This month marks the one year anniversary of Art•Body•Soul. I wanted to write a post to commemorate the occasion and turned to the painting process for inspiration. If you'd like to know more about working in this way for yourself, see the bottom of this post for ideas.
My usual process
For about three years I participated in a variety of art classes offered by the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia and worked with different mediums—steel, stained glass, pastel, and acrylic. Through my immersion in the art world, a prolific collection of sculptures, glassworks, drawings, and paintings emerged and were chronicled through photographs, printed, and stored away in a small gold box. Filled with a deck of my creations, the golden bin is like a treasure trove to me.
Periodically, I flip through the cardstock photographs and select a painting to use as a writing prompt. I’ve found that my paintings carry a story from my life and a spiritual lesson to uncover. The step-by-step process of painting reflects something relevant for me to explore. If you have been reading my blog before now, you understand what I am talking about.
Instead of pulling a photo from the box, I began a new painting, setting the intention to be enlightened by it in order to write a blog post for the first anniversary celebration of my business, Art•Body•Soul. It was an experiment to see if by using the techniques of process art, I could connect with the deeper wisdom of my being to write an inspired message from my heart.
With a single piece of cold-pressed watercolor paper, a variety of brushes, and liquid acrylic paint in bottles, the undertaking commenced. The idea in process art is to slow down and tune in. The artist and the energy are the focus, without concern for the finished product.
Opening Art•Body•Soul was a bold move as well, and yet I had seen it, had a vision for it, and felt called to act. The creative process of writing a business plan, finding a property, getting bids for renovation, and so on was exciting but also tinged with a little self-doubt. Finding consultants, yoga instructors, and wellness staff, creating schedules, marketing the grand opening—the ball was rolling, and I was behind it, feeling afraid and a little out of control at times.
The past year continued the same, the dance of excitement and defeat. I’m in over my head. I want people to come. Why isn’t Existence (God) supporting me? I’m angry, God. I hate the concept of manifestation. I could use a little help over here. Something must be wrong with me. I’m not good enough. There was lots of material in the defeated moments for me to work with using the Dalian Method to release and transform these thoughts and emotions within me. Because of my inner clutter, I wasn’t able to see past the end of my nose to the blessing and abundance of this year.
As I continued with my anniversary painting, staying in the process and being surprised by the outcome, the green hanging dollop appeared center stage along with several flower-like bursts in magenta and blue along the left side. Having worked with all the brilliant colors for a while, a neutral color was needed to hold the space. I mixed all the colors remaining on the palette and created a gray to surround the mysterious magenta and yellow nebula that already existed on the paper.
When process painting, the attention is inward, and what is happening on the whole of canvas is usually not being assessed and taken in along the way. It is merely unfolding as the paintbrush follows the energy in the moment. My canvas was filling, and as the bottom approached, a solid foundation began to form—a semblance of the terrarium I had recently purchased.
What a joyous surprise and fitting ending for this creation—to be rained on above by magnificent rays of heavenly sunshine and have the solid support of Mother Earth beneath. If I hadn’t stopped and spent this time with myself, I would have missed it. All the struggle of the past year melted away as my heart was filled with gratitude for the abundance and support all around me.
I am grateful for the financial resources from my parents and grandparents that afforded this adventure for me.
Mada Dalian’s guidance, love, and support has been invaluable in my process as has the inner work and growth I’ve realized using her creation, the Dalian Method (DM). I am deeply blessed by my association with the DM facilitator family and community at large.
This list would not be complete without expressing my love and gratitude for my children and their families and my siblings. I have no words to express how thankful I am to walk this journey with each of you. You have been my legs at times running errands, lending a hand or ear, and providing respite.
Every healing practitioner, consultant, instructor, teacher, artist, musician, presenter, and supporter who has been a part of the Art•Body•Soul team has touched my heart in some way. I have been graced by your presence. Many of you have helped me ride over some of the larger waves.
To our customers, I feel honored and so grateful for your trust in us. Thank you for your support in the building of Art•Body•Soul and for being a cheerleading team, rooting for our success. Your genuine kindness and friendship are sincerely appreciated.
We have harvested some flower-like bursts of color together in this first year. Any nebulous ideas and percolations yet to be formed will perhaps be born in 2019. It is my intention to take the practice of process art into my life as a whole, living in the moment, and trusting that I am supported. All I need is to follow the energy, let go of the outcome, and allow the adventure to unfold.
To explore process art consider taking a Painting Out Loud class series or workshop. If you're interested in working on a deeper level to transform repressed thoughts and emotions and move beyond limiting beliefs, you might consider the Dalian Method or a combination of the two. We have a workshop, Communicate with Your Heart, coming up in May that combines these two powerful approaches. Click below to learn more.
Madeleine Newkirk, Artist, Spiritual Junkie, Dalian Method and Art Process Facilitator.