So it has been 6 months since I last painted, but today I finally picked up my brushes, pulled out my palette, and dusted off my canvas. Recently I have been wondering why I have shied away from the luscious acrylic colors all sitting in a box ready for me to use. Over time, many excuses have come up for me: I just exhibited my paintings, I moved, I needed to prepare for my pottery show. All great excuses, but not the real reason for my absence from the canvas.
After working on Julia Cameron’s The Artists’ Way for a few months, it finally occurred to me that I was having painters’ block. The real reason I was not painting is that I was not satisfied with the results of my 19/1000 hearts painting. I felt it lacked depth and soul, in short, I thought it was not good enough and I did not want to post it.
Now you may wonder what “good enough” means to me. It would be way too easy to give in to a fantasy of perfection and attempt to force good paintings to happen. That has not worked for me so far and I doubt it ever will. In order to be able to ever finish or show a painting I have had to let go of my desire for perfectionism. In place of that, perhaps more importantly, I have to feel a piece carries with it a message, or better yet, a soul.
For me, she, the unnamed girl on the canvas, lacked depth. She appeared shy, quiet, and way too demure. Her adolescent looks and weak smile conveyed doubt and fear. I started wondering if this is where I was coming from when painting faces. Indeed, I do struggle with fear and doubt about my abilities to paint, especially the human face and form. This painting had captured my fears exactly, and when I looked at it, I only wanted to run from it, ignore it, and forget about painting.
This is when I realized that if I was to get over this block, I would have to face this girl. I knew that I would have to sit with her, get to know her better and find out what she asked of me. With that in mind, I spent some time meditating and journeying and hoped that I could find the answer within, thus solving the mystery of this woman. So as I studied her features and looked into her eyes, a confident woman emerged. As I looked deeper while I worked on her expression, I could see that this woman did own her wisdom. This woman is able to see her own uniqueness and connection to the Divine. This woman can witness her own divinity.
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