Blue Morphos Butterfly. Pili Palas, Anglesey. Picture: Darren N.
If a Butterfly flaps it’s wings on one side of the planet it will cause a hurricane on the other side of the World! Cause and effect, or as it’s known the ripple effect. I find the same principle on an emotional level. If I scowl at someone the repercussions from the Butterfly effect could be terrible somewhere along the line just as a smile may produce wonderful effects somewhere down the line.
When I receive feedback and reviews its’s the same effect. I have to say, bar one comment, it has all been positive and thoughtful, bringing me personally, and thus those around me, a warmth and excitement towards life! The fact that I too can share pleasure and joy through my work is an extremely humbling experience that I will forever be grateful for. To know just one simple image can cause such a beautiful Butterfly effect is the main reason I do what I do!
It’s been one of those days today. Out and about noticing scowls, bad moods. Dark aura’s seem to be the theme of the day. Even online I found myself trolled by someone who obviously had nothing better to do with their day. I found this mood rubbing off on me, frustration, anger and resentment building within like a hot flame. A flame I’m only too aware can lead to, for an addict like me and my loved ones, a world of pain and sorrow.
Acceptance is the key! Acceptance of people, places, things and situations. Removing the need to control, removing expectations, removing the focus from self. I always, in times like this, find myself falling into my art, allowing my emotions to run wild and create rather than destroy. Instead of accepting a day of frustration and resentments, I have found a day of peace and serenity through work on my latest commission and working the principles of my 12 step program. After all, I will rest my head tonight sober and at peace!
Today was a beautiful day. It started with a visit to the local crystal shop with members of my extended family, who I feel, in recovery, so much closer to and a sense of love I could not appreciate in active addiction. This was followed by lunch in my mother’s garden with those closest to me and a generally pleasant, content afternoon.
Then home for a well needed AA 12 step recovery meeting followed by a very enjoyable meal. To add the icing onto the cake I also sold my artwork, ‘What Lies Beneath’ this evening.
Perhaps it does not sound like much of a day but after the horror of addiction these simple things do provide me with ‘A life beyond my wildest dreams’ for it truly is crystal clear to me now what is important and valuable in life. Love!
So many of my past paintings have been very dark in image, very probably due to where I was in addiction. Whilst I still enjoy this style I’m seeing and appreciating the colours around me in recovery. This is inspiring me to explore works in new, vibrant tones, feeling the beauty of the rainbow my life is becoming.
Recovery is giving me the opportunity to explore new pastures, to re-evaluate life and my place in it. To reach out, through the fear of the unknown, and allow self expression in a new light. It’s even lead me now to the idea of of a new medium of expression using oils. Allowing me to build a confidence in a new format and hang the results!
It’s strange how going with the flow can make such a difference. Only a few days ago I was struggling with self doubt. Worried about the choices I was making. Whether I’m creating the ‘right‘ kind of art. Should I be commercialising my work? Wanting to stay true to the styles I create that are meaningful to me.
Two days later and I have four commissions and a request for a print! Whilst this request is away from my usual work a commission is a commission and I’m always extremely grateful to receive a request. Whilst creating for the sake of doing so will always come first it is nice to feel appreciated and it does help to put food on the table!
Part of my 12 step recovery program involves daily readings. The following extracts are from, ‘The Language of Letting Go’ by Melody Beattie.
“Go with the flow…
Let go of fear and your need to control. Relinquish anxiety. Let it slip away, as you dive into the river of the present moment, the river of your life, your place in the universe….stop trying to force the direction…Let yourself move forward. Let yourself be moved forward…See things with freshness, with newness. You shall never pass by today’s scenery again.
Today, I will go with the flow.”
This is how I have felt about exploring a lighter, more colourful aspect to my work. The anxiety and fear of moving forward out of the darkness of my past work and into a new, vivid lightness that my years in addiction would not let me explore. Am I good enough? Is my work good enough? Should I be painting what I think others want to see? Can I be true to myself. To the latter the answer has to be a resounding yes!
I will let myself be moved forward. I will trust in what is meant to be and I will trust in my own abilities and style for they are mine alone. I do not want to be who others may wish me to be as I can only be me. I never shall pass by this scenery again today. I will trust in the direction I am being taken. I will go with the flow.
I learnt an important lesson today. I don’t know everything! Art like life is a learning process. Sometimes, but often not, everything comes together perfectly, just as hoped for. Most of the time it doesn’t. Exploring new freedoms, new expression, new flows can be frustrating and annoying. Sometimes they can put up a wall. A wall that feels difficult to overcome. Pretty much a dead end. A point where the thought process can lead to…what’s the point!
However, what I’ve realised is that I’m still learning. Still exploring possibilities, ideas, styles. I’m not the finished product, not by a long shot. Just like my paintings I’m a work in progress. I learned today that when I hit a wall, if I stop and look around, take a step back and see the ‘whole picture’, suddenly I see a hole under the wall, a ladder leaning against it and the whole wall is only ten feet across! In painting, as in life, there is so much to learn if first I see.
I’ve been thinking of doing a piece on a iconic figure, which I have not done for some time. Looking to reach out in vivid colours once again. I decided on Marilyn Monroe as I felt the images depicted by the media do not show what lay beneath. A woman who seemed to have it all but in reality was a lost, out of control soul.
I can connect with this feeling in the style that I paint. My autism feels a need to control, of keeping everything in order, of just so… hence why I use drips in my work. Looking to break that control of a staid perfection, of a simple image by dripping my emotions into the painting and in the process, I hope, bringing the painting to life.
So, what on earth happened to Summer? A ten degrees drop in temperature and it feels like Autumn is here already. Still, it’s meant more time indoors to concentrate on my art projects. However, my partner is less than happy as he’s finally had to get on with the new meditation/chill room, i.e. painting the walls for starters!
As you can see from above he has had a little helper and art seems to run in the family. My daughter, Scarlett, takes every opportunity to paint. Whilst she has been allowed, in this instance, to use the wall I have a worrying feeling we will wake up one morning to a redecorated front room! But I’m so glad she shares my passion for painting. It’s beautiful to be able to share the joy with her and with you.
It seems lately that I’m unable to escape from the theme of lockdown. My thoughts and feelings seem to constantly return to the theme of the lack of physical contact with another human being. I believe this theme is also tied in with my thoughts of feeling disconnected from others as a result of my autism. Of memories of feeling ‘untouchable’ during active addiction yet wanting so much to feel that physical contact. A contact I felt I did not deserve to experience. Could not experience. Feeling like I was reaching out to a fading reality that I was unable to capture. Feeling lost and alone. Hence my latest piece. ‘Untouchable’.
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