Archive for July, 2015

A Minute In The Mind

Posted on: July 25th, 2015 by Allison 1 Comment

Heart of the Matter Large

Heart of the Matter 24×60

Here is a little insider information. . . when you see pieces I’ve posted on social media that are abstract or linear in nature, this is a clear indication that ‘heavy thoughts are swirling around up in my head and body’ . The above piece was done on a day when I had commissions to work on and 500 other things that needed to be done but I could not do any of them until I ‘released’ the colors or shapes on that painting.

About a year after I started this Venetian plaster technique on wood, I noticed that I could look back on the pieces and what was happening in my life at the time and see clearly what the patterns and colors represented. At the time of doing actual paintings, I’m not purposely painting a certain emotion, I just paint the ‘feeling’ I have. For me that feeling resonates in my chest, like pulling or pressure and it needs to come out. The pieces are usually done very quickly and erratically, almost like I’m not in control of whats happening. I look at the piece when its over sometimes and think ‘I totally did not see that coming’.

As it turns out, these linear pieces are pure emotion and I always breathe easier when they are complete. Sometimes I call them ‘wavelength’ or ‘frequency’ pieces because they kind of show the status of where my head and heart are at the time. After seeing these pieces, a friend said they reminded him of ‘sine waves’ which are shown on a scale as a line representing measurements of smooth repetitive oscillation used in mathematics, physics, engineering and other fields that I am not at all trying to, or capable of tapping into. I think if there was a TV screen that we could plug into our soul that we would all have these different shapes and colors flowing cross the screen like the heartbeat monitor at a hospital and they would change as our state of mind changes.

A few examples of looking back at pieces and deciphering their meanings include a piece I did called ‘Vein of Truth’. This painting was white and had about 10 different shades of blues and greens flowing across it with a burnt orange winding its way through. I didn’t particularly like the piece because it wasn’t like anything i had done before and it wasn’t comforting to me. Consequently the piece was picked up by Crate & Barrel and sold in all of their stores as a beautiful printed/gicleed reproduction. As I looked back at that piece, I realized it was the first abstract ‘wavelength’ piece I had ever done and it was also painted in the middle of my divorce. I guess it was an emotional release of all kinds of bizarre emotions and it resonated with the public. Was it really just a great mixture of colors, or did they somehow feel drawn to the powerful emotions attached to it?


Vein of Truth 24×60


Another example of undercurrents of emotions coming out clearly months after I painted them was sometime in 2011 when I was talking to friends about the pieces sold in the gallery over the past year. I remembered that many of these ‘wavelength’ pieces had a dark brown/black ribbon running through them and even some of my landscapes had this black ribbon even in places where it didn’t make any sense – i.e. there are no black rivers running through the lavender fields of Provence.

One of my friends said matter of factually ‘yes that was the year you painted the oil spill in all of your pieces’ and I was so surprised! It was so obvious and I was unaware that the oil spill had crept into my psyche way more than I was aware. The oil spill in 2010 happened in the first month that I was inhabiting a gallery space all to myself in Rosemary Beach, and it was also the very first month of the busy season in our little beach town. I was feeling the devastation to our beaches and economy at a cellular level, it had gone past my brain and straight into my psyche.

You may notice a trend here, many of the pieces that have found the most success are also the pieces that come at the highest price emotionally. I am constantly striving to make my life better and more stable through practicing Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, reiki and exercise but I also worry that one day all of this therapy may work too well and will get me to complete emotional puffy cloud blissfulness and I will be so screwed because I won’t have any emotional strife to spew out all over the canvas- which means I won’t have an income! It’s a double edged sword, happy and poor, or insane with a decent bank account? Does that sound crazy? You are right, it sounds totally crazy, I don’t think I’m in any real danger of not having erratic emotions to paint. Thank you for listening to me talk myself through THAT dilemma.

Back to the above piece, I really don’t know why I needed to paint that dark turquoise against the white and the reason probably won’t reveal itself for a few months, but I know it needed to come out and it needed to be called “Heart of the Matter” for unknown reasons, or maybe reasons I don’t have the words to articulate. I will take a couple stabs at what the colors in this painting mean:

1) The July heat may have my subconscious hoping for access to a glacier?

2) Maybe its a portrait of my ice cold heart, revealing why I don’t have many or any suitors?

I don’t know if I read it or if I came up with it myself but there is a kind of corny saying ‘art is the language of the soul’ that really makes sense to me. Like most people, I didn’t grow up in a touchy/feely ‘lets sit down and talk about our deepest feelings’ kind of family so dealing with emotions is uncommon territory for many people. I believe that when these feelings and emotions don’t have an outlet creatively they manifest themselves negatively through physical and mental illness. The creativity I’m talking about includes everything from gardening to building giant houses out of playing cards to painting your fingernails. Like food and water, emotions and experiences are coming in – are yours finding a way out? Are you letting your soul speak?

I’m going to take one last guess at what that painting reflects about my current emotional state . . . . it could just represent exactly what it looks like: a bright, pristine beach cut in half by a deep, calm abyss. Maybe the beach represents my years as an artist and gallery owner on 30A which involved being very ‘exposed’ . . . and the abyss is where I am now, taking a break between galleries, undercover, enjoying the stillness and the quiet until I’m back out on that bright beach (New Gallery opening at The Hub on 30A in Spring 2016) – hope to see you there!

– Allison