East of Eden / by Susie Lubell

East of Eden Day 3
East of Eden

This was another one of the paintings from the retreat that started out as a giant mess of finger painting. What amazed me about the process was how much symbolism emerged for me without my realizing. I draw a lot of swirly things in my regular work, that are kind of a cross between leaves and eyes, like in this one and this one. And because this was the first day, I went to my comfort zone and started making more of the same on top of the background. But they took on the shape of a giant cactus - all spiky and poky and menacing. And standing in the shadow of this beast of a plant are five tulips. Interesting. A flower that can be uprooted and stored in the off-season and then replanted elsewhere, weather permitting. And a compass pointing east made its appearance on the last day of class. I only put everything together in my head once it was down on the paper.

One other thing to note about the class is that I think I may have figured out what to do with the many blank journals I have purchased and never used over the years. My friend Aimee over at Artsyville and I have often discussed how blank journals terrify us. She's found a cool way to get beyond the fear and expectation of those white pages. For me, I might try using them to wipe my hands when they're too full of paint. Then at least the white will be less intimidating. And I'll have a surface for experimenting with faces and shapes. We did a lot of that in class - wrong-handed, blind, fist-gripped painting and drawing. I found that the less I tried, the freer I got, the more I liked the outcome. Imagine that.