Self-discovery is a lifelong process. There are many avenues that lead us to the inner space where we can find ourselves, our shadows, our talents, our passions, and griefs. Artmaking is the way I often seek to find myself.
I returned to my painting this week. I sat in front of the canvas to meditate. After a few silent moments I was moved to stand facing the painting, just a few inches away. I wanted to have a conversation with the canvas, to feel what it would say to me. I put my right hand up against the top right quadrant and my left hand to the middle left of the painting, with my palms flat on the canvas. I immediately felt the canvas give behind my hands and I felt as if I was falling into the painting. I moved slightly back to recover my stance. I removed my hands from the canvas and stood motionless for a few seconds. All the sudden, I felt compelled to back up, to move a foot away from the canvas. There I waited, with my eyes closed, in front of the canvas to see what it would say to me. Two dark symbols appeared in my mind’s eye. I retrieved my paints sticks and drew the symbols on the canvas.
What is the experience saying to me? From the place of grounding, I made a movement inward, seeking to know, to have a conversation with myself, with the canvas. There was some give and take, some intimacy and pushing back. Am I open with myself? Are there parts of my inner self that are yet hard for me to access? I am willing to stay in the conversation, to explore what is revealed between the canvas and me, what comes in images, movement, and paint. In this way, my artmaking becomes a place of self-discovery and awareness.