A soothing art for broken hearts… That was Van Gogh’s take on painting, and he was a hundred percent correct. If you are painting from life, then an activity like painting and drawing takes you outside of yourself, into the world of form. You feel the form instead of your own misery. It can hurt to feel too much. But I’d rather the hurt be one of feeling too much beauty in the world.
I cannot say exactly when this transition occurred. It happened over time. I would transcend, then fall back. Transmute, then fall back again.
I experienced my share of sorrow in my early life. As a child I drew pictures I wouldn’t fully grasp until I was much older. Acting was my art form of choice in those days. Feeling other characters. Getting out of myself by getting into someone else. Their clothes and makeup, their dialogue and relationships. I got out of myself, but there was no healing, and in my late twenties I went back to drawing and painting.
For the first three years I learned how to paint the world around me. Then I went within and began to paint the sadness.
Only when I got to the bottom of my sadness was I able to rise above it. I called the series Journey To The Deep, and chronicled that perilous passage in my second memoir which I hope to soon publish.
Meanwhile, I am ready to talk about the ‘T’ at the end of the word ‘pain.’ I call it the T for Transition. (I wrote about this T in a blog last month, and how I turned the T into a bridge.) But today I’m seeing the T as two crossed paintbrushes. They look as big as broomsticks. Brooms to sweep away unconsciousness. Sweep away the cobwebs. Painting itself is a transitioning process. It’s about seeing and feeling, and recording what you see and feel. It’s a transformative process. As you transform a blank canvas or blank sheet of paper into a viable picture (whatever that may be), you also transform your way of being in the world. This T is a cross. The horizontal plane of the physical world of form crossed with the vertical plane of higher consciousness.
I painted out my sadness through the 80s and 90s. And then I was able to write about it. Because the act of putting my feelings on a surface outside of myself gave me the necessary distance of objectivity I needed as a writer.
This was me in 2008. After my heart opened up again. Writing my story has brought me wholeness and healing. But first I had to paint the feelings, because I had no words for it then. I haven’t decided on a title yet for Volume 2. The first book was called The Nancy Who Drew… so I’m thinking of calling the second one, The Nancy Who Drew Herself Home… because actually, that is what happened…