"There is a moment in the making of all of my paintings when sheer joy supersedes the process of creation. This is the coming together of all the thoughts, emotions, actions, marks, and energy which have been put into the making the painting. The feelings are overwhelming and cause me to pause mid brush stroke. A feeling of bliss overtakes me. I give into the feelings until I am immersed in unconditional love!"
I have felt the urge to paint since I was a little girl. I longed to be immersed in creativity. My mind could sense the energy that came from the art we made at school or the art I saw hanging on the walls of the doctor’s office. I was already looking within as I felt an emotional response well up inside myself, but I didn’t know how to release the feelings. I joyfully watched my older sister draw beautiful flowers and pictures of houses with happy little yards. I wanted to do what she was doing - to take my feelings and put them out there for the world to see. No matter how hard I tried. I never could reproduce her creative results, and eventually I gave up.
But, the creativity never did settle down inside of me. In the back of my mind I was always wanting to express the emotions I’d kept stuffed inside. I wanted to be, needed to be, an artist. But, I kept that bit of information to myself. As I grew up I became more self-conscious and believed people would think my dream was silly. I was taught that real artists were few and far between and to be successful I had to paint like Rembrandt or Renoir. Certainly, I didn’t think of myself on the same level as The Masters?
I didn’t want to paint like the Masters. I had found myself compelled by modern art. I reveled in the large swathes of color and the dynamic use of line and symbols in the abstract art world. I could stare forever into a Rothko, getting lost in the bold yet subtle hues of orange and yellow. The Abstract Expressionist’s were speaking my language. I longed to know how to respond.
The urge to express my emotions grew despite my attempts at acting like it didn’t exist., until finally, I allowed myself to experience creativity in all its wonders. I found the courage to stand up and take my place in front of the easel. I went to art school and quickly associated myself with fellow artists who were into the abstract. I was now being encouraged to share my ideas and emotions my way instead of feeling the need to copy someone else. This step took some effort as I had to fight against the mainstream concepts of what makes something art. I wasn’t fighting with society. I was fighting with myself and all the things I had learned about art growing up. Did my work truly express anything at all or was it all just a bunch of marks on a canvas?
I bravely raised my internal voice to be heard out loud. My marks on the canvas spoke volumes! My new vocabulary consisted of squiggly lines, shapes, and color. I found that gesture had become my way of letting creativity flow!
I continue along this same path today, celebrating freedom of expression and searching for new ways to participate in my own creativity. I assure other aspiring creatives that they too can find their voice and share themselves with the world and I can help them learn how. Abstract expression may seem foreign, but it is truly a language in which we can all understand. Creativity unites.
Keeping in the spirit of self-acceptance and self-expression my favorite self portrait is one that I'd say is of my worst feature, not something that I usually enhance or make a focal point. However, our worth and value are often judged based on an outside aesthetic - a smile. My teeth are not pretty. It's a fact, but they are my teeth. Their appearance is unimportant but can have such a profound effective on how we're perceived. My decision was to embrace rather than hide this 'defect'. I've put it out there for the whole world to see, bad or good, because I am not my teeth. Expression is worth the risk. Abstract art makes a great portrait since we're asking ourselves, and others to see us in a differently.
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