When I moved back to California, I knew my life would change. That was the whole point. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing but one thing I did know was that I wanted to paint again. I had no idea what exactly that would look like. When you make a major life transition, it can’t help but toss everything up in the air.
I recently watched Marie Forleo’s video interview (thank you Kim!) with Steve Pressfield. A successful author, he writes about war – external and internal. In Do The Work, he describes the internal battle that springs forward when your higher self decides to go for your dreams or any new goal or do anything remotely outside of your comfort zone. Because the job of the ego is to keep you safe, it creates resistance to your new plan. Then Pressfield outlines a series of steps to deal with resistance; the first step being to decide on the theme of your project.
So, I got to thinking about my work, what I’ve done so far and where I want to go. I’ve experienced a lot of frustration lately wanting to paint really big and abstract, and then being drawn to smaller, quieter subjects using the glazing technique I know and love.
I feel like I’m all over the place. And that makes sense given the last couple of years. But I am also very familiar with my own resistance. So what I’ve decided to do is just allow myself the freedom of finding my theme. It may be something I’m currently exploring or it may not. I don’t have a clear picture yet.
What I do have is frustration. It didn’t feel right to paint out like the Anger canvas, so I rounded up some color markers. I let myself feel the frustration as I began moving my hand over the paper, intentionally NOT thinking, or if thinking, letting the thoughts go, one after the other.
Focusing on the movement of my hand, I picked up the next color that felt right and kept moving. Most important was letting the frustration all out onto the paper. When I finished one drawing, I went on to the next.
Looking at them all, I again had the revelation that everything is already within. All we have to do is allow. These images look remarkably like figure drawings I was doing many years ago, before I took life drawing and learned to render the figure academically; the identical experience I had after I did the second anger canvas. It’s all energy just waiting to be expressed.
So rather than being upset with myself and going down the road of self-condemnation for not having it all figured out, I’m going to surrender again and enjoy this new phase of my journey: searching for my theme. Which for me also means searching for my own voice, my own manner of expression, and my own way forward.