The article below was written for Hali Karla and her audience at the end of 2012. Today I felt the need to re-publish it ... I like to listen to my intuition so .. here it is!
“We’re not mad, we know what we want.
Live life as if it is a dream... ...
a dream which never ends but is lost in time;
....and keep on searching”. - Ketama
I’m looking at my hands ...... the hands of an artist? a healer maybe? I can see some paint on my left thumb, a residue of my personal and private “let it all go” session yesterday and this tells all - these days I probably identify myself more with the notion of being an artist than anything else. A healer? Who knows? I do believe that colors heal in their own rhythm, in their own time and that earthy shapes resonate with our genes, the origin of our species.... but let’s stop and turn the clock back .... nine years in fact ...... .... I was living in Romania, my country of birth.
My life at the time was dominated by my father’s terminal illness and later his death, a cruel fight which stripped his suffering soul of all dignity - a fight with a Romanian medical system where compassion and caring had long been forgotten by nurses and doctors whose own souls had been driven to a state of emptiness by a harsh regime, where peeling, whitewashed wards and ancient iron beds felt abandoned to a grey nothingness, and an overwhelming air of defeat took one from the moment of that first hesitating step across the threshold into the cold atmosphere of the hospital. On one such day, my British fiancee arrived from England with a parcel - in it, out of nowhere - a “painting by numbers” kit. Let’s be clear .... I’ve always enjoyed going to exhibitions and reading about art (The story of art by Gombrich is still one of the most exciting books I’ve ever came across), and I was always in awe of artists and their talents but this was about it.
In Romania one was never encouraged to express oneself creatively... this was reserve of the very special ones who were born with this talent and who ultimately went to the architecture university or to the art school. Art was deemed by the system to be a waste of time, not a serious thing to do.... while being an engineer, a doctor, an economist ... well ... that would be more like it! That’s a proper career! But for whatever reason, nine years ago art arrived into my life by parcel. I am clear now that it was meant to be, that somehow painting was a last gift to me by my father. What kept me calm then, red in box A7, green in F31, was a seed that helped me to grow after I came to England eight years ago.
Since then art has been my constant companion through the ups and downs of forging a new life in a new country, it has opened the door to my local community and it has helped me connect with lovely, lovely people from around the world and so much more.
Years ago I had no idea why I felt so good when I was painting .... what I knew was that the hours just flew by and through my paints and brushes I was able to step inside a world where my reality could be left outside the door, where my painful past did not exist and so I was peaceful ...... with my music in the background, a warm room, always coffee next to me ..... and four hours later I would return to the here and now, refreshed and calm.
Years later while studying to become a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist I came across the notion, the theory of “being in the flow”, in a self-induced-trance, and the immense benefit these states of mind have on the human psyche. In reality I was living it way before I was able to put a label on it. What kept me going hour after hour into the small hours of the morning was also my curiosity. Painting by numbers came at a time when I just wanted to explore again - and so discovered painting books, art magazines, art on the web ....and started to try to replicate some of the things I saw ... first on postcard size boards using watercolors, then becoming more adventurous with oils and eventually falling in love with acrylic paints, chalk pastels, oil pastels, inks, charcoal and the myriad of materials that fall under the mixed media umbrella. What I discovered also was that I felt the need to share my discoveries with as many people as possible and in no time
I found myself hosting Wednesday morning “let’s paint together” circles with people I had met while volunteering for local cancer research and mental health charities. Our little group became more than just painting together... it also became about sharing our difficulties in life, about giggling about the good times, about the joy of eclectic cooking, the flavors, the eastern aromas and munching together, about sharing our life stories, about just enjoying the company of each other. It was actually a healing through art group but at the time I did not see it as this. My group went on for a year, attracting more soul mates, until I moved to a new town. I still miss that warmth around that dining table. Another great gift that came from experimenting with art was the wholly unexpected web of distant art communities where I really feel that I belong, where I can be inspired and maybe inspire others, where I am often reminded that generosity of spirit is something that crosses language barriers, country borders, nationalities and age, where I find strength, a place which is an oasis of love, of new experiences and joy.
Another thing I’ve learned from being an artist is to wave good bye to the perfectionist within me........ go and visit somebody else please. This was and still is one of the best gifts that art has given me ......besides the healing platform. Why? Because being Romanian and being raised under the umbrella of “you are not good enough! try harder! more studies! better paid jobs! don’t stop! there is no time for play and fun” I now find that I’m learning all over again, giving myself permission to paint for pleasure and not for result, to play and not take myself too seriously, to enjoy and to smile more, to listen to my soul and to my intuition. It always makes me smile when I remember that only two years ago I took part in my first exhibition, organized by a local charity, and sold two out of my three paintings on show. The joy of seeing a red dot on my two paintings is one of my most cherished memories......
Imagine it, two people decided that they want to spend their money on something I had created.... me a novice, me a beginner, somebody who used to play down my passion for painting when I was talking to “real” painters.
Since then, my confidence has grown, more exhibitions have come along, and more paintings have been sold .... and I even hold painting from the soul events from time to time where I encourage my new friends to listen to their inner voice and to paint from their inner space. I encourage them to forget about a house is a house and a dog is a dog .... I ask them to paint the energy of the house, the voice of the dog .......... So girls ........... I’m like each and every one of you on a great journey. What I know is that my journey would be way emptier, way sadder, way lonelier if not for the gift of art, the gift of color, the gift of sisterhood that I have with so many like minded souls. I’m just lucky to be in touch with you.
To end..........you can also see some of my let it all go paintings on www.corinastuputhomas.artweb.com