In Santa Fe last autumn, I enrolled in a "class" given by Julie Claire ("Full Bloom Coaching") called "Intuitive Painting." I'll post the link below. The experience in that all-day "workshop" was so profound and meaningful for me, that I would like to give her small but important enterprise, an unapologetic endorsement right here. I am not being paid anything to do this, and I will not reap any advantage or "perk" of any kind. I'm speaking from the heart about an experience which will benefit and delight ANYONE.
What is completely REFRESHING (literally) about Julie's approach is that this is NOT an art class. We've all had quite enough of "drill and review" and the memorizing (mesmerizing) of facts in our educational backgrounds. And frankly, it leaves us dry on the inside, feeling that something is missing, and furthermore, it leaves us hungering for something much bigger and exciting that we KNOW is there within us. This is the territory that Julie invites us to re-energize.
Her workshop reintroduced me to that "territory" and I felt a kind of release, and also a connection, that I had NOT experienced before. Be ready for some emotional revelations…all of which have been living in some subterranean world within you…pushed there and locked in for far too long. We have all been conditioned to block out the best and most important part of ourselves. Our ideas about formal education, about what matters, and about what does not, are lopsided, but that's a different topic.
You walk into a light airy studio space on Upper Canyon Road. Sunlight fills the place and Julie has arranged some furniture so you can gather and chat in comfort. You feel warmly welcome, both by this environment and by Julie. She outlines how the day will unfold, so you feel oriented to what is going on. Then you begin.
Each of us has our own work area. A huge sheet of black paper is taped onto the wall in front of us…we each do that ourselves. Then we choose select paint and brushes from a common area. We are told to choose whatever colors and brushes that simply feel right at that moment. Wait a minute! You mean we don't have to analyze and then logically justify why we're choosing them? The answer is an emphatic "NO." Some people feel slightly threatened by this kind of freedom. We are unaccustomed to it in an "educational" setting---or anywhere for that matter. But, we overcome our first hurdle, take our paints and brushes, and move to our respective spaces to begin.
Really? You mean I can just "play" here? No art rules to memorize and then be tested on? Really? Some people find that freedom to be an enormous obstacle. And that's the whole idea…to find, to discover, some trust in yourself and then to simply PROCEED. I did it. I had no "ideas" in mind. I simply allowed myself the unmitigated joy of hopping into a world of paint-color-form-discovery. Julie has created an environment in which there are no "wrong ways" or "right ways." You just take one look into her eyes and you are in a sense "given the permission" to just BE YOU…maybe for the first time in your life. And that's the whole idea…that just "being you" is more than good enough. Fully "getting" that can be a life-changing experience.
This is exhilarating. It is an amazing journey of discovery–within one day's time! As a result of this experience, I have since rented studio time so that I can paint more. And each time there are more and more discoveries to be had. I'm just beginning to attempt to write about them on this blog…and it hasn't been easy.
Here are the paintings I did in that "Intuitive Painting" workshop. What they entail, and my experience associated with them, is material for several separate blog entries:
Here it is, still taped to the wall in the studio. I liked the taped part so much, that I left that on as part of the painting. This painting is approximately 40" x 60". Same below. Some people did abstracts like these. Others did figurative/realistic. The work is NOT critiqued or analyzed. At the end we all simply state what we see in each other's painting as if it were our own. If you don't want the input, that's OK.
This was the second painting of the day. Most people worked on one painting. But I KNEW that first painting was complete and Julie asked me if there was a second part to it. And I said "Yes. there is." So I taped up another mega-sized sheet and did this.