I had to carefully compose again after it looked as if I had finished it already.
There was a lot to add. It is so easy with this technique.
And I fixed it. Now it appeals to me. I made it to appeal to me.
When I think what is new about my late paintings, it is that they are more subtle. There is a sense of joy that bubbles up in them. This sense of joy was in my paintings before too. But the feeling was that it had to struggle more in order to express itself. It was beautiful that it did, and there was a sense of drama in every one of those joy expressions.
Now it feels that the joy is comfortable and playful. It does not struggle in order to be.
The dark past is still in the painting. It looks darker than in previous paintings, but it also looks old, weak, dilapidated.
I remember the technique that I developed in healing from far, when I practiced with the group Consciousness Research Institute. I would create a huge dome around myself, full of good energy. Then I’d bring the person to be healed into the dome, to be there with me.
And I would feel the discomfort of having with me in the space of the dome someone whose energy did not match with mine. (Just as the pain in this moment is such energy that does not match mine). And I would let this strange energy be a part of me without resistance. Just like having something in your pocket that you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with, but it is there. So you just get familiar with the feeling of it being there, and you go on with the business of life. Going on being, that now includes this uncomfortable feeling. You let it be until it is a part of you that does not stand out any more. It is not uncomfortable any more, but itself as it is.
Strange how difficult it is to explain this and how natural, spontaneous and simple it was to do it.
So now it starts to feel to me that I am, at last, at this very stage with my past.
I love the little boy who I was, who struggled so hard, with so much pain and fear, and I can’t but admire how courageous he was, how good hearted.
I love him dearly.
And at the same time I get less and less impressed by the traumatic influence of that time. The trauma can be seen in the art. But the joy grows as an expression of freedom. Like a beautiful bird that was caged in darkness and, as it comes out of it, grows and becomes the whole scene.
There are delicate structures that may represent the way I explained things to myself, and they are very fragile. They can fall apart easily or change into something else. And in a way they are irrelevant to the joy.
Joy is the original state. Thinking is a game, happening inside of joy and sometimes becoming too heavy and obscures the joy that it has come from.
So it is a good thing that the thinking, as it appears in the art, has become lighter and less obscuring.
Look at the dark blue and violet shapes at the bottom right. Don’t they look like old remnants of a war that has ended? Do you feel the relief of being joy that is free from those remnants, a joy that does not struggle to be?
I’d say it is still quite moderate. It is just taking stock of the fact it is here. The child has stopped crying and now is becoming interested in everything.
I used to be a graphic designer and an illustrator. I became involved with the Chan Meditation Center and studied meditation and Buddhist knowledge with the late Master Sheng-yen from Taiwan. For twelve years I was in a process of deepening my meditation. I had many more experiences and insights and my life changed. After having illustrated more than 40 children’s books and writing two of them, I left this career too and went to New York University to study art therapy.