A PAINting Experience

I spent all of last weekend surrounded by and immersed in a world of paint. Standing in front of blank pieces of white paper hung on the wall, I would wonder what color I felt needed to join the already-existing chorus of color.

Through the process of painting so intensively over two and a half days, I made many discoveries.

I discovered, for instance, that although I’d looked forward to the workshop as a much-needed break from focusing on ongoing family health issues, there was no escaping the present reality. I’d intended to recharge and maintain a positive outlook through the doing of art, so my first attempts were limited to painting only in bright colors; pink, bright green and yellow.

After a couple of hours of trying to create an abstractly pastoral scene, Annie approached me and, with an unmistakable in-your-face, cut-through-the-BS look that nearly knocked me breathless, she asked, what about your pain?

Although I had earlier explained why I was limited in my ability to lift heavy boxes and carry furniture, I never expected such a boomerang. Annie meant no harm – that was perfectly clear; her modus operandi was simply to question where my heart, soul and feet were really planted at that very moment, not where I might have fantasized being. That questioning shook me up a little, and I felt dizzy and even a bit angry when she walked away. So I just stood and stared ahead of me for a long while.

And I shed some tears. How dare she… I so badly wanted to get away from it all…

Only later, much later, did I understand what this process was all about. Annie wasn’t intentionally trying to drive me into a state of despair and sadness. What I learned was that by painting into and through all the pain I was feeling – physical and psychological, I could find a way out the other side.

Which is exactly what happened: The colors, the brush-strokes, the thick layers of paint, all began to reflect the deep-seated feelings welling up inside. One brush-stroke led to another, and before long, we were taping on another piece of paper so that I could expand further on the expression of a feeling that I’d painted in one corner or edge of a finished paper. Which then led to more and more scenes, none of which had been pre-planned in my mind. They just grew organically, originating from the choice of color or a mark that had spontaneously taken shape – and needed to ‘grow’ in another direction.

In hindsight, it was a secret garden that Annie (and Matt, painting-angels!) helped me plant for myself, a garden full of shapes, flowers, and amorphous and undefined, but organically-growing stuff borne of intuition. And I’m so grateful to them for adding yet another dimension to my capacity for healing. For now that I’ve been given a key, I can climb through that human-sized keyhole anytime I like to enter a place of creative expression and peace.

It wasn’t art therapy, nor an instructional painting class. Rather, it was more like a cathartic conduit for me to spill out my guts (so to speak) in a rainbow of colors. I invite you to do the same, because it will instill in you a greater ability to trust your intuition and whatever it is you are feeling at the very moment – so gather up all your courage and just put it out there.


  1. Are those paintings yours?
    They’re really beautiful and abstract!
    Love how you can convey your feelings so fluentley onto canvas. Last time I did that…. let’s just say major disaster!!!
    I was wondering since i’m knew on wordpress if you could please comment on my first blog?

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