You are finished when the painting is finished inside you.
What comes after you believe you are finished may be the most important time in your painting.
Levels of Completion
Every process painting has cycles of birth, maturation, and death, and within every cycle a pulse beats. There are several levels of completion, and after each level you have a strong impression that you are finished. The intellect tells you that you are done when you simply do not want to go on, when you resist a change, or when you are afraid to challenge yourself further. But if you work through this transition and touch the next level, you will be amazed at how easy and joyful it is to be carried by a new wind.
Then, the same phenomenon happens again, and once more you are convinced that you are finished. If you pursue the exploration by adding more, the most important time of the painting will reveal itself, unfold, and fulfill you. Your creative potential will grow and mature when you seek the greatest depth, when you reach beyond your limitations. Then you will become passionate in your work.
If you stop at the first level, you are dealing with only the surface, never touching the hidden layers, never meeting the beauty of not knowing what to do, never really facing the void. It is relatively easy to start a painting, to put a few marks, shapes, or images on a white surface. But the real process begins only after this is done, when you run out of ideas, when you finally don’t know what to do, when the path is narrow, for there is less room on the painting and there are fewer apparent options. It is then that you have to dig deeper in yourself, to relinquish control, and to tune in to larger dimensions and energies. Then you become the receiver rather than the doer.
To pursue the exploration to the end is the price of passion. It takes commitment, love of discovery, desire to use your whole potential, and a fascination for the mystery of living!
This article is adapted from the book Life, Paint and Passion: Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression, co-authored by Stewart Cubley.
A Sneak Peek at Omega
We're about to head out for five days of painting at the beautiful Omega campus in New York's Hudson Valley. We'll have an active studio, with thirty-one painters registered so far -- but there's still lots of room in this big, vibrant space if you want to jump in and join the fun! At this workshop, Stewart Cubley will be joined by facilitator Matt Belay and affiliate instructor Caroline McCartie, so plenty of help and personal attention will be available.
We love our annual visit to Omega and though you might enjoy a quick photo tour of this special place.
Our Omega workshop runs from this coming Sunday, June 19 through Friday, June 24. To learn more or to find out about other opportunities to participate in The Painting Experience, visit our Programs page.
We hope to paint with you soon!