The Source:
Working with Creative Energy Over Time

The original sketch for "The Source," done in 1994.

The original sketch for “The Source,” done in 1994.

Back in the studio after a rather long hiatus; wondering what I would paint; knowing that after a break of several months, it would be impossible to go back to the exact atmosphere or reconnect with the same energy of the paintings I had planned to do before events took me out of the studio, I began looking through sketchbooks, and came upon a very simple sketch made of a dream image I had wanted to paint way back in 1994, but had never gotten to.

In the dream, I was shown an image that I was told was a sort of prototype or was typical of what the images in my new paintings would look like. I felt ecstatic and energized by the image and told myself to remember it upon waking, so I could start working with that type of imagery. The colors were very light for me, ultramarine, cerulean, thalo, with a lot of white; pinks, pale oranges, and earth tones, particularly burnt sienna. It came to me that if I wanted to try and paint this image all these years later, I needed to somehow project myself back into the dream state in which I saw the original image, and let myself paint freely from there. When I began working with the image, however, I found it was too old; that I could not revisit it in its original energetic form after so much time had passed. I nevertheless tried, but the result was a bland, boring painting totally lacking in energy. As I looked at it, horrified, something shifted, and I began working over the original shapes. A few hours later, even more horrified, I realized that it now looked like a very poorly executed blob of an abstract painting.

"The Source," Oil on Gessoed Board, 12 x 12" $250.

“The Source” – 12 x 12″
Oil on Gessoed Board: $250

Finally, I began to sense an animal spirit presence trying to make itself known in the painting. After much more staring at the painting, I realized it was a polar bear. “Hmmmm,” I thought. “Well, why not? It can’t get any worse.” After two more painting sessions, here’s the result:

“The Source” is still very wet and unframed, but available for sale through Turtle Mountain Mythic Art.

The moral of this story being…I think… that like everything else in life, creative energy isn’t static. While it may shift and change over time, if you love it enough to make an effort to reconnect with it, old, almost forgotten energy will reveal itself to you in its new form.

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"Creating a work of art is essentially a conversation between artist and image that begins long before brush is put to canvas and continues on long after the painting is physically finished."
- Scarlet Kinney