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The Soul's Artistry

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

When faced with a blank canvas, what do you do?

It's a literal question.

Last Friday, I gathered a group of women with the help and guidance of my extremely talented friend, Alexa Schill, and spent the evening painting. First, I guided us through a meditation focusing on the energy centers of our bodies and visualizing colors. Then, Alexa handed out painting supplies, including a 16x20 blank canvas. Gulp...I swear it looked smaller when we went shopping together.

I don't think I was the only one experiencing internal queasiness. Painting in general can be very vulnerable. I'm sure Alexa would tell me otherwise but as far as I know, paint doesn't come with an eraser. Once it hits the canvas, it's permanent. PERMANENT, as in "always and forever there." As I looked at everyone's stunned faces, my brain went into protective overdrive, issuing out random thoughts at lightening speed in attempts to create a diversion:

What in the world am I going to paint?

What if I don't like the first color I put down?

Why didn't we plan this evening with more structure?

Maybe we should have made the meditation longer.

What if no one starts painting?

Maybe I don't have to paint; I mean, I am the facilitator.

Maybe I can just walk around the room and make sure everyone is doing okay.

I'm a wannabe artist.

No, I'm a terrible artist.


What color should I choose?

If this ends up looking great I know just where to hang it.

And if it doesn't, there's always room in the garbage.

I'm wasting time.

I still don't know what to paint.

Okay, just choose a color and go for it. There's nothing to lose.

The first swirl of color shocked the stark background. Brilliant blue. Like a Chihuly sketch of inspiration. And, maybe, if I had stopped there, I could have said something about the minimalist nature of my creation and how it represented some deeper aspect of life in its simplicity. Then I wouldn't have to continue subjecting myself to more trepidation.

But, something shifted after I saw that first stroke come to life on the canvas. I dabbed my brush into another color; and then another; and then another. My body and senses were thrusted back into the memory of 3rd grade art class with the smell of Tempera paint, the oversized brushes, paper plates and scratchy, butcher block paper. Back then, my 8 year old self would swim a brush in a puddle of color on the plate, circling round and round like I was stirring a pot of soup until I was ready to plop a blob of paint on the paper. I'd continue swirling the brush into larger and larger circles until I felt like adding another color. Blue would turn to purple that turned into deep burgundy and almost inevitably ended in some sort of mucky brown. It didn't matter what the final product looked like; joy came just by gliding brush strokes of silky wet circles on what was once something dry and brittle.

The 8 year old in me was in bliss that evening. I continued adding color in swirling patterns, long streaks, hatch-like chicken scratches, and figure eights. Sometimes, I'd pause just long enough to catch myself smiling and feeling that sense of overflowing freedom pulsating through my core. Two hours passed effortlessly and our time together was coming to a close.

We held hands, formed a circle, and looked at our creations laying in the center. Every canvas told a personal story and each body emanated direct emotions from the experience. That evening, we gave ourselves space to explore and connect with feelings that aren't always accessible through words. As each of us hugged goodbye, we agreed to schedule another night like this beautiful one and let our souls play.

When faced with a blank canvas, what do you do?

It's a figurative question.

However you choose to show up in life is your personal creation. You are an artist. Maybe you show up painting with bold strokes or semi-invisible wisps. Maybe it's orderly, even, and balanced. Maybe it's off-centered. Take the risk to make a mark; commit to trying; let yourself be seen; let your soul see. Intuitively, we know the final product may not look like a masterpiece to anyone viewing from the outside. But, by engaging in the process of living, we experience the beauty, freedom, and artistry of our souls' creative expressions.

If you're interested in joining our next "Meditation and Expression" painting night, send me an email via my site

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