Creativity and expression can be a real game changer after a loss. Do you love the singer Adele? (who doesn't!?) It's well know that her hit album 21, was a result of channeling her depression and heartbreak into her music. I've met amazing bereaved parents and siblings who have turned their grief into heartwarming, and sometimes best-selling, books. Painting, drawing, sewing...any type of active creativity can be an inspiring way to change the energy of loss into one of reward. As long as it's got Soul, you are on the right track!
"The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being. "
- Wassily Kandinsky
I had an exciting opportunity last week to view the Kandinsky Retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum. What you may not know about me is that I have spent twice as many years as a professional artist as I have as a medium. My family is rich with extraordinary artists, and with their support, I sold my first painting at the tender age of 8. I'll never forget the moment a 10-dollar bill was pressed into my hand in exchange for my watercolor painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All those years ago, one of my most valuable life lessons was ignited: Do what you love to earn your daily bread.
By my mid-30s I was getting commissions for murals all over the U.S. and Bahamas, when I began to notice a discontent creeping up within me. It worsened with every passing year and job I undertook. No one understood why I was unhappy with my work because everyone assumed that being an artist means you are living your dream! I worked solely on commission and I found my niche as a highly-skilled tromp l'oeil muralist. The discontent became unbearable to me while working on 50 feet of scaffolding painting a domed ceiling in an incredible residence. I mean this joint was NUTS! I was spending my days decorating homes. Homes that were already gorgeous. Making them prettier. And when the time came, my art would get painted over and forgotten. Everyone thought I was crazy for leaving my talent behind when I announced I was going to work as a medium full time. But the heart had gone out of the art for me. My subject matter was dictated by the client and I was simply the hired hand to make it happen. I ended my painting career on a wonderful note however, with a 60 foot mural that I was actually allowed to create and have fun with that is located in the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
How does Kandinsky play into all of this? He wrote a book in 1910, "On the Spiritual in Art," and his outlining theory for all of his creations is that art must possess INNER MEANING. If you do just a little research on his work, you'll find he often describes the energetic vibration of his creations and colors. I have studied the use color extensively in both theory and as a therapy. The color with which we swath our walls sets the tone for everything that happens in the room. You can definitely change the energy of a home simply by painting the walls a different color.
Here's another great quote of Kandinsky's:
"The sun melts all of Moscow down to a single spot that, like a mad tuba, starts all of the heart and all of the soul vibrating. But no, this uniformity of red is not the most beautiful hour. It is only the final chord of a symphony that takes every colour to the zenith of life that, like the fortissimo of a great orchestra, is both compelled and allowed by Moscow to ring out."
Not everyone's "gets" Kandinsky's work; it's not conventionally beautiful like a field of flowers might be. Large, green circles represent the human soul, and a strong, red line can represent the sword of St. George. The best part of it all is that it makes you think. You have to look harder, far beyond the obvious, and FEEL your way through his paintings. Ohhhhh, I love that!
I'm still an artist, probably more so now than I ever was when I accepted money in exchange for my creations. Now, everything I paint is for the pure joy of expression and love it brings me. I got the heart back in my art!
Now, it's your turn. What artistic mediums speak to you? Is it music--like Adele--or painting, gardening, writing, maybe decorating your space in a unique and beautiful way? By embracing art with the intention of expressing the deepest part of your soul, you can not only release your pain, you can watch it grow into something unexpected...even breathtaking.
And who cares if nobody "gets it." Art is an expression of ourselves, not necessarily for other eyes, but rather to fill the hollow spaces of our souls by transforming our pain into a one-of-a-kind celebration of survival. After all, it is by seeing the beauty in our experience that we find the strength to transform, and heal ourselves.
Note: After posting this message, I received this photo from a bereaved mother who is doing a cross stitch tribute of her daughter, Laura. Incredible! Love in action....to Laura's family...thank you for allowing me to share her beauty.
©Mollie Morning Star 2014 Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.