The Alchemies of Acrylic {paint, not nails}

Updated: Jul 21

I have spent countless hours of my life in my various studios/basement hovels/spare bedroom/sweltering hot garage painting spaces working my shit out on a canvas. Two degrees in Painting and Drawing left me thinking that oh by gosh my golly, the more angst I felt while painting the more famous I would become.

Or potentially achieve minor fame - like being the most famous painter in my least my street??

I left NYC after completing my MFA to return home to teach art {because what else do you do with an MFA?}. As I was leaving my teacher told me "You can't work full time and still hope to be an artist. That's ridiculous." The rebel in me decided to do just that. I painted regardless of whether I was inspired, whether I had a "good idea," or whether my energy was really where it needed to be. I just PAINTED. And I was miserable.

The missing ingredient? Selflessness {we'll get back to that}. I was painting for myself, my ego, my pride, and out of spite. None of my teachers told me that painting should be enjoyable, could have real purpose, or could be of service to someone else. It was a guts and glory situation, only I couldn't see/smell/taste/hear those trumpets of glory anywhere, ha!

It wasn't until I became a mother that a deep stirring in me started to rumble - and that was because I was entering a life of giving and selflessness. That rumble was deep and spiritual, a place I hadn't touched yet, and I intuitively knew it was my true source of creativity.

Motherhood sent me deep into darkness while also giving me the courage to face the dark catacombs of my subconscious patterns, being uncomfortable yet relaxed with mystery, and a desire to start creating for someone other than myself. Spoiler alert - though the deep rumbling was there, the paintings themselves hadn't gotten "there" in my first few years of motherhood. But every single painting is a step towards that ineffable "thang" that we are always walking towards {hum...that's another post altogether}.

That deep inner rumble was/IS often a turbulence of inspiration mixed with "huh?!" as I really step into what artistry was before it got schooled. Literally. That ooching out of darkness is a personal metaphor for stepping out of my own egoic desires for what I want to paint and into genuinely wanting to paint for others.

Enter the Alchemies of Acrylic {and this artist finding herself painting people and animals}.

{SIDE NOTE -I gave up on oil paint when I started painting inside my own house and took up acrylics years ago. If you're an artist and are wondering if you can achieve the same depth with acrylics, YES you can. Treat yo' self to some good Golden mixing mediums here:}

My favorite definition of alchemy is "A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination." The first step in what I now see as a purely spiritual and 100% magical painting practice is to decide to paint for others FIRST. To offer yourself up as a conduit for their stories, their lives as sources of creative endeavors.

The second step in this alchemical practice is to remove yo'self from THEIR story. I might be the one painting it, but I endeavor to "soul-craft" {a Shamanic term you should look up, it's beautiful} and to intuit what they need painted and not what I want to paint FOR them.

Just like fire is the crucial element in the alchemical process, there has to be a catalyst behind the first two steps in the Alchemies of Acrylic. Also, this is completely an invention of my own imaginal mind and there is no "last step." It's just fun to think of it as "Step 1 to Painting Alchemy!" My catalyzing element in shifting from an egoic narrative and into a place of wanting to serve someone with my talents is my daily dive into my pituitary and pineal gland.

Yes. My glands.

And by this I mean yoga and meditation techniques to clear out the clutter, my own stories, fears, and superficial chit chat of the subconscious mind. I don't need that muck flying around the studio, leeching onto a painting. No one needs that shit in their home. My yoga and meditation practices have become the pressure cooker I turn on every day to help me project into my paintings from a place of clarity and bliss. A pressurized system to create crystal clarity and a process of intuitive and divine trust.

That's a topic for another post, and that post will be an entertaining read no doubt. The takeaway here, after you've gotten over the bit about my glands, is that creativity CAN and SHOULD be of service to others. Absolutely still paint for yourself, because you are as worthy a client as anyone else, but your talents can be used to connect you to someone else on a deeply human level that is beyond joyful.

I'll end this first post, 2 days before January 1 2021, with one of the most powerful Shamanic teachings I have been given {I am not a Shaman, but truly bow to that knowledge and teachings} - it is time to dream a better dream for humanity. Our dreams shape our realities and therefore are the sources of our manifestations. I began to dream a dream of sharing my gift with others as a way of CONNECTING to spirit and I want to amplify that dream in the coming years.

Alchemize your creative practices, even if they are not painting. Give the gift of your talents where you can and HAVE FUN DOING IT. I wrote this post while wearing my daughters light-up unicorn headband as a reminder to do just that xo.