I wish I could said that my paintings came from a happy place. Most of the time, they don’t. Honestly, I find that I paint most when I am frustrated or upset. There are occasions when I feel inspired to make something for someone. Usually, I’ll see a landscape and it will make me think of a friend. Then I will paint if for them. Or most recently, a friend of mine started a painting and I finished it. That was a really fun exercise in creativity – collaborative painting. Sort of reminds me of Puzzels of the Brain.
A collaborative painting in process. Lauren Bradley made the shapes on the right. I added the rest. The image above is the first layer of paint. My pallet is underneath.
The finished product.
But most of the time, I resort to painting when I am unhappy. If you know me, this may be surprising. I’m a really happy person. I’m always smiling. It’s easy for me to see the bright side of things. But I’m human, and I still possess the range of emotions including: anger, frustration, bordom, anxiety, uncertainty, and sadness.
I made this painting in several sittings. I wasn’t really sure what I was making, and every time I returned to the painting I felt uncertainty – did I like the colors? How was it going to turn out? What is going on in my life? After painting for the first 5 minutes, the questions start to disappear. Then I just had fun.
I’m really good at expressing how I feel when I’m feeling good. But when I feel bad, I seem to lack the right words. I don’t want to talk, mostly because I don’t seem to have the vocabulary. But I also recognize that talking about my frustration, sadness, or anger isn’t useful when I’m in the middle of feeling it. You have to allow yourself to feel – everything, positive or negative – before moving on. Talking about it while I’m experiencing it just exhausts me. It usually doesn’t make people want to listen, either.
Painting is my release. It allows me to either explore how I’m feeling without having to talk about it. Making sense doesn’t matter. There is no one to judge or criticize.
This painting was something I made when I was frustrated. I’m not sure how to express this emotion very well . . . but I experience it when I become too attached to an outcome. Sort of like that saying “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I guess this painting is me saying “Dear life, please stop getting in the way of my plans. Work with me, please!”
It also allows me to step outside of my own feelings for a while. When I’m finished, I usually feel much better. I’m also in a much better space to talk to others. And, sometimes, I’ve also made something sort of beautiful. It seems like my paintings are more abstract when I’m dealing with negative emotions. They are the hardest for me to express. It’s nice to transcend the negative by making something.