I love paintings of flowers. Their vibrant colors make me smile, and they tingle my sense memory. But there were no flowers or paintings of flowers in my life that day.
I looked out at the quiet, bleak parking lot from my apartment, then back to the possessions inside my apartment. Both seemed dead.
Depression was my life now–work, lonely nights, work.
I felt empty, cold as stone inside, and lost. I couldn’t feel anything!!
Where was the vibrant young girl of my youth? Where were her goals, her life?
I decided to look for my soul at the art museum. Classic religious art shouted at me about deep pain, struggle, and survival. I glanced at them, wondering why anyone would paint about anguish. The depth of this misery made me shiver and move on. I do not believe life has to be such a struggle.
Where was the flame of passion art? I saw power and passion in the classic horse and rider paintings like Bonaparte Crossing the Great St Bernard Pass by Jacques Louis David.
Bonaparte Crossing the Great St Bernard Pass by Jacques Louis David.
Victory was there after the struggle. It stirred my will to carry on in my life.
The Soul Touch
Where was the Soul regeneration art? The art that calms the soul, soothes the troubled mind, brings peace and contentment? Ah, there it was in the early American and California landscapes, the passionate colors of Georgia O’Keeffe flowers, still life bouquets of flowers with bees, ladybugs. Nature was soothing my troubled mind. I sat there for an hour staring, feeling, absorbing the colors, and tranquility from the beauty that was all around me.
Jumping into Art
The mixed medium art class grabbed my attention and kept me riveted to the catalog page. My mind started a conversation.
“You are a terrible artist. What makes you think you can express yourself? You can’t even draw good stick people! You will be so embarrassed when others in the class create prettier pictures that you do.”
I decided not to listen to the belittling voice. I signed up.
Excitedly, I arrived early to class and watched enraptured as the teacher painted. A few colored strokes and an object started to take form. It seemed so easy, like playing in colors.
I picked up a brush and watched as colors floated across the paper. When shapes and colors took form, my buried feelings of joy arose. Wow, I was painting. My head swirled with new ideas like a young child exploring art for the first time. What if I painted the bird in subdued blue with dark blue highlights? I watched the teacher demonstrate on my art paper. Wow, I stared at the bird who now seemed real and beautiful.
I kept painting with no idea of what I was creating. It didn’t matter. I was painting. I was calm, my soul happy to be playing with colors and shapes, my sense of accomplishment soaring within me.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.—Erich Fromm
I was squealing with childlike joy and excitement as the brush moved across the paper as if guided by some invisible force. I was one with peace, joy, beauty and my Inner Child’s re-activated self-expression. I was alive again.
Many art classes and books later, I still use art to reach my soul, express my yearnings for creating beauty, or just to play with color and shapes. I feel drawn in, as if I am a part of the O’Keeffe’s flower or the gallant victorious hero on a horse.
Now I can unearth my deep emotional wisdom from myself through my art. I love to help others see themselves in their art. The crazy images, doodles and angry or fearful lines on the paper speak, “This is your issue.”
The heart’s true, authentic, deep intelligence shines forth in art and we feel reconnected.