“Every line is the actual experience with its own unique story” ~ Cy Twombly
Acrylic, oil crayon and mixed media.
760 h x 1200 w
This new work was once a painting I had ‘ruined’ and made ‘ugly’. Recently I was listening to an audiobook by Nancy Hill M.D., The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity. Nancy offered an exercise where, rather than turn away from ugly, we embrace it and love it. When I lived near Peter Jackson in Wellington I used to hate graffiti. I would paint it out whenever someone ruined a beautiful wall. But now this painting is both an ode to the American abstract artist CY Twombly and also the beauty of bold scrawls.
Twombly used to use ‘common’ house paint. In a flash of insight, he gave me permission to do this too. I went to my studio, took several canvases that I thought were ‘ruined’, fetched Resene’s “Double Masala’ from where we stored our house paint and began to create. everything flowed. I took some old oil crayons and scrawled.
The work was in part, my attempt to make sense and transform something ‘ugly’ or what Trump might call “a nasty’ comment a psychologist in the US emailed me after receiving my recent newsletter, reprinted below:
As you’ll see, I included feedback from a client who was so happy with what she had achieved in her coaching. And she also followed up with another email to thank me for my help.
This is the email I received:
A couple of things concerned me:
But worse, she is, like me, in the helping profession. I expect better from people registered as psychologists. I don’t expect to be attacked. I wrote back to her, “Can you please send me confirmation of your membership body as I wish to lodge a complaint with them regarding your unethical and unprofessional correspondence.”
She didn’t come back to me!
And I didn’t pursue it. Because I don’t need to waste my time and energy.
But of real concern was how much her email knocked me. Initially. It was my partner’s birthday. We were just getting ready for a lovely day together. I didn’t need a nasty email. I wish I hadn’t read it. I share my experience with you because we all have to learn to speak up and speak with truth and integrity when people are toxic to us. Many of my clients are afraid of putting their work ‘out there’ because they fear being vulnerable. They fear being shamed. They fear being attacked.
Being attacked hurts – but not nearly as much as being a person who attacks others. Being attacked can sting like a bee. Being attacked can pierce like a poisonous dart. But it needn’t last. It needn’t strike its mark. We can learn to self-soothe. We can learn not to digest fake news. We can learn to channel toxic, negative experiences into something good.
Which is what I did when I went to my studio that day. I took a colour I don’t normally paint with, grey, and as I made my graffiti marks, I laughed, I giggled, and I whooped.
Something ugly was transformed into something filled with light, love and laughter.
Here is another piece I created
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” ~ Kenn Butler
Mixed media, molten New Zealand beeswax, encaustic, oil crayon, passion
Pro-panel artboard 400mm x12mm
Handcrafted in New Zealand
New work created during global ‘rest time’.In honour of the new movement sparked by Dr. Joe Dispenza, called GOLOV-20 So much loving energy! So much healing:) so much joy
And also this piece – a reminder about the power of letting go
“I had my freedom and that was nice” ~ Cy Twombly
Mixed media, oil crayon, acrylic, passion
and this one….
So really, I have a lot to be grateful for. Those ugly comments from the registered psychologist sparked a flourish of creativity!
An email I received from an attorney in the STATES also affirmed what I have know to be true —some of the craziest, most unenlightened people I have met are psychologists – many of whom regard themselves as morally superior.
a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
CassandraThat is a powerful knockback. I like how you responded. When I was first starting out in a new role, I did a job right before Christmas when I didn’t have all the materials I would normally use. It wasn’t my finest work. They sent me a note urging me not to “inflict myself on anyone else”. It knocked me. But I saw the importance of self-talk like, “everyone makes errors”, everyone has to start somewhere”, “if I don’t carry on, what will I miss out on in the future”, “my mistake was much more minuscule than the guy who sailed the liner in near the coast to boast to a friend and capsized” etc. Once I had gained a new perspective, I was good to go, but toxic words do deliver a blow, so definitely a strategy is needed.
“Twombly’s recent paintings are based on drawings made in North Africa, but there is nothing specifically African about them. Large, streaked expanses of white with straggling black lines scrawled across them, they resemble graffiti, or the drawings of pre-kindergarten children. The contours of the white area enclosed by line suggest rows oftottering, crudely fashioned spikes or totems. Presumably the feeling-content of this art is ugliness: shrillness, conflict, cruelty. There is something that resembles a crown of thorns. Fine. The artist is clearly a sensitive man and this is what he finds in the world. Does he have to express it clumsily?
The answer is ‘yes’ writes, Joshua Rivkin in his biography of Twombly, Chalk. “The rough unfinished edges were no accident but a careful performance, a stance against perfection.” Twombly’s style was a very conscious refusal of technique in favour of spontaneous expression.
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” – Kenn Butler
I will leave the final closing thoughts with branding specialist Cat Conroy
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I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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