I have always liked to paint. I remember picking up paintbrushes for the first time and painting on a blank canvas when I was only 11 years old. While I never studied art or did a course of painting (I studied biology), painting was always a passion that I returned to, whenever I needed to express or calm down myself emotionally.
At some point, many years ago, I began to notice the relationship between my BEING and my DO, especially when I was painting. Those moments, when I felt light and relaxed with myself and with life, my paint strokes on the canvas flowed naturally, without any blockages. I felt my creativity flowing sweetly from inside of me, and I could not feel the hours passing, nor hunger, nor thirst …. I was in the creative flow. What magical moments!
But that state was far from happening every day. Many times I sat down to paint, I felt that the noises of my thoughts blocked my mind and sometimes I could not even decide what to paint or how to continue. So, I always had the question in my head: how is it possible to access those moments of creative flow? How to induce them? They seemed to depend on how my day or my week had been like… They seemed to depend on external circumstances, something unrelated to myself. I felt that I did not have much control over it until… I discovered the practice of meditation.
Path based on intuition and self-confidence
In 2015, when I started practicing meditation in a consistent way through Peace Revolution 42-day Self-Development Program, I gradually felt that this began to change. I discovered that it was possible to learn how to change my mindset to a more relaxed state and cultivate a more stable inner peace, less prone to being altered by external causes, be they people or circumstances. And that was reflected in my art.
In 2016, I fulfilled my dream of participating in the 3rd Artistic Meditation Retreat in Thailand organized by World Peace Initiative Foundation. It was an unforgettable and remarkable experience! We were 26 participants from 19 different countries from all over the world, for two weeks sharing our common passion for art and learning with Teaching Monks how to reconnect with our unique inner voice through the practice of meditation.
Since then, I have discovered a new way of living that has permeated all areas of my life. My relationship with painting (and with life) has changed and I have started a path based on intuition and self-confidence. I began to paint feeling free of fears and internal judgements.
And that’s what I want to share with you. In this first part of the article, I will talk about what intuitive painting is and how it is a practice that anyone can accomplish and receive its many benefits. We will also see how to learn to access the creative flow in an intentional and natural way, through the development of mindfulness and the practice of meditation.
What is intuitive painting?
This is a practice of personal development and wellness, which helps the person to awaken, expand and empower through the connection with their own intuition, creative flow and spontaneous expression.
In this kind of practice, you create art using the inner awareness centered in the heart, and it does not depend on analysis or questions based on logic, reason or intellect. It is generally not defined as an art in the traditional sense, because it does not use classical analytic techniques (such as perspective, geometry, anatomy, or others) to learn to paint. When you paint intuitively you offer yourself an opportunity to explore your Inner-Self through the process in a safe and uncritical environment, “attuning” to your unique creativity, your emotions and what “feels good”. At the same time, you lose attachment to meanings, control, expertise or the end product. Imagine for a moment the image of a child picking up a red pencil without hesitation, instead of a blue pencil when drawing. There is no logic behind that decision, right? Only an inner space that invites you to trust and choose what the inner voice-guide speaks.
As I stated before, this practice brings many benefits, for instance, it helps you develop your intuition; balance your mental states and increase your personal and spiritual awareness and mindfulness; explore your unconscious, creating a space of self-healing to emotional sufferings; improve your perception of life; discover your unique visual voice; and gain access to an inner creativity without limits.
Intuitive painting is personally transformative because it helps people to be authentic versions of themselves. This, of course, can be applied to any other kind of art, like writing, dancing, cooking, etc.. and, to life itself. The most beautiful task we can do in our lives is to live it freely and intuitively, learning to discover and recognize any “hidden” talent we may have within ourselves.
Where does creativity come from?
Many people believe that being creative is something that only “artists” are born with. But creativity is nothing more than the ability to connect several ideas or different information in our brain to produce a totally new and unprecedented idea. So, creativity is our innate ability to find solutions to the various situations that are appearing in life.
We are all creative beings: we are born being creative, but as we become adults, if we do not train this ability, we feel that we are forgetting or losing it. Creativity, like any other talent, requires practice. The more you exercise it, your brain will create more neural connections and become accustomed to thinking “out of the box”, in an original and authentic way. Now, pay attention to this: creativity is born in a place within yourself, called intuition.
Many things have been written about intuition and why we should listen to it more than reason and logic. Undoubtedly, intuition is a space of trust that opens doors to the imagination that would never have been discovered solely by reason. Albert Einstein said that “imagination is more important than knowledge” and “the intellect has little to do in the way of discoveries. They come from a leap of consciousness, which you can call intuition or as you wish, and the solution comes to you, not knowing how or why. “
Unfortunately, we easily become very busy and drown the voice of the intuitive guide that we all naturally have within us. I believe it is an existential task to reconnect with it. Trust your intuition. You do not need to explain or justify your feelings to anyone, just rely on your own inner guide, because it knows you better than anyone else. It will bring creativity back into your life.
But … I do not know how to paint!
If you’ve never ventured to paint before, you probably have the following question in your head right now: can I really do it? The answer is: Yes, you can!
Remember when you were a kid: you would pick up the brushes, enjoy painting for hours, and probably never wondered if you were an artist! In fact, that did not interest you, since you were in the creative flow, enjoying the experience, totally immersed in the present moment.
In the same way, in intuitive painting, you express yourself as a child: energetically and innocently, but at the same time honestly and with the depth of a lifetime of experiences. It is not about creating “something” but about loosening possible blocks that may exist in your natural creativity. The purpose is to open the channels for an authentic creative expression.
Intuitive painting asks you to show yourself openly and with courage, requiring only that you play with the colours and brushes on the canvas or paper. Once there, you will remember how you do it… and you will gradually understand why. You will feel the unfolding of the inner spaces. Your Creative Self will light up. You will find peace and gratitude. You will unleash your unique visual voice and reconnect with your radiant and creative Being.
For those new to this painting, I invite you to go beyond what has been said about the purpose and value of art. I invite you to venture out by opening a new door for yourself to explore your inner landscape through colours and shapes. Remember: there are no mistakes, only the process of being in the now and the awareness of looking neutrally at the affairs of your life as you paint. At the end, imagine that it is an active meditation.
Connecting with your inner voice
Defining the idea of an inner voice full of wisdom is an elusive task. However, it is “something” that we know without reason, which in itself feels like a paradox, but that allows us to know when something feels right or not for ourselves. It is like an internal compass that encourages us to trust and let our feelings be our guide. One of the simplest ways to understand intuition is to follow what makes us happy.
We are all connected by this incredible “something” that we call intuition. We can experience how it preserves lives, prevents us from suffering too much, and guides us in the right direction at the right time. However, when we “hear” these calls from within ourselves, we often ignore this wisdom by justifying ourselves with phrases such as “That cannot be right” or “What others will think about it?”. At other times, we are simply so distracted and occupied in the noise of our daily life that we cannot hear these calls. In this way, we jump from one doubt to another, creating dramas, complications and unnecessary confusion.
This, in turn, adds more pollution/contamination to our minds, increasing our insecurity and indecision. At this point, the only way to clarify our vision is to go inside. Go in our inner Source of calm, pausing in our mental rush, and allowing all impurities to decant. Only in this way we can “see” what we have within ourselves and we can listen again to our inner guiding voice.
The practice of meditation helps us reconnect, allowing us to purify our mind and open the wonderful doors of self-knowledge. Then, the process of creation becomes more fluid, honest, clear, spontaneous and therefore, full of personal meanings. For this to happen – you do not need to have any psychic quality or artistic baggage. In an intuitive art session, you rely on your instincts, listen to this inner voice that whispers to you, brings it out, and puts it on a screen or paper. And so a new dialogue is open. A two-way road is created so that information can flow freely and easily.
In the second part of this article, I’ll share with you the two most common pitfalls we face when we start painting: fear of the white “canvas” (= something new) and how to handle your biggest critic: yourself.
Cover image: “Let your Inner Light to guide you”. 2016. By Carolina Bertsch.