The discussions that surfaced as a result of the homework assignment I gave to my students a few weeks ago are definitely worth documenting. Here are 8 Tips to Help You Paint Your Truth:
1. Truth Changes
Since many of my students have only just begun their fearless abstract painting journey, we decided that it would be much less intimidating if we changed the word “truth’ (which, I must admit, sounds pretty absolute) to “snapshots of truth” instead. Doing this, gave them the flexibility they needed to embrace the challenge.
Further, we decided that what we consider our “truth” today, might not be what we consider our “truth” tomorrow. For example: The paintings I made in 2008 were my truth at the time, even though they are worlds different than the paintings I create today. They are both truths. Just different snapshots of truth.
2. Truth Can Feel Vulnerable
For some of my students, the very act of walking up to the front of the classroom to put their paintings up on display, felt extremely vulnerable. (But so worth it! I might add, if we are to grow as artists.)
Think about it: It’s one thing to paint a pretty painting you know will be received well, and it’s an entirely different thing to paint something you are not sure will be received well, but it’s true to you. You will gain so much more if you do the latter.
3. Love What You Do
Sometimes, you know are painting “your truth” when you love what you create.
It can be tricky knowing when you are finished a painting. Trust me, I know. When you love something so much you’re afraid to keep pushing it, pay attention to that. You just might be painting your truth.
4. Enjoy the Process
If painting needed to feel like work, then I would go back and get a desk job. For me, enjoying the process is an indication that I am painting my truth.
There are many different reasons that keep us from enjoying the process. I recommend putting the outcome aside. Stay present without thinking of the outcome too much.
5. 'Cause I'm Happy
If you’re not happy, then why the hell would do you paint?! I haven’t the faintest idea. Nah, I’m just kidding. I know exactly why you would paint even though it makes you miserable. Just off the top of my head, here are 3 reasons why an artist might paint eventhough it does not make her happy:
Indulge what makes you happy. This is a sure fire way of knowing you are on the right track to painting your truth.
6. Your Actions Are “Automatic”
Thinking hats off. Feelings and intuition on. I describe this to my students with the analogy of driving a standard car. I don’t have to think about what I am doing. I just do it. I just drive.
7. You Know When You Are Done
Knowing when to stop can be a hard lesson to learn. It may require “over painting” many canvasses until you finally learn when to keep pushing, and when to walk away. When you know you are done, without having to ask anyone, this is a good sign that you might be painting our truth.
You may get to the point that you love your painting so much that you don't care what anyone else has to say about it. Having confidence in your work might be an indication that you are painting your truth.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.