Healing is a complicated and diverse process. Painting is an undertaking that is often highly beneficial to this process as it is a powerful and expressive healing modality. Whether you are the painter or the subject, you become part of a practice that seeks to understand the energy behind your emotions. You can discover many things along this path and find a sense of emotional clarity and mental peace in understanding emotions that are more allusive to your being.
In everyday life, true self expression is often hindered by inhibitions and insecurities found in the advent of verbal communication. The process of artistic expression is highly fluid and there are no limits to what can be expressed through visual stimuli, because art is primal to our nature and utilizes the language of energy in a different way from verbal communication. Our energy is programmed to react in a specific way to specific representations of visual stimuli that we interpret as symbolism.
Allow me to provide a few examples of how emotional and mental energy can be translated into color and vice versa by interpreting one of my paintings from my perspective. In doing this I can demonstrate the way in which these theories on energetic translation are applied to my style of painting.
This is a relatively simple painting, a quick intuitive Soul Painting of my friend, whom I will call “M.” It is a colorful and distinctly abstract piece full of symbolism that reveals many intricacies of her character and individual energy. Her hair is red, which is symbolic of excitement and determination. Hair is an extension of our nervous system and across many cultures represents our defining outlook on the environment.
Interestingly enough, she wears a green bow which is the same color as most of her surrounding environment. Dark green is often associated with growth and harmony, as well as calmness. From these observations alone, we can make the guess that harmony and personal effort are important things to M.
In my opinion, clothing can symbolize the attitude we clothe ourselves in, and the way in which we choose to present our truth to the world. In this portrait, her clothes are blue and purple. I have always found this interesting, because blue is a soothing color associated with the properties of perception, while purple is a color of mystery and allure. M is a very receptive person who always listens to the perspectives and viewpoints of other people with an open mind, but is often elusive in sharing her own. It is fascinating how the symbolism and psychology of these seemingly irrelevant things in the painting can be used to reference aspects of her personality.
When we move on to her skin, we see it is multiple colors, mostly yellow, some green, blue and pink. From looking at the entire painting, we see that she shares many colors with her environment, which suggests she is highly permeable and impressionable to what surrounds her. The yellow shades we see are often blended with tones of orange and pink. Yellow is associated with optimism and creative expression; I like to think the complementary tones are also complementary to the symbolism to be interpreted. Pink and orange symbolize sensitivity and enthusiasm. Because much of her environment and her skin tone are represented by these colors, I feel that she is energized by things that inspire change and move people emotionally.
Finally, if we draw attention to a couple subtle, yet distinctive areas of the painting we can perceive more enigmatic aspects of her personality. For instance on one side of her we see an area that is dominated by the color blue with bits of magenta. On the other, we see an area that is yellow-green and red.
These two sides contrast quite a bit, and in doing so they also allude to contrasting sides of her energy. Most interestingly, they are positioned right above her head in a manner that aligns with the hemispheres of the brain. My strongest feeling is that those are representative of two dominant thinking styles and approaches.
Blue represents perception and calmness, while magenta is symbolic of emotional balance and clarity. On the flip side, yellow-green is symbolic of intellect and meticulousness, which is further amplified by the red, which symbolizes organization and action. Taking all this into account, I feel M. places just as much value on sentiment and emotional reasoning as she does on facts, details and theory and she is perfectly capable of utilizing both approaches when making decisions.
Taking everything into account as the artist, I learn quite a bit from my paintings when I apply theory of symbolism and energetic perception to my artwork; by sharing what I have learned, the person I’m painting learns too, and can be healed by what they learn. I like to think of myself as a channel in the process, inputting raw data from the energy into the painting. When you place all preconceptions aside when perceiving another individual or their energy, it is a beautiful thing because you make space in your heart for their truth to come in. That is how you connect.
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