Thursday, July 03, 2008

Abandoning the Cacophony - not on your life!

Often, while painting, or preparing to paint, much like writing, or preparing to write . . . well, I just said something that I don't believe in. I don't believe we prepare to paint or write; it simply must be done. One must pick up a paintbrush or a pen and begin, without allowing the 'thinking' brain to interfere with accusations or judgment, not allowing anything to crush one's creative spirit. Thinking can come later, in an editing phase, but the act of true creativity must be expressed without the imposition of an oppressed mind. Without fearing that what comes from within is good or bad, right or wrong. Like a newborn child, it must simply be allowed to a flow and authentically become whatever it may be.

These images were not painted with 'thinking' on my mind. I just picked up the paintbrush and began. This was painted in August of 2000 while spending time in Big Sur. I painted another favorite of mine just after completing this particular piece. This was the warm up you might say, dipping into paints (and the unconscious) and playing, not unlike an orchestra that is just assembling, removing their instruments from the case, testing, tuning, rehearsing . . . preparing for the real thing.

My approach to writing comes in much the same way. Most often when I begin to write, I'll take a dream and begin to explore the images, the people, the era, the setting . . . this is a way to expose all of the images, explore them and allow them to be or become what they are meant to be. It is usually in this stage of chaos that a story or a painting will begin to take form, or an image will begin to be transformed. I may spin off of a dream image that I was writing about, it may spark a memory and lead me into a completely different realm and ten or fifteen pages later, I'll look up and ask, Whoa, where did all that come from? It's like visiting a different country, or a different world, but without ever even leaving your chair, or your home, or the cafe you might be sitting in while you're away on 'vacation.' It is a most gratifying encounter, an experience that a dear friend of mine refers to as 'being kissed by an angel.' Being allowed to participate in such an act is what I call experiencing grace.

OK, the following image is what came after painting the jumble of images that you find above at the beginning of this blog. To most they are nothing special. Certainly, a skilled painter . . . alright, most children and even amateurs could paint a far prettier bed of blooming flowers. Yet, this is my bed of flowers, my flower bed where new life has taken form and now blossoms, and beyond words, this painting has deep meaning for me. It represents a time when I experienced a shift in consciousness, when my world or my image of life and the world changed. During periods such as this, one revels in the reality that things, or my blighted view of what once was, will never again be the same -- without a doubt, the Kiss of an Angel.'

Mel Mathews, is the author of several novels, including the Malcolm Clay Trilogy (Fisher King Press). His books are available from your local bookstore, a host of on-line booksellers, or you can order them directly from his website at:

© Mel Mathews - permission to reprint granted with a link back to

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