I began painting this series in 1997 upon the encouragement of my aunt who is a Jungian analyst and one of the most amazing people that I have ever had the pleasure to know. She had shown me her paintings done with this technique in the early 1990s and I was captivated by the images and her stories of them. My association with left handed art was one of uncomfortable experiences. Conjuring up my flimsy , clumsy, and awkward attempts to draw still lives in a beginning drawing class in college. I did not imagine that my images drawn this way could be anything but scratches on paper.
Years later I had just graduated with my masters degree and I had relocated to San Francisco. I found myself moneyless, jobless, and holding a deep seated grief in having left my home in Colorado. As an art therapist I knew that my art would be helpful to me but my creativity felt dry and useless under these circumstances. My aunt encouraged me again to try this technique and this time I had nothing to lose.
The first painting entitled “Full Heart, Empty Plate” thrilled me beyond words. What I found here was a direct connection to myself and my unconscious that began an immediate conversation with my inner world. How I felt was on the paper and I didn’t have to think about it. Drawing with my left hand gave me the freedom of not having to cater to my own expectations of creating a masterpiece and thus allowed my images to communicate openly. The symbol of the lion was one that I knew well from my final project in graduate school. It seemed so fitting to see this image as the main character in this painting. He was my guide to show me that what I had learned was still there and it grounded me immediately to relax and have faith in what was next. My association to a lion with their bravery and strength was something I needed to see during this time in my life. I love this lion, fat with wisdom and determined body language. He was a reminder to me that I had grown in my experience and that I was ready for this challenge. The wings were reassurance that I remained adaptable and could fly where I needed to go. I could related easily to the empty plate and silverware erect with the expectation that there will be food. In graduate school I studied the five Buddha families and the karma family was the one I related to the most. Here was another reminder of this energy within me. The karma energy is green and my understanding of it is that the positive energy of karma can have associations with one acting to benefit others, confidence and efficiency. I have always been someone who craves action. However the neurotic or negative side of this energy can manifest with fear of failure, competitiveness, and jealousy. This inpatient lion sits in this room that is infused with both the positive and negative aspects of energy. All the Buddha families are represented her in color except white the Buddha energy which to me represented both the capacity for openness and spaciousness versus laziness and ignorance . The absence of this also had meaning for me. I also associate green as a symbol of growth and I saw it as foreshadowing the immense growth that was to take place upon starting my career.
What a gift this art series has been to my life. A simple image can take us places within ourselves. These paintings hold very specific memories and intricate stories. They have felt to me an emotional snapshot as I look over the many paintings I have accumulated. While only I know the stories within them I know they also carry universal messages and this has been proven time and again when I have shared them with others. I have started a project for myself entitled ” Art on your walls” in my local community. I am grateful to Source Yoga in Fishers, Indiana for opening the walls to my art throughout the year of 2012. A small selection of my spontaneous watercolor paintings are now on exhibit. This mini exhibit will run through April 15th, 2012. Paper mache sculptures will be featured beginning in mid-April.