Painting – “Gently, gently…

 

..and oh, so carefully.”

The tag-line of my website is; “Living and learning through the creative mind.”

And this painting taught me a lot about life this week.

 I learn a great deal about life through the process of painting, and the many hours of observation and listening while I work. I believe it is the same for pursuing any endeavor. Living life is certainly a big job, and life is something we all have in common on a daily basis.

Over the past few years I have come to realize that if I get out of the way and pay attention, the painting will paint itself. That’s the challenge. Each painting is an opportunity to experience when I don’t do this as well.

As in life, my job is to listen and not “be” the creator or a bull in the china shop, so to speak. Not so easy to do. Life truly does have a plan in every moment, and it is always a good one, if I am not desperately seeking fulfillment out of doubt.

This requires the courage to trust my inner most self, not the self with its hair on fire. Doubt is always my first trip and fall. Trying to be the creator or “the boss” never works for me, it is unfulfilling and the results are always pretty bad. In life we tend to want to know the outcome before we begin, don’t we? Before we take any risk at all. If we don’t know the outcome we tend to force an outcome, or play “lets pretend.” When the outcome doesn’t match our fantasy, we feel defeated, or blame others.

Back to the painting. This painting is my second attempt, okay, it’s my third. The first is so embarrassing, it would hurt your eyes.

When I began all over for the third time, all I knew was that I was painting an elderly hand, and the lighting was vital. Once this was completed I was right on the edge of moving in and “making up” a background, but I stepped away and took a walk. On my walk, I saw this image on the porch; (yep, that’s my left foot in the bottom right).

This was my inspiration for the background design. Yea! I also knew a bird would be resting on her fingers, and once this part of the painting was done it still felt too uncompleted. Again, I walked away. Keep in mind, this painting took me 5 days to paint. Then I walked back and looked at it again, and again, like checking on a sleeping baby, listening for the next step. While cleaning, the idea for the second bird in the palm came to me. It appears to be quite natural now, but I had to wait for it. The three extra stems in the middle ground arrived next, and then nothing. I began to doubt, wanted to throw in huge splashes of bright colour and almost ruined it. Again, “Gently, gently…” came into my mind for this painting, and as a new life mantra.

Gentleness requires a great deal of strength … and courage.

A friend sent me this message describing the painting; “I am caught by the emotion. The beautiful juxtaposition of the brightly colored birds, so precise against her lovely translucent skin. It is really moving, capturing life, old and new, beginnings and endings, always cyclical.” – Thank you dear friend.

That was my experience of participating in this painting.  Life is a juxtaposition of collaboration or control. In collaboration, we all win.

 and thank you for reading.

4″ x 6″ Mini Print here.

 

 

Test Driving Procreate

Do you remember your first attempt at rollerskating, skateboarding, or snow skiing?

Arms out careening around trying to find your balance? That was me on testing out procreate today. Last night I received a new iPad. In the ten years since my first and only iPad purchase, a lot has changed! After powering up, I just had to hold my iPhone next to it upon start-up, and wahlaa, I was in and set up!

This morning I downloaded the procreate app and thought I would give it a test. Wow, what a learning curve! Arms out, careening around through brushes, layers, and colour picking. Of course the image I created is just a stab at random textures, and shy on anything creative (actually, it reminds me of something found on a 1918 tea towel after sopping up spilled tea for two decades), but that’s not the point. It was an adventure in trying to see if I could create anything in a foreign land. It was pretty tough and I still have no clue, but that is the beauty of knowing that brilliant and talented people share great information on Youtube and I can research their wisdom.

Procreate is fast, this test drive was just about a 3 hour drive. Again, I had no plan what-so-ever. I thought I would just make a brushes swatch page, but my circle strokes became an apple….and I just kept going. I can tend to become overwhelmed with having to learn a new program, but once I get my feet wet the challenge seems to entice me into more discoveries. I love the feel of the pencil and not a mouse, or a pen on a wacom tablet while looking at a screen. I purchased a “paperlike” matt protecter film that really feels like paper! The sketching feeling is terrific. Best yet, is that this is the “mobile” painting pallet I can take anywhere, and just doodle or continue a work in process. I am excited to see how far I can take this new program, today I just learned how to start it up and signal I was merging into traffic!

If anyone has suggestions of a great set of brushes, their experience, or tutorials, I would really appreciate it!

Best, Liza

Conte Crayon & Pastel – “Listening….simply listening”

Listen

This drawing is about choosing moments of stillness, and listening.

Detail – LISTEN

There is a space between each thought. Try it. Stop and listen for the next thought. When you try this, you will find a space, a stillness, a few moments of peace. Try for another moment, and then another, and you may realize that you are no longer in your head, but listening within your chest area, and in your chest is your heart. Listen into the space, and in this space if you ask for the truth, it will arrive. It is the only place it can arrive. And this is peace.

Try this when waiting in any line

at traffic lights

or while washing dishes

while looking for a new job

or how to “make ends meet”

vacuuming

when the mind is chewing on a past conversation

when you are trying to fall back to sleep

I chose a black background to represent “the unknown”, which can frighten most everyone who has learned being in control equals safety. Once we begin to listen, we soon realize the unknown is simply pure potential. A choice to turn left, or turn right. It is the window of all change for the better. The unknown is where dreams begin to become possibilities. Why fear your possibilities and your hearts desire? I chose the bird as a messenger. The Messenger arrives in the stillness we create for it.

We create so much of our lives with our thoughts. Mostly, we are busy “thinking” that we need to defend ourselves from life itself. But life is pure potential, not an enemy, and if life is being created by your thoughts + emotion, then choose your thoughts from a place of peace. Listen to it.

– Thank you.

 

 

Painting – Time Out

Joy in Time Out.  36″x36″.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso

Along the path of creative discovery in art and in life, I have been very busy…and, I have not added to my portfolio recently. I am currently working three paintings at the same time, experimenting. It’s a new way of working and feels balanced, so I am pursuing it.

Today, as I prepared this painting (created some time ago), to be printed on a large canvas,
I thought of the experience that inspired it.

I am fortunate that I live close enough to my day-job, that I can walk or ride my bike to work. One warm evening as I walked home contemplating a challenging situation, I chose to give myself a “Time Out.” I chose to stop thinking and simply focus on the walk. Quieting the mind and emotions requires me to let go. I know the challenge will still be there when I am ready, unfortunately. I began to focus on the comfortable weather, the trees, my groovy bento box I carry, my home, my sons, and the list began to grow, including all of the beauty around me. I immediately felt gratitude. Joy began to match my gratitude with each step I walked, and with my growing list. There is a lightness of being within joy and gratitude, my sense of humor returned, and I felt the renewed energy of being twelve years old, on a beautiful day. I felt like skipping (but I didn’t, sorta). No sudden good news, no surprising change from the outside. But a change from within, changed everything. Later, and not so surprising, along with my gratitude, an inspired solution to my challenge arrived as well.

That was the inspiration for this painting; the energy and inspired solutions that arrive with having a little “Time Out” for gratitude and joy. A daily walking meditation, all day, every day, even if I am just vacuuming. I try not to ever forget this valuable lesson, although sometimes I do. I will order a print for myself, and place it so I can see it each morning, and remember to begin each day with gratitude.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Painting “Change & The Center of Gravity”

It began with an image that had arrived in my mind. It was of a woman with a beautiful light shining from within her heart. Before I could get started on this new painting, a nagging tickle in my throat soon turned into a rib breaking cough, and days in bed with a cold.

During my waking moments, I continued to watch the image paint itself in my imagination. Once I recovered, I set to work on creating this painting. However, something had changed. The painting had changed, and it was different. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. What I had imagined was no longer there to work from. This was very disconcerting, and I experienced a few moments of doubt. Each painting is an adventure, and I see it as a sort of movie that I participate with. Then, I finally began to understand. Feeling the discomfort of “change” was the first note of the music, or film score for this movie.

Stage Two, painting the hands

Doubt is uncomfortable and difficult. I waited, listened, and asked, “What am I painting?” The painting had changed, and the main figure was now a young man. While painting his face first, I saw that the image appeared only from the bridge of his nose down. This is the face of anyone, and everyone.

Next were the hands. The hands are protective and cherishing his heart, his center. This is the home of his “knowingness”, his light, and his truth. The truth is there waiting to offer its wisdom, and only the truth can see through the limited perceptions of his eyes and emotions.

Stage Three, tattoos and the message on the tee-shirt

As I began to paint the arms, I saw the tattoos. I thought about the stereotypes that society has placed upon men, and women for thousands of years, telling them who they “should be”  and “should not be” in order to be safe, valuable, and loved. I thought about the confusion and disappointment this causes within each person, and within their expectations towards each other.  A decade later, these stereotypes will change again, and so will the expectations of who each person “should” be.

I continued to paint this young man, who is cherishing the light and the knowingness within his heart. I began to understand the symbolism, the adventure, the message, and the painting itself. We all have the truth available and running through us in each moment. Accessing this truth, and the choice to honor and cherish this truth is ours, and requires the courage of a personal change. We also have the choice to see only with our eyes, feel only our emotional reactions in a situation, and be guided by the opinions of others. However, these perceptions are not the whole truth.

The message on the young man’s tee-shirt presented itself. “Question Everything”. The question is “what is the truth?” We can choose the gift we  have been given, to listen without an agenda or judgement. This is our greatest gift and power, and our center of gravity as we navigate through illusions, and the constant change of each day. Our center of gravity is our “knowingness”, the light within that supersedes the doubt, discomfort and fear. We have all been given this. Maybe it’s time to make friends with our knowingness, have a long talk and form a great, lifetime relationship.

Finally I painted the fabric background, symbolizing this young man’s “wings of protection and flight” as he trusts, continues to “Question Everything” and treasures the highest truth from within the core of his being. Thank you.

This is “Change & The Center of Gravity”

 

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