Consciously creating with feeling is something I discovered about 6 years ago. I'd always felt that Art-making had a therapeutic element to it, but I'd never tried accessing my feelings on purpose.
One day, a good friend Anna led me through some Art Therapy exercises, as part of her studies in that area. It was revolutionary - in just one hour, I had deeply accessed and brought healing into an area of my life I'd carried for years, without even realising it.
I felt hooked on the natural, organic healing this process facilitated. It felt like such a safe and authentic way to create and from that day on, I began to consciously use my feelings and emotions in my Art, as subject matter.
For the first few years, I would focus on the more 'palatable' feelings within me, mainly because I used to create Art I thought other people would like.
It wasn't until after I studied Art Therapy myself and then fell pregnant soon after, that I finally began to let all my feelings hang out. Becoming a Mother was the biggest challenge I'd ever faced and I felt desperate to make sense of what I was going through. During this time, I felt like the only place I could turn to for inner resolve, was my Art.
Since then, Creating with Feeling has been the cornerstone of my creative process. I have grown to choose colours, shapes, images, words and movements that best match how I'm feeling - all my feelings, even the most vulnerable ones - and express these emotions into form.
I never know what's going to emerge and that's what I love so much about this process. I feel like an explorer in new territory, whilst creating the landscape in my own, colourful way.
For a long time in my painting process, these initial marks don't make any sense to the viewer - and this is a gift I have learned to embrace with gusto. It means, I can let myself go and focus on accessing and expressing my feelings. It means I can let go of creating a 'something' or meeting planned outcomes, and just let my emotions take the wheel.
Because I have grown so accustomed to knowing how I feel, I find that I'm constantly making meaning out of everyday objects. The shapes and forms of a colourful necklace, sunset or plant in my garden can all become everyday beacons, connecting the outside world to within me.
Sometimes when something 'out there' feels like a perfect match to my insides (like this beautiful cucumber growing in our veggie patch, seemingly orchestrating the sunlight with her tendrils), I bring that feeling to life in my painting.
To someone else, it's just a plant and some paint. But to me, it's a symbol of choosing to lean into my inner light and orchestrate a feeling of possibility into my Life.
The challenge with this process is, there is no pre-written road map to follow. It means every moment is a personal choice, of which there are a thousand options. I must live in the moment when I create, or I will get swallowed up in making preparations to meet 'Miss Perfection', which never ends well for me.
I must stay with my feelings, no matter what. As I do, I find my life is becoming more and more authentic, because I'm no longer running from them.
My Art invites me to love all of Who I Am.
A new practice I've begun over the last few months is to begin my day by going within.
Each morning I sit and I breathe and I connect with how I'm feeling, before I put paint to canvas. In this way, I stay authentic in my feeling and I learn to TRUST; trust myself, trust the world around me and trust my own creative process.
Like this Artwork I've shared with you here, my Life is a work in progress. I've found great comfort in feeling my feelings, because this inevitably leads me to what I wish to feel more of.
If I don't know how I feel, how can I know where I want to go?
As this painting unfolds and reaches completion in the coming weeks/months, I will take you through the journey that occurs as I begin to funnel my feelings into new territories: into the world of feeling by choice.