Painting from the soul bones

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We are cluttered with images, and only abstract art can bring us to the threshold of the divine.” 

Dominique De Menil

If you’d asked me four weeks ago if I could paint, I would have said: No.

I might have even laughed at the idea of me painting anything that wasn’t a kitchen wall, except for that one time I painted the chimney breast a deep red and a friend described it as very dramatic, very you, which I liked. The idea of having hidden depths was very appealing, as for the longest time, I had begun to believe that as a computer scientist, I am practical, logical, and a little bit dull.

This changed recently after embarking upon Painting from the soul bones, an online course by Clare Jasmine Beloved, creator of the amazing Fairytale Medicine, art and lovely things, and after four weeks I have created a really large painting which I didn’t know I had within me. Turns out I do have hidden depths which are so, so appealing.

My painting is not finished but I wanted to share it here as Clare is now offering the course for a limited time, and so I am taking an unprecedented step for perfectionist, practical me and sharing it right now the way it is – unfinished – because the way I feel about it, the love I have for it, the joy it gives me, well I could be tinkering with that picture for the next year or so, even though I have already bought another canvas for my next project.

Painting from the soul bones is not a how to paint course, it is more of a how to feel okay course, which I didn’t know I sorely needed. I was so out of my comfort zone that even going to the art shop by myself to buy the list of things on the course welcome page was incredibly stressful. I felt like such an imposter and it was all such an investment and not very practical for something that might fail.

Alarmed at how fearful a person I had become, in an act of defiance, I bought the biggest canvas I could find and dragged it home, and then regretted it as I spent the weekend petrified of it, wishing I had had the sense to get something small and manageable.

Clare of course knows all of this, and leads her student gently by the hand with bitesize videos, meditations, poems, pictures, and so much more to inspire and free up the desire to create. I don’t want to tell you more about exactly what is in the course, as for me, that was part of the joy, of working with a need to know approach, trusting the process and creating a layer, and then another, and another.

The first couple of sessions were just glorious hands-in-paint-freedom and graffitiing on a vast clean canvas. The following sessions after that, I don’t mind telling you, left me feeling wobbly and critical, full of wtf is going on now? A couple of times I wept over the painting and the way I criticise myself.

Thankfully, I kept listening to Clare and persevered until seemingly out of nowhere up popped my snake lady who was previously just a singing skull floating in the air and the skull shone through for a while, until I painted her pink, the same colour as her cloak, which has since disappeared along with the wand she was holding because it became the snake. Then up popped Wolfie, after I spent a morning in the sunshine finger painting and singing to myself. Then Raven, whose head has grown and shrunk and grown again as I figure out how to paint beaks and feathers. And, then the other day that big tree grew up out of the ground when I was thinking that the singing skull lady’s pink face looks a bit weird and needs changing, and then today a lake, swam out of the background, and so it goes.

Ah hidden depths alright. It really has been like the quotation at the top of this blog (which I lifted off Clare’s page), my canvas was full of random seemly abstract objects which then came together and made me feel that something divine is going on, because, as if by magic, or divine intervention, a painting appeared, and a sense of freedom and fun that has been missing in me for a while now has started to bubble up along with the hope that I might start trusting life to unfold in the way I do this process of painting.

At night, my dreams have become full of art and paintings, vistas of colour and night skies. My girls tell me that I sit around much more, doing nothing, daydreaming in front of my painting and divining what might come out next.

Clare ran the course last summer and as much as I love her Fairytale Medicine course which I never want to end (I am in the alumni now exploring more fairy tales), I remember thinking when I saw this painting course: Oh no that’s not for me. Little did I know, it was exactly for me and exactly what I needed.

Doing this course has been like opening a window and getting fresh air into the stuffy room of my mind and I am gleefully watching the paint from this course seep out and colour in other areas of my life. It makes me feel lighter and less demanding that things need to look a certain way, or that I have to show up in any other way than the way in which I feel free and joyful and trusting.

The other night after painting outside for an hour, I left my painting propped up by the television, but my husband and I kept looking at it, instead of the television, until he said: Are we people who put art on the walls now? And we sat there for a bit, feeling all different and full of potential, and yes, full of hidden depths.

Painting from the soul bones is available now, use the code: SUMMERSCHOOLEARLYBIRD to grab yourself a deal.

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