Where to begin…I thought it best to remember my space. Here in the shadow of this stunning desert landscape I painted a landscape, of sorts, of my own.
If you had told me when I arrived to Ghost Ranch for a week of Painting from Your Wild Heart on Thursday afternoon that I would be taking home a 6ft high by 7.5ft wide painting a week later I would have chuckled with amusement and disbelief.
I came to this magical land with an open heart and little expectation. I left with a full and open heart, and another magical landscape of my own. My new landscape is so full of possibility and love and enthusiasm for the creative process – mine and seedlings of more ways to share it with others.
[note – this is a rather long post, and I have written it as much for me as for you]
My painting began in a predictable way…with curving lines. These lines are always comforting to me, and form a river. The female figure was a bit of a surprise, but it was still a river. And the colors – purples & blues – all me!
Adding the golden leaves also felt predictable and comfortable, especially as it is September and fall in the high country.
The next day I covered the leaves with rocks, and I also played with color and texture in the river. I honestly wanted to be finished then – because I thought this lovely figure/river would look beautiful where I had another tall intuitive artwork piece in my studio.
But the point wasn’t to create a piece for the wall, it was to go where the juiciness laid.
What scared me Chris would ask?
I was was scared, and also intrigued, to go bigger. This river wanted to be turned on it’s side and have paper added above. And so I listened…
Once I added paper I did not know what wanted to happen next; my first lines were words written with a white oil pastel: Every being and spirit deserves to be, even me. The next lines were not all that unpredictable – the rock cliffs I was looking out upon as I painted.
Angsty feelings arose as I added color to the cliffs with watered down paint – until some magic happened.
The sun hit my painting and the most amazing shadows appeared in the ripples of the paper. I felt like I was looking upon the beautiful canyon walls that surround Ghost Ranch. I could not have not done this if I had tried.
Next I created a night sky.
Then I wanted to add a Coelophysis dinosaur (I had walked along the Coelophysis Quarry on one of my hikes and my fascination had taken me to the Museum of Paleontology on the Ghost Ranch grounds afterwards.) I am not confident in my drawing skills, and I only had a hazy recollection of the skeleton I had seen at the museum.
Chris firmly and lovingly told me that I could not look at anything for reference – that this would squash my creativity. But she insisted I could create the dinosaur, and it would be my creature.
Ha I thought…and then…what could I lose by trying. I went for it, and I love him.
My painting began to become a world for every being and spirit (even fairies:) This was not a plan when I wrote the words underneath the surface of the painting.
Can you catch a glimpse of one of the fairies in the image with me painting?
All of this over the days that included an amazing movement practice and aliveness check-in each morning with the beautiful circle of women I was painting with; and walks to and from camp where Gandalf the Grey (our trusty camper van) was home; hikes amongst the landscape; tears and laughter; star gazing and desert sounds.
And then one evening my painting told me it wanted to get even bigger! What!?
I wanted to add some sort of shelter, but it felt like it would not fit on my current painting.
And so I added another panel using the paper I had smudged with left over paint a little earlier.
And yes – this unfolded, too. It was a crazy, alive, some times scary and frustrating, joy-filled adventure – to just keep painting, adding color and life to this painting on paper using cheap tempera paints.
And then our time Painting from the Wild Heart came to a close. I felt a sadness, and also a satisfaction and a joy. I had shown-up and painted from my wild heart, spent time in circle with beautiful women, wander in the stunning landscape that is Ghost Ranch, and created a joy-filled piece I would never have guessed was inside of me.
I loved being in my body and outside with the painted desert cliffs as I painted, choosing colors and images that called to me. Even if they weren’t realistic, they were filled with life & laughter, joy & adventure. I say yes to this is my life.
This is an experience I will not forget, and I look forward to painting with my whole self again – soon I hope.
The adventure and joy of expression – this is creativity my friends – in whatever colors and forms it takes for you!
Where can you find adventure and joy in expression? There will you will find your creativity, too. I hope you will take a few moments to create from your wild heart.
And I’d love to hear about your adventure!