19/1000, 14"x11" acrylic on canvas

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.

She Owns Her Wisdom, first incarnation

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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