This painting is one from a series for my current book-art project on healing trauma. The piece is inspired by a key experience from a shamanic journey described in “Along Came a Spider.” I don’t strive to render a perfect expression, rather let each painting teach me how to shape a whole from an inkling of an image.
Yielding to the process as such fuels the partnership between creative and healing arts. The closing stanza of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s “HOW TO KILL CREATIVE SPIRIT: BRINGING CREATIVE SPIRIT BACK TO LIFE” resonates my embracing art as an organic, holistic process:
What the hands and mind
of the farmer are after
is not that each kernel
but that the maize
be protected from storm
and that the maize
in its first moments
that the maize
so well watered
and cared for,
often sweeter than sweet.
The heart of the matter — or “crux” as it’s called at Crow’s Nest Center for Shamanic Studies — is to create, be committed to growth and harvest, treasure the work as a whole … as one does an ear of corn rather than the kernels. And to trust the process means following intuitive leadings as I experiment with the visual arts.
For courage, I turn to self-taught artists like Frida Kahlo, who began her painting journey with a broken body after a nearly lethal bus accident. Pain, loss, grief were the catalyst to a unique body of work that renders the inner life richly, tangibly, powerfully.
Having come into confidence as a poet following years of struggle, doubts arise here and there about these new visual ventures. A nagging voice piques “What are you doing?!”, and becomes quieter as I trust and witness the creative-healing process unfolding. It parallels my self-healing of trauma, which comes together in pieces.
The pieces of my story may or not come together for you as a whole. I often must hold such pieces until their fit becomes clear. Readers, thanks for joining in me in these experiments to witness what they bring together.