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Walking Through Shame

I’m feeling a lot of shame today. As I paint 7 large images for my Emotions Solo Show at the Eisemann, I revisit my premise. It seemed simple enough. I was to create each painting from my heart, not my mind. I would build original work derived from my deep subconscious. The goal being to create totally abstracted images that convey a variety of emotions. They will be stylish and sophisticated works as I have directed in the past. But that is not what’s happening and thus I’m feeling shame.

Here’s how it works. I find a song with a personal connection. I isolate myself in the studio and play that one song repeatedly while creating the start of my painting. My starts are messy strokes, blended colors, and line which I rework and rework. With experience, I’ve led these messy beginnings into artsy abstracted stories. I have prided myself on my lofty abstracts; they're more than representational recreations because they reflect deep pure emotion. Or that is what I tell myself.

Here's the problem. I followed my process as usual, but something new is happening. Instead of pure abstraction, I’m discovering that iconic shapes are rising to the surface! The painting is telling me what it wants to be, but I am ashamed of it. I don’t do heart icons! I’m above that, or so I tell myself. But that is my ego-based mind speaking, not my spiritual center. I'm discovering that my process is leading me somewhere vulnerable. This new painting makes me flush with embarrassment and worry. Is it good? Is it worthy? Aren’t icons childish? So many preconceptions and misconceptions. We carry all sorts of shame in this society. We can harbor shame about our looks, height and weight, marriage status, careers, sexual orientation, homes, cars, and even our families. And yes, shame about our art. But why?

Aren’t we individualized expressions of Spirit, and don’t we each have unique Creative DNA that should be expressed? And how could that expression be wrong? How could the very human essence of who you are be insufficient? It can’t be.

If I were to back away from this project, I would be turning my back on what a Spiritual Artist is. I can’t do that. And I won’t do that. But it’s not going to be easy. I know I will have a variety of emotions throughout the day in the next few months; from ecstatic to despondent, but all emotions are part of the journey. Don’t walk away from what makes you an original artist. Feel the emotion. Walk through shame. Let yourself be embarrassed. Just live it.

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