10″ x 14″Acrylic and Sharpie Pen on Canvas
This piece was very different to anything I’ve done before. I have been wanting for a long time to be able to sit up and just ‘play’ with paints with no agenda, no preconceived ideas. I finally had two full days with nothing on (no medical appointments, yay!) and I was feeling a little stronger, so I did just that.
Usually before I start a piece I have a strong idea of what it will look like. I’ll have a drawn plan and an idea in my head of the steps to make it come to life. This time I wanted to abandon that and paint with intuition.
I started with a set of pastel coloured acrylic paints. I put them on with the squeegie, and one of the colours was orange. When I put them on with the squeegie, the orange totally overtook the painting. I was uncomfortable and almost upset – I really don’t like orange as a colour and I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought I’d ruined it. It was certainly not the soft pastel palette I’d had in mind. But I told myself to relax, go with it and sit with it and see if something could come of it. Then I painted red and pink squiggles and it looked a little better, but not complete. I left it overnight.
Then next day I looked at what I had and the colours made me think of fire. I felt like I wanted the fire coming from the bottom right hand corner, and I doodled for a while until I was happy with the shape of the fire. Then I drew it on the painting. It didn’t look complete, but I wanted flames coming from the fire, so I doodled all over the painting. I feel a lot of pressure when putting a layer of black like this on – if you stuff it up you can’t go back. But I was happy with how it turned out (below). Then I thought it looked a little empty so I filled areas in to contrast the black areas and the coloured areas.
I was really happy with the result. The flame at the heart of the painting looks to me like a dove diving. So that made me feel like at the heart of this fire is peace. The flames are fierce but flowing, and beautiful. I feel them within. I feel like this is a representation of how I am feeling at the moment – I’ve had a lot to deal with lately and within are powerful flames burning fiercely. But at my heart is peace. I am ok.
The process of this painting taught me valuable lessons. Be calm, if things go in an unexpected route you don’t like, don’t panic. Sit with it and it may turn out more beautiful and powerful than you previously would have planned. Be brave, intuitive and accepting.