“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”
This past year as the world went into lockdown, there was a call to artists across the internet to create more art. Of course, I had to answer this call. There was also a call to tag those art pieces with the tag #newyearnewday2021 on Instagram. So I did.
What I didn’t realize was that I was being curated for a show in the Spokane, WA area. I was chosen among many to participate in an exhibition that was to showcase the art we created during this pandemic and explain why we created what we did.
To be honest, the pandemic has not affected me like it has a lot of other people. For me, the years leading up to the pandemic were noisy, chaotic, and my most challenging yet. Therefore, the onset of the pandemic was a welcome time for me to reflect, meditate, and heal. In fact, I had moved to the mountains of Northeast Washington in 2019 partly because I had been craving a quieter life and didn’t mind the idea of becoming a recluse. Now without the pressures of socializing, preparing for exhibitions, and teaching, it seemed like an even better time to expand my creative soul.
While searching for more painting ideas, I began to explore the mountains where the surroundings were indifferent to the world and its chaotic endeavors. Doing so recalled the idea of spiritual enlightenment and Thoreau’s Walden. This isolation started to feel like the practice of Buddhist monks who disconnect from society to connect with a greater understanding of all as one and the same. Isolation may be the separation from the whole, but also the unification of one as I discovered healing in the quite surroundings. There is greater meaning of being alone and the idea of isolation allows for immense expansion of the inner self.
I ended up bringing my exploration of the mountains into my work. The views I painted manifest my own feelings of this isolation and its surprising circumstantial gifts. It is not necessarily lonesome and does not have to be oppressive. It is a peaceful state of the interior being that allows for creative risks. In fact, my children started to tease me that I was becoming the wise woman of the mountains when they heard of my wanderings and discovered that a hummingbird hung out in my studio, often landing on my head, as well as the swallows that would greet me by landing on my desk while I worked.
This painting is titled, “Possibilities” and is 20×21” to signify the creative risks that I am taking and hope to continue to take in the coming year. It is a poured watercolor technique where I pour liquid paint across the surface of the paper, building it up with layers of flowing pigment. There are many possibilities when pouring paint and there is an element of surprise and creative prospects.
The exhibit is now on at the Liberty Gallery in Spokane, WA through February.
Below is a more detailed description of my pouring process with this painting.
This process starts with a detailed drawing. In this case, it is a view of the valley where I live and can be seen from the mountain behind my home.
I wanted a more painterly effect to the sky so chose not to pour it but to paint it with a brush.
I masked out a line of clouds between the sky and the earth where I wanted to pour my painting. This was to help separate the poured area from the sky more easily.
I used 3 colors to pour my first pour. The colors were my usual of Winsor Blue (green shade), Quinacridone Rose, and Winsor Yellow.
Then I let it dry before I masked again.
Pour #2. I switched from the Winsor Blue to using Turquoise, a Graham color. I poured this color as well as the Quinacridone Rose and the Winsor yellow.
Pour #3. I continued to mask out the areas I wanted to save and poured again, using the Turquoise, Quinacridone Rose, and Winsor Yellow.
Pour #4. I kept going darker with my colors that I poured across the surface and tried to stay away from the sky.
The Big Reveal! After the big reveal, I did some minor touchups then mounted it to a board and varnished it. You can see the finished painting at the top of the post.