Entering the time warp – an artist’s flow.
There was a program on NPR outlining the concepts of mindfulness therapy. Someone gave an excellent analogy to help the listeners grasp its main concept. They talked about a person attempting to read a book by sticking it right in front of his face, and his inability to focus on it. Of course, when that person moves the book onto his lap, and it therefore enters his somewhat peripheral vision, then the reader has a much easier time concentrating on it. That’s what mindfulness does – it has you focusing so intently on an unrelated matter, that when you come out of your trance, you see your problems differently.
What happens during the process of painting is some of what happens in mindfulness therapy, but there’s another element to it. It’s what is called by most athletes, artists and other creative types – ‘accessing the flow’. Not only does an artist get distance from issues at hand, but he/she also enters a time warp. It’s a zone where past, present and future all co-exist. You stop and contemplate, refuse to feel guilt for this time alone with yourself, and your intuition takes over. You resolve all kinds of issues on your canvas, you’re having countless conversations with your inner self and you don’t realize that you might have been at it for only five minutes, or a half hour, or that a good chunk of your day just passed. The work leads you places, and these are endless happy moments of ecstasy, that can last for hours. If you let yourself take a breather, relax and succumb to the process, at the end of each painting session you also inevitably come out with an ‘aha’ moment.
Undoubtedly, many of your daily fears and insecurities are projected into your work, and you figure them out while painting. For instance, a darkening of one element brings out another – here’s a lesson in priority setting. By employing layers, and scratching them off at times, you’re uncovering certain truths; you’re extracting difficult tears, always from unpredictable little caves. New hideaway places for your emotions come to light. Bubbles of bile are exploding into fireworks of new answers. Your masks are shedding, leaving room for brutal honesty with self and the world. Through your work, you’re finding order amidst chaos, or searching out a calm meditative space. Since life is so cluttered, it’s your chance to add some voids for ying and yang. Old scars don’t go way, you simply learn to work with them – through painting. You realize that you set your own traps, and you’re free to release them.
When you paint on a regular basis, before every new trip to the studio you get this energy that makes your fingertips twitch in anticipation, similar to a little child shaking from excitement. If you let yourself sink into the simple pleasures of mixing colors, just like a little child, you become uninhibited. You let go. We all have a wild side – a part of us that wants to dance, scream, explore, enjoy its own company. The only time my wild spirit gets let out, this unabashed side of me, is when I paint. There’s this magical timeless moment when your inner child comes out to play, and you should let her play as long as she wants. That inner spirit is impulsive but intuitive at the same time, and you don’t want to lose that faith in your intuition. My word for 2017 is ‘flow’. I get so much energy from entering the ‘flow’ during my painting process, that I find it impossible to not recommend it to anyone battling anxiety in today’s world.
Author: Diana Stelin
Author Bio: Professional artist and teacher who resides in Boston with her husband and three kids.
Link to social media or website: http://www.dianastelin.com