Monday, March 19, 2012

Flowing with the Energy of the Paint

I came to this painting differently than I have with others.  I wanted to continue my conversation with the paint that I am having around integrating my multiple dreams in life.  This time, I decided to set my intention in a different way by asking the painting a question; literally.  I began the painting by painting words with my fingers on the paper; words that represented the dreams that I am seeking to incorporate into my life.  I used the color themes from the previous paintings  -- purple, green and red -- to ask the question.  Then I rubbed the questions, the words, into the paper, into the painting, setting my intention; asking my question.
As I painted the words on the paper, I received an invitation to continue to paint with just my hands.  This changed the painting experience for me.  It became more physical.  There was nothing between me and the paint.  There was no space between the energy of the paint and my energy.  I experienced this painting.  My body had to be fully engaged in the painting for it to happen.  And that was a powerful experience that really brought to life the flow of my energy in my body.
I began by forming circles on the paper.  Purple circles.  Green circles. Red circles.  Then I started moving, blending the paint; pulling the paint up and down, left to right;  allowing the paint to flow however it wanted to.  I added more paint, different colors where I felt the invitation.  I rubbed them together flowing, curving according to how my body wanted to flow with the paint.  Some times I slapped the paint on, large quantities of paint.  Other times, I used one or two fingers to add various amounts of paint and rub them in.  And yet, at other times, I gently added tinted white to bring out the flow of the paint, to allow the colors to do what they wanted. 
I found at times I worked vigorously, really working the paint, the colors and paper together.  At other times, I worked gently enhancing, adding details to the flow.  
For much of the time, I left the bottom right corner empty.  I put a circle there.  First purple.  That wasn’t right.  Then lighter purple.  Not right.  Then white.  Definitely not right.  And finally yellow.  Yes, yellow felt right.  I added different tones of yellow allowing them to come together and become the yellow they wanted to be.
Between changes of the color of the circle, I returned to the flow.  I flowed around that circle awaiting the moment of YES!  And when it came, something broke free; something released inside me.  Something invited me deeper and deeper into the flow of my energy, into how it was flowing, where it was not flowing.  I ran out of time.  The “ah ha” moment came at the right time; awakening me to the work that needs to be done; to the call to go deeper into my chakras, into my energy, into what the Holy is inviting me to do and be in the world.
I have been doing just that for the past few weeks.  I have started writing morning pages (a spiritual discipline suggested by the Artists Way).  I have explored those monsters in my life; those people and experiences that have squashed my energy, my power, my will.  I have written them out realizing that the theme is about my voice in the world.  And that makes sense to me.  
Blue is the color of the throat chakra, the voice, the place from which I communicate my truths and express my thoughts, beliefs, opinions in the world.  Blue is a color I have longed stayed away from in painting.  In my personal supply I don’t have any.  I covered the blue ray in my goddess paint with clouds and the spiral journey.   Blue is the color I chose for those tears on my second chakra painting.  Blue was the hardest color to add to this flowing painting.  (I glossed over the blue time and time when I went to pick a new color.)  Blue is my block; where my energy gets caught; where I have experienced deep spiritual violence.
And that makes sense to me.  I am stuck in the awakening of my dreams and visions.  I am stuck in bringing them to fruition.  I am at the place where I need to use my voice to begin to express and develop these dreams in myself and in the world.   I am at the gathering place -- the place of gathering those who will help me discern and ignite these visions in the world. This requires my voice...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The journey toward integration continues....

A continuation of painting my sacral chakra...

My teacher’s comment regarding painting green and purple on my sacral chakra painting -- “It is there.  Deal with it. (what I heard not so much her exact words)”  has been echoing in my head.  I decided to take this one step further.  I  decided to paint another painting with the question of integrating these two dreams together in my head.  Are they complimentary dreams?  or Are they conflicting?
Images had been coming to me in my dreams, images expressing a merging and yet a distinguishing of these two dreams.  It was almost like they are distinct and yet not.  I don’t know how to explain it.  That was the feeling inside myself that I needed to see on paper and explore through paint and brush.
So I got out my paint and brushes and sponges and paper.  I set up my table for painting.  I set out on this journey to paint out this vision that had been haunting my dreams -- awake and asleep.
I began by painting a figure (myself) standing in the “Bring it on” yoga pose (as a friend of mine has named it), with my arms stretching up to heaven and my feet rooted solidly on the ground.  It feels like a cross between bring it on and praise of the Holy.  I split the figure in half; half green, half purple.  The head reddish-orange.  I worked at melding the purple and green together and it sort of worked, but not really.  I added some white and began to work it into the purple and green.  That was better.  It made it look like the figure was clothed in a multi-colored robe. The head became a sun.  Yellow shining forth from it flowing across the painting.
Then I moved further into the image of my dreams.  The figure in my dreams became a tree that integrated both dreams together.  I added branches flowing from the arms, flowing outward.  The branches curved again into spirals.  That I did not expect, but I should have.  This integration is a journey, an exploration.  It is rooted deep in my spirit and soul, deep in my grounded self.  So I brought the branches down to the ground, bringing the brown into the green and purple and white of the robe.

I picked up the sponge.  I began to add the leaves.  Purple.  Then green.  Then another shade of purple.  Then another shade of green.  I layered them one on top of the other.  I let them come together however they wanted.  
And this is when the journey of this painting become most interesting.  The leaves, the branches, the tree really brought to the forefront the head of this figure.  It seemed to stick out, not right -- at least to my gut.  Orange red did not work.  It did not bring together the two dreams.  So, I left it.  I walked away for a bit to give myself some time away, to allow the work that was done to settle in my spirit and soul.  I took the pup for a walk.
When I came back, I looked at it again.  It was definitely not right.  It needed to be a different color.  I attempted to lighten it with yellow, but that did not work.  Then I had this idea...what if these dreams were like a yin/yang in my life?  So I picked up the brush and sponge and created a yin/yang symbol where the head was.  When I was done, I looked at the painting.  This change, changed the entire painting; the feel of the entire painting; the expression of integration -- and not in a good way.  It felt split.  I could see distinctly the green and purple and how they were not melting together.  And I felt somewhat defeated.  It felt again like that reaction to my sacral chakra when I first put the purple and green together.  Wrong!
“Deal with it.”  Echoing again in my head.  
Deal with it.
Ok.  Breathe.
I went back to the spiral, to the motif of journey and process.  I painted a spiral of the opposing color coming down the side of the trunk and spiraling out at its root.  It pulled the painting further apart, segregating more and more the two colors, the two dreams.  
This yin/yang was not working for me.  It was not helping me express integration.  It was helping me clarify what these dreams were not about.  But how they went together, not so much.  I left it on there though.  I continued the journey to explore the spiral roots of this tree.  I painted a garden on one spiral, combining the colors green and purple.  The purple garden growing out of the green spiral, blossoming out of the center of the spiral.  I liked that.
I painted a forrest growing at the base of the purple spiral, bringing together both the green and the red (from the head).  The leaves appeared unexpectedly, but really brought the spiral to life.  These I liked.  I liked seeing how each dream can bring the other to life.  How each separate dream can offer the grounding fertilizing soil through which the other dream will grow to its fullness.  That is cool!
But I was left with this yin/yang head that was just cutting at the core of the painting.  Look at it.  It really takes away the integration of the two dreams.  

I walked away again.  I gave myself a break from the work.  I was worried that I was running away from the challenge put in front of me.  But I had not clue was to do.  I had no clue where to go.  I sat quietly in the other room.  I played with the pup, because as soon as I sit quietly all pup toys end up at my feet.  What else can you do?
It was in the first game of tug -- real game of tug where the pup was working hard to win -- that it came to me.  The head, the center, the sun (so to speak) of this painting had to meld the two colors together into a color spectrum from purple to green and then smudge into the rest of the painting.  So I went back (to the chagrin of the pup) to the painting.  I picked up the purple and green and covered the yin/yang.  I used the sponge to bring the colors together, to meld them so that you could not tell where one begins and the other ends.  I added yellow to the edges and rubbed it in, pulling the color outward and integrating the edging into the painting.  Then I stood back and looked.  That was better. 
I added more yellow coming from the center, from the sun and shining outward over the entire painting, over the leaves, over the trunk, over the meadow of flowers, over the forrest.  And I left the painting, not sure if it is done.  But I left it with my teacher’s question echoing in my head, “Tell me three more things you can do to this painting...”
It does not feel done yet, just like my sacral chakra does not feel done yet.  It feels like I have made good progress in this processing.  Every time I look at it, I ask myself what three more things can I do to this painting.  One answer comes again and again:  Make the sun rise over a mountain where the peak is a light purple and the shade changes to a deep green by the base.  Yet fear rises within me -- fear of ruining the painting; fear of covering over what it there; fear that is causing resistance, resistance to go deeper and deeper and deeper. 
I need to just do it.  I need to take that deep breathe and paint that mountain and break through this wall of resistance....and yet I haven’t... I just keep staring at it wondering...  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Working at Integrating my dreams....My Sacral Chakra

I was not ready for what happened in this painting.  It had been an extremely busy week.  I had to get all my hours in before heading to PA to paint.  I wrote two sermons, prepared bulletins, prepared for Saturday’s confirmation, planned ahead in worship, and fulfilled the normal office-oriented stuff that comes up all in two days.  
The night before was Ash Wednesday.  I had to preach.  I set up the altar and displayed my paintings.  I preached.  I preached about rebirth and how we are born anew from the ashes of our lives.  Then I got in my car and drove to Philadelphia.
I painted my sacral chakra the next morning.  I did not feel ready for that.  I had not begun to transition from paying attention to root chakra to moving into my sacral chakra.  AND I brought my paintings to discuss and process with my teacher.  
So, it felt abrupt to move into this painting.  I taped together two pieces of paper and put it up on the wall.  And I stared at it.  I went and got orange paint.  I held it and stared at the paper.  I took a breath, put the brush in the paint and painted a line on the paper.  And I repeated it again and again.  Each stroke felt more and more wrong.  So I put down the brush and grabbed a sponge and covered the paper in orange -- completely.  That felt better, but not yet comfortable or centered.  And that is how I felt through this whole process -- off-kilter.
I stared at the orange paper and decided to implement the process I used to get into my root chakra to get myself into my sacral chakra.  I painted red up from the bottom.  I painted yellow down from the top.  And I came to the middle, the metaphorical place of my sacral chakra -- between my root and solar plexus.  All that I felt was tears.  Tears and more tears.  Stuck.
I attempted yellow right there coming out from the center brightening -- holy -- sacred.  But that was not right.  My teacher asked what was happening.  
I was stuck.  The last thing I did was so not right.  
She asked what I felt -- what color was there.  Green and purple.  
What shape.  No idea.  
Put green and purple on the paper and see what happens.  Paint it out....
I did.  I put green and purple on that painting and had such a strong hatred-oriented reaction to that movement.  I wanted with all my being to scrape it off.  
My teacher said no.  
I wanted to rip the painting apart to get rid of it.  
No. It is on there and deal with it.  
What’s there?  Tears. 
Paint it!  
So I did.  I decided the way to paint tears was to throw blue paint onto the painting over the green and purple. It seems to be a theme in my painting... to get out the obstacles, to get the energy flowing, throw paint.  Throw it hard.  Throw it til that feeling goes away.  Then breathe....
When I breathed I saw it.  This Re-awakening that I am experiencing awakened numerous dormant dreams.  In this case green and purple.  These dreams that were re-awakened feel like now is the time for both to come to fulfillment.  But can they?  Do they go hand in hand?  Will they compliment each other?  Or do I have to give one up for the other?  Ah, the tears....
I found myself working hard to integrate these two dreams, these two colors, these two shapes together.  That is what I did with the rest of my painting time.  I worked and worked at it.  
I began with painting an upward flow switching the colors ending in spirals.  This is about the journey of integration.  I swirled the opposite color into each other spiraling again.  Hmmm another theme.  
But they were not coming together.  They were still quite distinct, quite separate; just flowing next to each other.
It did not matter what I tried.  That feeling did not go away.  I painted and painted.  It still felt split, torn.  I added brightness.  That exemplified the split in my soul; in my dreams; in my re-awakening.  
I think now that is where I am at.  I’m working at bringing both dreams to fulfillment at the same time.  They are different, drastically different.  And yet, they could be complimentary in time. 
This painting.  It does not feel done.  I have not signed it.  It sits and I stare at it.  I am waiting for the moment when it feels complete.  I think that it is point of this painting.  I am staring at the struggle to Re-Awaken, to weave together those dormant dreams, to explore all the pathways and allow the Energy of the Holy to illuminate which one when, then to mourn (if needed) the leaving of one or the other for a time; not forever, just for a time.
And so for now, I am waiting.  I am working.  I am following these separate, complimentary paths to dreams that I hope can and will integrate in time. I am keeping all the balls in the air...