Let’s talk art!
Wait, what, you’re a spiritual blog, Sionainn! Well, true, but let me tell you- Art is spiritual, and my art is a part of my spiritual practice. I feel a deep connection to the world, and the sacred worlds while doing art. Sometimes, it’s being deep in a trance, just letting whatever comes out, come out. Sometimes it’s a part of devotional work, and sometimes it’s Brigid sitting behind me, telling me what she wants, what colors she wants, where she wants paint placed, or fluid art directed. Exploring my artistic side has been an interesting adventure. I’d never claim my paintings are great- and yet, I feel a strong attachment to them, and in the process of doing them. As I’ve done more and more, I feel better about them, as if I’ve improved, as well as continued to build a stronger relationship with the process and the Divine- whether that be The Morrigan, Brigid, and other deities, as well as the Sacred Universe itself. It has even helped me connect to my ancestors- both of blood and heart.
Art is therapeutic. It provides distraction when I’m in pain. It stirs shadow. It lightens my mood when things are too heavy in the world, and it is a perfect medium for rage, anger, frustration, and tears. When I was sick with Covid last month, and recovering, it was creative expression that made me feel better, and more like myself.
So let’s talk about some lessons I’ve learned.
Art is best when it’s messy. Ok, so that’s more an opinion. But I find when I worry over splatters and spills and drips, I don’t enjoy the process as much. A part of my painting process is the clean up, because it seems no matter what precautions I take, paint gets everywhere. I don’t like to waste plastic with rubber gloves, and my hands can get covered. I try not to wear my favorite t-shirts - I’ve ruined (or enhanced? You can decide!) quite a few shirts by getting paint on them. I’ve gotten paint on walls, carpet, wood floors, the table, the chairs…all of it so far as been washable.
So make the mess, and don’t worry about the mess.
Learning to stop is as important as learning to go. I’m bad at this one. One more stroke, one more swirl, one more swipe…it gets tempting to keep adding, but a good practice is to step back and say no more. Listen to yourself, because there usually is a point where you know you need to stop. I’ve had some glorious paint pours that I’ve sort of liked less after I did one more major change, like a wet swipe that just changed the entire feel of the piece. Take it slow, and avoid doing something for the sake of trying to achieve “perfection.”
Be patient. Let paint layers dry. Seriously. I know how tempting it can be to keep going, or sometimes just painting in a rush. Let. It. Dry.
Experimentation is glorious, even if things are less than perfect- there’s no such thing as failure. This includes using new tools such as paints and canvases. Recently I tried to use a cheaper canvas found at Walmart. It was one of the thin ones- I had hoped it would make shipping cheaper- shipping regular canvas can be expensive which is one reason I also offer prints. Well, I made an amazing paint pour piece that…curled. The canvas was just not made for a heavy amount of wet paint. The piece itself is amazing, I think, and I might end up framing it to hide the curl. But it’s not something I’d do again, particularly if I want to sell the piece.
But there are so many techniques out there, and things to play with. How does acrylic mix with other paints and inks? Can I add glitter, or metal shavings? What if I paint with a feather, or leaf, or a wad of cotton? Experimenting can be so fun and might even surprise you on how well it turns out! Art should be fun.
What is in your head might never come out as you expected or wanted. This happens a lot, particularly with abstract. Sure, if you’re sketching, drawing, doing realistic styles- it’s going to look more like what you imagined, I’m sure. I’m really talking about abstracts and paint pours- sometimes I have an image in my head that starts with certain colors. I do that a lot with fire colors- reds, oranges, yellows, sometimes golds, blacks and even whites. Sometimes even a hint of blue. What I see in my head however almost always takes a different shape- usually for the better, though not always. It doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying- sometimes it’s little adjustments I need- less orange, more yellow, more black, less swiping, a little more silicon oil in the white and gold, less in the black. The fun part is never knowing for sure that the paint is going to flow exactly how you want it to. It’s created some gorgeous pieces in that way.
The same goes for abstract meditational painting. When I’m letting go of anger, I might have an idea in my head, and it quickly changes as I use my palette knife. It looks better on canvas, a mark here, a scrape here. More of a color I didn’t think I’d want to use, perhaps a purple or even a pink. And sometimes it does look exactly what I imagined, until I use it as a therapy piece and destroy it with my palette knife. Sometimes I draw what's in my head, and then slice it, swipe it, scrape it and paint over it, filled with anger and emotion- what's left is then a reminder of how I felt, but my body and spirit is no longer a vessel filled with those emotions. It's healing work.
Abstract and meditation art gives you something new each and every time. You might have certain techniques you fall back on, and similar movements, patterns, but in the end, each piece is so different. I think, at least for me, that’s one reason I love painting so much. It amazes me sometimes that I can do a few pieces in a day or week, and each piece has it’s own energy, it’s own message- even when I’m trying to do similar work on each canvas.
Art is not a waste of time, a waste of energy or a frivolous expenditure. It’s healing, it’s therapy, it’s beauty, It’s expression. It feels good, and it works as a conduit for the Divine. And art isn’t just for the doing- you can appreciate the art of others, and support artists. I have a lot of beautiful art in my home that’s done by others. Pieces that resonate with me, inspire me and challenge me. My favorite style of art to buy is art that stirs my own spirit, and particularly in mediums I’m not as good at- I can’t draw people or anything more complicated than a circle (I might even argue I can’t draw those…)
So while, yes, this post is a little bit of a ruse to showcase some of my art (here's my shop!)and process, it’s also a plea to go out, and support your artist friends, local artists, and artists across the world that stir you. Art brings so much to the world, and artists who create with love, works that produce such a reaction and energy are undervalued.