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My Painting Process

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THE FIRST TIME I TRIED PAINTING, MY WORLD EXPLODED OPEN

It was 20 years ago, and I remember dipping the bristles into vivid blue pigment and smoothing them over a sheet of paper pinned to the wall.

All I cared about was having the freedom to play!

That way, I’d stay open to spontaneity, adventure, and the mystery of the unexpected.

 

Not only that, I learned to ask open-ended questions that would give me unlimited permission to unleash my wild, creative self.

 

Questions like:

What if I could take a risk?
What if it didn’t matter what it looked like?
What if there was nothing to lose?

The entire notion turned me on. I mean, what if I applied those same questions to my life?

Too often, we get caught up in trying to find the right answers so that we can have the security of knowing our entire lives are mapped out for us. But have you noticed how those same “right” answers can leave us feeling trapped & boxed in?

 

I explore this more in my game, The Game of You™, which you can play the interactive, online version for FREE by entering your name & email below.

NOW, WHEN IT COMES TO MY PAINTING PROCESS, ANYTHING & EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Painting is my safe space, and that makes me very happy. There’s always one painting I’m working on, thumbtacked to the wall in my bedroom.

 

I paint like others journal. I probably have around 300 paintings catalogued in order of date underneath my bed. A friend said to me once, “You keep painting until your bed reaches the stars!” I’ve never forgotten that.

 

When I find I want to curl up into a ball & hide, take a long nap or rage or cry, I gently nudge myself to pick up my brush & meet the paper head on.

 

It’s cathartic, sure. But it’s more than that. For me, it’s like an active meditation—enabling me to wake up to life’s endless possibilities.

 

It doesn’t matter why a particular image wants to come through or what it signifies. I paint with wonder—just allowing my brush to take me in the direction it chooses. (After all, these paintings are less about me & more about me getting out of my own way, so that the current of creativity can come through.)

 

Without consciously trying, each image exposes the curves, swirls, and edges of my life.

Sometimes, monsters, knives and holes come in.

 

Sometimes flames, flowers and light go out.

 

Dipping my brush into paint & sliding the bristles across paper, I feel vibrant, alive and connected to something far greater than me.

 

Regardless of the images—dark or light—I feel energetic, awake, even high. What I hold in my perception becomes more vivid. I’m content, open, present, and need to do nothing more than meet color with paper.

 

This is also how I now meet life, 20 years later.

. . . I am grateful.

(These paintings are only a glimpse into my painting process and range from app 3 ft. to 12 ft. tall painted with gouache on fine French paper. All artwork on The Game of You™ cards were also painted with gouache on fine French paper.)

Lynn Newman