Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Canyon Spirits" - The Evolution of a Painting...

I started this painting nearly a year ago in a moment of frustration, thus the red color and hash marks all over the place, painting in circles.  I am an intuitive painter, so I do not have an “intention” for the painting when I start.  I like to just see what evolves and what emerges out of it… Painting this way is a “practice” in letting go, of not having expectations – hopefully J - in not being “in control” of where it goes; like life actually – not being “in control” of life, but allowing oneself to be open and vulnerable to how it unfolds.  It’s very challenging actually to live that way – as well as to paint that way…  There can be lots of frustration…  It originaly looked like this (below) and sat like this on the easel for 7-8 months.

Every time I looked at it I kept seeing the face of a Tiger, and wondered how I could make it *look* like a Tiger, not having the trained artistic experience or skill to do that.  (The Tiger is no longer apparent, as other things emerged.)  When I started painting again in May/June I was still trying to figure out how to make it look like the Tiger that I saw, thus the single painted in eye, as that is what my mind saw. 

And then a “voice” said: keep looking, look deeper.  I wasn’t hearing things, it was the voice of my husband actually, as I discussed my frustration with not being able to create what I saw in my head.  He said – don’t stay fixated on your idea of what it is supposed to look like, but keep looking and see what else is there.  Something we need to do in life as well – look deeper, beyond the surface, and see what is really there.  So I kept looking.  And suddenly *many* different faces started emerging!  (see close-up below). Initially I saw what looked like the outline of a man’s face in a window with closed eyes, and nose, (near the middle), blended into another partial face slightly under the first one.  A woman’s silhouette in a window appeared on the right, up against what appeared to be two back to back “caricature” profiles, with a flat hat.  And then an owl appeared on the far left, and blended into what looked like a coyote face with mouth open, which blended in with the man’s face, and so on…  There’s even a little fox face tucked in there somewhere… And some teepees too :)

 The whole painting took on a different look, a different feel.  It had transformed itself.  It became a terracotta desert canyon against a night sky – and another realm beyond.  Totally unintentional…  Amazing. 

In the lower right hand corner there appeared to be a grouping of hash marks standing around what appeared to be the glow of a hidden fire…  To me they were Native peoples standing around a fire as smoke rose into the canyon and beyond, where a Raven glides through firey skies…

In the lower left hand corner there was the clear outline of yet another fire, with two “figures” nearby.

And so goes the story and evolution of a painting that took on a life of its own, inviting me to look more deeply… Like life…


  1. Beautiful. I loved reading about the process. What a great metaphor for life. <3

  2. This is how I like to proceed into the Mystery, too, Christine. . . I, too, loved reading (and seeing) how your painting progressed. My own blank canvas still waits for me to dare to splotch it up on my attic easel. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. This is beautiful, the letting go of the need to control, your painting well illustrates how letting go gives space for all things to unfold in their own due time...

    I see all of the faces and figures they are delightful x

    BTW Did you ever create a collage this way? I used to make one every full-moon, always intuitively, it amazes me what comes through... x

    1. Thank you Sue! Yes, so true... It was truly an "exploration" into the unknown :) It's was a little nerve-wracking! lol

      Yes, I have done collages in the past on poster board... I have tons and tons of cut magazines pics and words and phrases in plastic containers! lol :) Hugs

  4. This is beautiful and reminds me so much of the mysterious scenery we've been taking in here in the Southwest!

    1. Ha-ha :) Yes - I actually thought about you in your new surroundings when I finished it this week!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks David :) It'll probably be another year before I "progress" with another one! lol

  6. loving the close ups of this piece! I learned an interesting thing recently, to continually turn the piece around as I work. I am finding this so helpful in letting go of what I see and getting a feel for what the piece needs.
    Happy painting.

    1. Thanks Carole... I have heard of that technique too... :)


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