transformation through painting

The cycles of creativity

In the painting process, there is a lot of time spent in finishing the painting. Sometimes it seems like a painting will not let go of us. We are sure it’s over and yet it lingers, calling us back further into itself, ourselves, actually. We had no inkling of the depth the experience held, nor of the beauty waiting for us in the final moments.
My dog died recently, and although I’ve heard that from so many people, I had no idea how strong an experience it would be for me. She had been ill for many months, and every so often, I would give in to the idea of putting her to sleep. what stopped me was her gaze, her ability to stay awake to everything, and still give love.
When her last days did come, I wasn’t at home, and had a hard time believing it was really happening. And at the end, her death gave me and everyone involved enormous gifts. Later, I wondered at how I thought I was done so many times. There is a formidable cyclic quality to the way things move and unfold in nature and life. While we think we are done, the conclusion, when it appears holds it all. The act of surrender to it allows for the biggest opening.
In teaching painting last month at a workshop in Massachusetts, I saw that the finishing holds the most unfolding. In a wonderful novel about dogs, and a boy, called Edgar Sautelle, an old wise woman named Ida, says she “reads the juice”.
In painting for process, we are reading the juice, without interpreting, or entering into it, just being with it. sometimes it just takes us farther than we know. This wouldn’t have happened until that happened, or this and that came at the same time. we know these things. We just sometimes think we know more than that.

Debbie Purdy


Creative Wings Studio