potential of creating art is for us to go on a journey where we discover the wonders and powers in ourselves. I spend a lot of time in my studio, (usually 6 to 8 hours a day) and I am a bit of a scientist working to find systems and techniques to keep the art coming from a deep and honest place. Here are a few things that work for me:
I highly value connecting with the unconscious or subconscious any way I can. I meditate, I dream and I work to remember my dreams in writing and sketches. I find ideas that fascinate me then dig into them as deep as I can with brainstorming, free association, with metaphors and with doodles. I go through cycles of digging in, researching, trying things and then relaxing, meditating and waiting. Mostly, I just work, develop my craft, try this and that and then recognize the keys to the door of honest, deep, creative experiences.
I understand the main key to the door of creating art is feeling. We can feel it in our bodies when we get a layer deeper. There is an energy shift, an opening, a rush, an aahaah experience. We have unbound ourselves from an aspect of restrictive conditioning, we have made a connection with ourselves and come a step closer to our own truths. These feelings can be small and subtle, especially if we are not used to listening and putting ourselves in situations where we can notice them. These feelings can be strong, bringing bliss or sadness. I have been amazed at how many tears are shed in my intuitive painting classes.
As I learn to go deep into my subconscious I get to a place where I feel I am connecting to thoughts and experiences beyond myself. This could be Jung’s collective unconscious where we can all tap into shared symbols, thoughts and aspects of the universe. Whatever it is, it brings the richness of feeling connected to something vast and awesome. When I draw from this depth I feel that I am being as honest as I can be. I don’t know anything deeper than this.
I was recently reintroduced to the concept of Duende, a Spanish word that is deep with meanings for inspiration and creativity. Duende is a spirit; a dictionary refers to it as an evil or creative spirit. This says something about how repressive societies have feared the creative spirit. The Duende written of by poets refers to an earth spirit that rises with passion through the artist. “ It burns through the soles of the dancers feet, or expands the torso of the singer. It courses through the blood and breaks through the poet’s back like a pair of wings”, Lorca says it is art that touches and transfigures death.
I think what we are talking about is flaming passion. The arts offer us an avenue to awaken and experience passion in our lives. By learning to listen to our intuitions, by opening to the world of our subconscious and beyond, by developing and practicing our art form, by opening to the passion expressed in arts, we can learn to live more passionate, fulfilling lives.
Art Courses for Developing Intuition and Creativity
Through our life experience each of us has come to a different place. Some can recognize and feel the power of great art, that is the art that transfigures death and hits us deep in our center, transforming and opening us to life. Some have had this type of experience through creating art and some have been brought to this place through other life processes. Most had at least hints of these experiences.
All of the courses and workshops I teach are based on the belief that we can turn our focus inside and find paths that lead to the joy of true creativity. Painting and drawing are effective vehicles in which to open to the voice and feeling of our deeper selves. This is a step by step process that relies on a number of conditions and techniques.
The primary condition for this journey is a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental environment. No one comments on other peoples work, no one analyzes or judges the work. The truth is that in this exploration you cannot go wrong or make mistakes. In these courses we work with our inner dialogue to put the Judge on the back benches. Each step along the path of creating a painting we put the “should” aside and go with the “what if”. We find language that frees us to step into our intuition. As we practice this process in this environment we learn that it is safe to go down this path and learn to welcome the power and intensity of the feelings that may arise.
Our best tool in this process is recognizing and listening to our feelings and emotions. There are no wrong feelings. What we might have thought were negative feelings such as emptiness, frustration, or feeling constricted are only steps along the path. We must be willing to feel them and then take the next step. As we stumble along, running into ourselves over and over again, we eventually learn to accept and realize that these things do not define us. As we listen to our intuitive voice and make the next step we start to recognize and validate that fire in us that wants express its self. Depending on our life experience, this can be a small ember or a raging fire. Each is precious and we learn to validate and appreciate these signposts. Feeling is our best clue in this exploration. By simply creating with form and colour we can experience a full range of emotions. At times, after recognizing our intuition, we will make a mark or choose a colour that will open us to a deep and powerful feeling. There may be a shift of energy or a strong sensation in our core.
There may be memories, images, old hurts and joys coming to the surface. It is important to recognize these feelings and then translate them to colour and form.
Intuitive painting can be therapeutic and healing. It can bring spiritual experience and deep realization. However, these courses are not Art therapy. They are not about analyzing, but about feeling, recognizing and going deeper into the creative core.
Throughout these courses there is technical instruction to support the intuitive process and to build up our toolbox with a variety of tools and knowledge to better express ourselves.
The focus of the courses is to put ourselves in a place of limitless choices and then to listen and choose a voice that speaks from our intuitive core. It is a process of learning to recognize and trust these messages. We learn to listen to the voice that is uniquely us, to feel its energy and allow it to speak through us. The opening brings energy and transformation in to our lives. This is a process that can help us find more passion and fulfillment in our lives and if we pursue it to it’s depths it can help us experience el duende, the spirit of creativity that is at the core of powerful, honest art.