Sheri has asked me to write a little about the painting process that I share with my students. For me it's a learning in being in the moment without my preconceived ideas abut what I'm going to do, what I'm supposed to do, and the right way to do it.
I shared with my class the other day, that I was very nervous about the class that day because even though I've been doing this for about ten years, I felt like I had no idea what was going to happen and that I wouldn't know what to do to create the space for the class to have the experience of process painting. I realized in looking at the feelings that I had that I wanted/needed to be a "good" teacher.
This is exactly what would happen to me when I painted. I was stopped from painting because I had to be good. I realized, that I actually could give myself permission to be "bad", whatever that might mean at the time. It was amazing how much freedom that gave me.
This work, is about just that: finding your freedom. Being able to respond spontaneously instead of reactively from our ingrained habits and patterns. Giving ourselves permission to go wherever we are called no matter how silly, ugly, sexual, angry, or whatever is there to express. It's about not having to worry about getting it wrong, because there is no wrong. Of course that also means you can't get it right either. But knowing that gives us such freedom to explore, be curious, have fun and just plain play. And, of course, this isn't as easy as it sounds. Our minds want to keep us in our same old habits and patterns. But this process, for some reason, gives us a very direct experience and awareness of our conditioned mind, and without that awareness we can not grow and expand our experiences.
I love the quote by Rumi, "Out beyond ideas of right and wrong, there is a field, I'll meet you there". This process is a way to get to that field, a space where we don't know. Once you have a taste of it, you want to keep on exploring. For me it is a space of grace, a space where there is no map on how to get there, nothing that we can do to make it happen. But, that glimpse of the possibilities that lasts for just seconds, is so wonderous and exciting that I continue to paint, knowing that the only thing I can do is just be right where I am, with nothing to do and nowhere to go. And the quieter I am the greater the distance I travel. Until I am right where I started.
This work has brought great joy and openings to my life. It is a privilege to share it with you.