What Are My True Feelings? Expressing them in Paint – Calistoga

‘May Feelings’ acrylic on canvas  about 4 x 5 feet   May 2012

click on images to enlarge

A ‘Red Line’ series is falling into place. It started over a year ago with this painting.

I was awake and wanted to paint. It was 2:00 in the morning. This happened during a workshop taught by  Leigh Hyams http://www.artsreal.com/. at Mountain Home Ranch in  Calistoga, California. I put some warm clothes on, took my  flashlight and went down to the studio. Turning on the lights I brought out a large roll of pre-gessoed canvas, cut off a piece and left it on the floor. I looked and looked, sat by it and walked around it. What am I going to paint? What is in you? Who are you? What do you want to paint about? What are your true feelings inside you. What have been your true feelings? What have you been dealing with? Ah ha! with that question I knew it was easy. I had just been diagnosed with throat cancer. How did I feel about that? What was inside me ? Not what had I been looking at in the real world.  So I put some limits on my painting, no familiar shapes or colors. The colors had to all come from within. The painting had to express how I felt about having cancer in me now. What color were my cancer feelings? They sure as hell weren’t pinks, peaches and cream, these colors being my familiar palette. I mixed up a mess of colors and started to paint. I painted with  my brushes, with a palette knife, my hands. I didn’t stop until I was done. The painting needed something. I took a tube of red paint and made a red line. The painting was finished. I tacked it up on the wall and walked back up the road to my room as the morning light filled the outside space.

‘Rolled’ acrylic on canvas  4 x 5 feet      October 2012

The cancer is gone. New feelings come with new experiences.

36 thoughts on “What Are My True Feelings? Expressing them in Paint – Calistoga

  1. You have a whole new voice from deep within. You are generous to share this profound voice. I hear it with my insides, bypassing the usual barriers. Thank you.

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  2. Really powerful work, Carla. I just kept looking and looking.
    So much pain, yet so powerfully painted. I look forward to seeing this painting in the flesh (so to speak!)

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  3. I found it! Don’t mind me…. 😉
    To be honest, I don’t really get paintings, esp. illustrative, abstract paintings. It is nice to get into the mind of a painter. Er? Any hint … interpretation? I’m totally dense.

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    • Hi Rommel. I don’t know if you got my reply. It looks like I didn’t push a button somewhere. Also I may refere to you in my next post.
      OK Rommel. You have challenged me! You are from S. California so you probably swim in the ocean. Ever get rolled by a wave when you are in the ocean and don’t know which way is up? So if you look at that painting, on the lower right just above the red line you will see a little white paint shaped like me falling legs and arms up with curved back, If you look around the painting you see bits of blue sky The painting or ocean is dark with flashes of light. all kinds of shapes, fish, kelp, water swirling maybe you get slammed against a rock and get a flash of pain (red line). So my painting is how I felt when I got rolled. Or how I felt with some situation going on in my life. How I felt in my head.
      Abstract painting is like interpreting jazz. Abstract painting is made up of variations of color,form, line, texture, space. It’s how the painter feels. How does Branford Marsalis feel when he plays his saxophone? He makes that instrument talk using variations of sound. How do you feel when you respond to these abstract music rhythms and sounds?
      Squint your eyes when you look at a landscape. It reduces your ‘picture’ to basic shapes, color, line, texture, space. Let me know if you ‘get’ even a part of what I’m saying Thanks for the question.

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      • NO. Bwahahahaha! I’m completely, densely baffled. All the more, I’m even more and more impressed. That painting to that explanation, I’m completely blown away!!! Bedazzling, indeed.

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        • ha ha ha I wondered if I’d hear from you. Guess I’m not a teacher. I just fool around with art stuff making things. We must have dominant opposite sides of the brain. I can’t figure out your post BUT I’m going to keep trying. (That painting is about five feet long.)

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  4. OK Rommel. You have challenged me! You are from S. California so you probably swim in the ocean. Ever get rolled by a wave when you are in the ocean and don’t know which way is up? So if you look at that painting, on the lower right just above the red line you will see a little white paint shaped like me falling legs and arms up with curved back, If you look around the painting you see bits of blue sky The painting or ocean is dark with flashes of light. all kinds of shapes, fish, kelp, water swirling maybe you get slammed against a rock and get a flash of pain (red line). So my painting is how I felt when I got rolled. Or how I felt with some situation going on in my life. How I felt in my head.
    Abstract painting is like interpreting jazz. Abstract painting is made up of variations of color,form, line, texture, space. It’s how the painter feels. How does Branford Marsalis feel when he plays his saxophone? He makes that instrument talk using variations of sound. How do you feel when you respond to these abstract music rhythms and sounds?
    Squint your eyes when you look at a landscape. It reduces your ‘picture’ to basic shapes, color, line, texture, space. Let me know if you ‘get’ even a part of what I’m saying 🙂 Thanks for the question.

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  5. Pingback: Picture Challenge [PART I] | The Sophomore Slump

    • I’ve replied to you somewhere else I think. I know I did on that post. You are clever! What a hoot! You totally caught me! Hummm I re read my post when I reblogged yours and I’d better put up a wild colorful bright fun happy abstract painting! like how I feel right now 🙂

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  6. This is a touching post. I read it because you were featured on Rommel’s page. I’m glad your throat cancer is gone. A non-smoking, retired teacher friend of mine recently had to have his voicebox removed because of cancer. He is such a go getter, and it sounds like you are too.

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  7. Pingback: #200 « The Sophomore Slump

  8. First, I’m glad it’s gone. Second, this is a touching post, full of feeling but so direct, straightforward. That red line is like a ligature around the throat – it really cuts across the frame – it does add something, emotionally it makes sense, and it makes the composition even more intense. And the white “blob” actually reminds me of a cancerous growth, with its vague, indefinite form. Thanks for explaining your journey here, without getting hung up on feeling sorry for your self. You’re very strong! (The second painting is also so good – I love that they’re big, too). There is a lot of symbolism in a red line – in Buddhism there was some esoteric “Red Thread” group, I think. I think it pops up a lot, the idea of a red line.

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    • Thanks for this observation. I just googjed it and read all about the red thread – mostly symbolizing a love one will find in the future.(connected by a red thread) Also,, protection. Here is one that seems to work best for this situation.
      It gets dies when one does a lakshmi prayer, i.e a prayer to the goddess lakshmi (which was about 2 weeks ago). Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and this string is tied as a symbol of having this spirit with u the whole year through, remember wealth is not only monetary wealth but whatever the individual considers it to be i.e wealth in terms of health, happiness, love, success etc and this is kept with u all the time in the form of the string.

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