Tag Archives: intuitive painting

Calming Whispers

I have been working on this two-page spread in the altered book art journal I am creating with my mother’s prayer cards for a couple of days. I’m filming as I go and the added pressure is daunting.

I get to a point where I’m relatively happy with the background, but have no idea where the page is going next. My head is calling me to ‘do this’ or ‘that’ to make it go a certain way. My heart knows I need to get out of my head so that I can intuit the creative urges calling me to let go and let be.

I do what I love to do when I feel stuck in my head. I wake up Beaumont the Sheepadoodle who is sleeping on the floor by my feet and go for a walk through the forest and grasses that line the riverbank near our home.

I am immersed in nature.

It is there I find myself letting go of thinking about the page and simply allowing what is whispering to be released to come alive.

Creating this altered book journal, My Mother’s Prayers, has been an amazing journey. It has connected me through time and space within the sacred field of grieving and remembering and honouring and healing..

There are so many moments in my relationship with my mother where pain and regret and despair rippled in angry waves creating crenellated, hardened folds in my memory banks. Over time, the folds solidified and I became stuck in believing only distance would keep me safe.

Creating in this journal has felt like standing in a gentle spring rainshower with my head tilted up to the skies. My arms are spread wide. The rain caresses my face and the breeze flows gracefully throughout my being. I am present to and within it all. I am refreshed. Envigorated. Enriched.

In the present, the hardened folds soften, the crenellations become smooth and the edges drift away. The past quietly floats out of view like a boat on the river rounding a distant curve leaving me embraced in the present moment.

And I smile.

My mother no longer visits me while in the bath. She no longer insists I ‘listen up’.

I like to think she’s having the time of her afterlife, living it up for all she’s worth in the heavenly realms of her prayers. Dancing with her brothers. Laughing at my father’s sweet nothings whispered in her ear as he nuzzles her neck. Sharing a meal at God’s table with her parents and brother’s and sisters and Aunties and Uncles and cousins who got there before her. “It took me awhile to get here”, she laughingly tells them all. “I had to clean up some business I’d left undone.”

I like to think she’s happy with how that ‘business with me’ is cleaning itself up. I like to think she too has found peace.

As I finished the final touches on this page, the quote came to me. “Her prayers were the whispers that calmed angry skies and turbulent seas.”

My mother’s prayers are like that boat. They are the sacred container carrying us all to safe harbour, in good times and in bad today. Whether she’s with us in body or in spirit.

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The following is the video I created of making this spread.

I am constantly amazed by how challenging a science video-editing is, and how creative.

I’m also sometimes quite frustrated with the technology and my lack of experience. Like syncing of the sound to video. I worked and worked to make it happen and finally had to accept, it’s not about perfection.

I also had to trust that in time, I will become more adept!

I hope you enjoy the video — sneak-a-peak — there’s even footage of Beaumont in the trees!

Thank you again Laura Hickli for sharing your amazing talent and voice. Mr. Butterfly is so perfect for this piece.

In the studio. I am free.

Your Heart Knows
Mixed Media
11 x 14″ on canvas paper
©2020 Louise Gallagher

Listen to the beat of your heart.
It is unique.
It is your song of joy.

There is a song in every heart, a unique, precious beat that calls each of us to come alive, to ‘live true’, to walk our own path, dance our own song.

In the studio, there are few questions about what is ‘true’ for me. There is only what is appearing as my thinking mind quietens and I sink into the embodied present where I am connected through and to all of life. Immersed in the process, my intuitive being guides me as I fearlessly throw colour and texture onto the canvas.

In the studio, there are few questions about right and wrong, is this best, is this going to work, what do I do next?

In the studio, I feel safe to feel, to hear my heartbeat, my intuition, my deep inner knowing.

In the studio I am free.

Time in the studio teaches me about life, about living true through being who I am without worrying about being someone else, some other way, some other person’s or society’s idea of what is best for me. Unfettered by concerns of the ‘outside’, I listen into the rhythm of my heart and allow all my senses to awaken.

Being in the studio I come alive.

Take the painting above. I had zero idea as to what I was creating yesterday when I began. Much of the painting is the result of a ‘happy accident’ along with a bit of impatience on my part.

I’d begun the day creating backgrounds on deli paper — it’s a wonderful free-fall process of putting paint onto a Gelli Print Pad, making marks and pulling off prints. The deli paper is ideal as it’s relatively translucent and much stronger than tissue paper which tends to tear when it gets wet.

As a girlfriend had joined me in the studio I was showing her how to create a background painting and then collage in the deli paper prints to create interest and texture. Because I was impatient, the printed heart I’d used was still wet when I applied gel medium to get it to adhere to my painted background.

Most of the paint lifted off and suddenly, I had a whole new ‘look and feel’ to work with — as in, the heart became a different colour, was larger than originally intended and had some interesting marks in it that weren’t there when I first began.

From that point, adding colour, more marks, more pieces of printed deli paper along with collaging in bits of ephemera was pure fun – no plan, no ‘thinking’, just playing.

I may still go in and work on it some more. Play with gold. Maybe some white because the beauty of intuitive painting is – ‘done’ is just a relative term. I’m not seeking a final product. I’m breathing through the process, exploring my intuition, relishing the expression of ideas transformed into energy on the canvas and living through the process of expressing what is present. Not a version of what I want it to be but rather, guiding it into becoming what is seeking to express itself through me.

I played in the studio yesterday.

In the studio I am free.

The creative process is a constant journey through trial and error, experimentation and hope.

On the weekend, I began working on a couple of paintings loosely based on my #ShePersisted series. For most of the paintings in the series, I drew a figure that became a stencil, or the actual figure I collaged into the painting after printing onto coloured paper.Which means, I’ve got a bunch of stencils and cut-outs I can use to create new paintings with.

I am not yet ready to sell any of the paintings in the series. I’ve created 40 different paintings with quotes and want to create 52 before I do anything with it.

And that’s where the experimentation comes in. I decided to start creating using the stencils and cutouts and see where it took me.

What happened was fascinating.

With a ‘destination/purpose’ in mind, I was not as loose nor fearless as I like to be when I create. I was too conscious of the outcome. In fact, while I didn’t take a photograph of the original background for this painting, I was so attached to that background, I worked carefully, not fearlessly. In that space, my curiosity took a back seat to my desire to ‘create an outcome’.

And I felt frustrated. Dissatisfied. Unfulfilled in the process.

Creative endeavour is a journey through discovery.

What happens when…

What if I…

I wonder what…

Painting with an outcome in mind limits my freedom to be ‘in the process’. Attached to the outcome, I think, rather than feel, my way through.

The results showed.

The first iteration of this painting, once I applied the same figure who is in the final to it was not satisfying. Though there was a point where I gave a big ‘oof’, which is my sigh of contentment when something goes just right in the process, I moved beyond that moment and muddied up the colours, over rode the symmetry and was too careful in my application of everything!

The final painting pleases me more — though I am thinking of going back in to now bring out some of the flowers…

But, we shall see.

For me, the secret is to let the painting sit for a few days so I can feel my way back into what is calling out to be revealed, or not.

I often begin my paintings with meditation. From that space, words often appear. I like to write them onto the canvas. I use them to inspire me to ‘stay loose’ and to inform whatever is calling out to be revealed.

Underneath this image is written:

A flower doesn’t think about what it is going to grow up to be. A flower just grows into itself.

We can learn a lot from flowers. How to bloom in full colour. How to grow where planted to be who we are and not spend endless time trying to become someone we’re not.

If you look really closely at the first photo of the words painted on, you can see the image of the ballerina — upside down.

As always in life, it’s all in our perspective.

If you don’t like what you’re seeing, change your glasses, change your position, turn things upside down.

Namaste.

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I am creating these paintings for an art show & sale I’m in —

South Calgary Art Show & Sale

Friday, May 12 — 2 – 9pm

Saturday, May 13 — 10 – 5pm

Marda Loop Community Centre,   3130 16th St. SW