Kind Promise: I will open to this moment.

What can painting teach me about openness?

In a way, I should leave the page blank. Surely a blank page says more about openness than anything. On the other hand, leaving the page blank is no way to learn anything. If I leave the page blank, I will be safe, but I will not be alive. So I make a mark.

paintingFor the first piece, I use a near-empty bottle (an energy drink left by one of my PCA’s) to hold open the space. That is one of the ways I leave “open space” in my life – to fill it with something I don’t care about just to hold other things back.

I take the bottle away and paint around the open space. Sometimes the paint moves into the empty space a bit, but generally the paint moves where the wetness is. The dry open space is left bare. Perhaps I don’t need to fill an empty space in order to guard it.

  •  What is in my life guarding space for future openness?
  • What might I release in order to feel the space open?

I experiment with leaving open space without a guard. The openings are less controlled, less predictable in shape but more natural. I like the freedom I feel while creating them.

painting painting

paintingThere are other kinds of openness. There are structures that, by their nature, feel open. I paint a background and then trace a circle over it. There is openness because of the line.

  •  What structures in my life naturally invite openness?
  • Are there others I would like to add?

paintingOne of my favorite kinds of openness is not about space. It’s about light. The spaciousness of “light shining through” appears over and over in my paintings. (I always run out of yellow paint before other colors.) I didn’t recognize it as openness until now.

  •  How can I recognize and celebrate this openness more often?

I will take these questions with me into my journal and into future image making.

In my final openness piece, I left an open space and then made motions of opening with my brushstroke. I splashed paint. I celebrated freedom.