Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Isn’t that Fascinating? I sure think so.

India Ink and Acrylics on Mixed Media Paper 11 x 14″ Louise Gallagher

In the quiet of the morning…

Leaves rustle
Traffic hums as it crosses the bridge
Birds sing in tree branches
Piano music plays gently in the background
Quietly, softly, I come home to my heart.

Outside my window, the river flows calmly. The BuaffloBerry bush that just a few short weeks ago was only as tall as the fence, now rises up above the railing on our second story deck.

Life flows. I flow with it.

In my heart, joy flows quietly filling in the cracks where life’s hurts have broken it open to experience the pain and wonder of being human.

My heart is stronger for the pain and healing that inevitably follows with the grace of autumn leaves falling and growing back again in spring.

A broken heart is an open heart. An open heart is a loving heart.

I let the joy flow freely, stirring my heart to beat wildly in Love with this life of mine, this world I inhabit, this place I sit in the quiet of the morning.

Yesterday, I played in the studio. I mean played. Really played.

I had no destination. No plan for what I would do. I simply wanted to play and experience the process of colours and ideas flowing. Plus, I had some new India Inks I wanted to try out. In the process, I learned something about myself that is amusing me, and exciting me.

Alcohol Ink on Yupo Paper
11 x 14″
Louise Gallagher

If you’ve been following along on my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I love playing with alcohol inks. I love the vibrancy of the colours, the free-flowingness of the process. The unpredictability of the outcome.

But, here’s the thing. There are only so many pretty paintings of flowers I can create before becoming bored, or at least somewhat tired, of the lack of challenge in the art-making.  (a little self-confession – I was challenged by the flower in the middle when I created this painting. It wasn’t working so I really had to work at creating something out of the big blob it first appeared to be — which I admit, was fun and challenging, but it still became… just another pretty flower painting…)

Because that’s the thing my playdate in the studio taught me yesterday.

I like art-making where I’m challenging myself to create something with more ‘depth’ than what alcohol inks require of me. And yes, I could create ‘real’ paintings of scenes and things with alcohol inks — it’s not the techniques that inspire my imagination. It’s the process of discernment I experience when exploring colour, shape, texture, mood, ideas… that inspires my imagination to leap and my heart to run wild.

India Ink and Acrylic on Mixed Media paper
11 x 14″
Louise Gallagher

The art may not be as ‘appealing’, but the process is definitely more heart-enriching for me.

And so, yesterday I played and deepened my understanding of what makes me tick, not just in the studio, but in life.

I like feeling challenged. I like to feel like I am growing, shifting, experimenting with what I know to expand it into the cracks where I don’t know how strong or resilient I am to discover the more of who I am when I let my heart run wild and my imagination flow free.

I’ve always known I’m an experiential learner. I’ve just never realized, the experience of art-making ignites my soul.

Isn’t that fascinating?

I sure think so.

Namaste.

 


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Intersections: my word for 2017

intersections-copy

Intersections — Mixed media on watercolour paper 11″ x 14″

For the past several years, every December I meditate with the intention of being open to a word appearing that will be my guiding thought for the following year.

Sometimes, the word struggles to reveal itself as I block the process, pushing and prodding and trying to direct its natural appearance. In my desire to control the process, I test its strength, purpose, presence and put up roadblocks everywhere.

Sometimes, it appears and there is no getting away from it. It just is, and any machinations on my part simply affirm its presence more soundly.

The word for 2017 was such an occurrence. It appeared early in my process and wouldn’t leave. It stuck around, gently pushing me, instead of me prodding it.

As in past years, my intention was to meditate on the word and then, create a painting that represented it. I don’t ‘create’ it as much as it creates itself.

This past weekend was slightly different. I didn’t have an intention of creating a painting of the word. It just happened.

I was in the studio and started playing with my Gelli Print pad (a really fun rubbery pad that let’s you create prints of images – search for Gelli Print on Pinterest and you’ll find lots of references). I didn’t really have an intention for what I was doing. I simply wanted to explore, have fun and be open to whatever happened.

Using a pale yellow tissue paper as my substrate, I printed images on several pieces, experimenting with colour and texture. With some I used a bird stencil. Others, I used string and various shapes. Eventually, I decided I’d created enough prints and moved on to my canvas paper.

And that’s where the fun started.

Gelli Print image used in painting

Gelli Print image used in painting

Underneath the painting you see, is an old painting I wasn’t too fond of. It’s presence informs the process, creating interesting texture and background that would not have been as rich had I not chosen to trust in the process. Included in this painting are cut up pieces of one of my Gelli Print images as well as pieces of grey self-adhesive drywall gridded tape that I decided would be fun to experiment with.

See, often when I paint, I don’t really have a ‘destination’ in mind. I simply have a desire to express my creativity and be open to the process.

For me, that’s where the excitement, the joy and the contentment intersect.

The painting for my 2017 word, INTERSECTION, is the outcome of trusting in the process, leaning into creativity and letting it lead the way. There was no path, no guaranteed outcome, no sure and safe way to do it. There just was ‘the way’.

Which once again affirms that when I trust the process, the way appears.

Namaste.