The need for self-nurturing and self-care came first and with it a pale pink that had me out the door and into the store to buy the canvas. My hands picked the size; a frame moved perfectly right between them.
From there it was an easy glide for the pale pink paint to slide over the canvas like a sigh and for the pearl white feather strokes to land like petals.
I lapped up those colors till I was filled. A couple of months it took, the painting resting against the window in my workroom. I felt a visceral pleasure each time I looked at it.
One of the ways my intuition works is through my seeing words in my minds eye. One day I saw “healing” and I knew that that was the need that was talking the lead now and that it was also the title of the painting. I recalled translucent rose petals I had bought many years ago with the idea of scattering them down the aisle for a bride and bridegroom. I wandered into the laundry room and found the box. One by one, I glued the petals till the painting became a delicate pink mandala, and I remembered sweetness and innocence and was filled.
Blood trickled in; orange and red watercolors formed along the edges of the petals.
And then Healing just sat there as I took it all in.
In a dream, dark blue oily ocean currents swirled around the petals. They glimmered white in the moonlight.
I dabbed blue around the edges but couldn't find the satisfaction of the easy flow of water lapping around those edges so in a burst of frenzy I got into the bathtub and poured the cobalt hues onto the canvas and into the tub. More was needed, more so that the reds and oranges of pain could scream their way out of the bottles and into the blues, mitigate it with white. The petals now covered in my thick acrylics swim into each other, all delicate pinks lost.
Healing sat some more, all lovely rivulets, colors and thick textures.
The reflection of the moon began to haunt me. Fingers dripping I smeared and rubbed ivory mixed with moonlight. And then I scratched and scraped big gouges, the energy of pain cutting its way through layers of paint.
When the canvas dried it was a thick, shiny ivory cake, frozen in time. The outline of petals was barely discernible. I thought to make meaning of the cake-like quality - to find some kind of sense of the reds and blues coming through like Egyptian hieroglyphs or moon scrawlings. But my mind went blank and the painting sat for another couple of months as I continued to work on my own healing, not knowing which was leading which.
One morning a wind blew through the shower door leading me to another canvas which titled itself Air. It filled itself with blue sky and feathers floating on down. The crusty painting Healing stared silently from its flat place on the worktable.
How do doors open? And where are they? Did I notice the one in the middle of the studio, the one I walked through one day to fetch pale blue paper? Did I feel myself pull it open, walk over the threshold and then back out again, paper and glue in hand? Did I feel my breath deepen? The two rooms vanish so that there was only one, the air clear as an eagle taking flight?
Air fades into the background.
My fingers tear wisps of blue, are they feathers? waves? There are more petals in the box. They scatter onto the worktable begging to be glued over the other ones hidden under the layers of paint, as though emerging anew, pink and delicate.
What door opens into the heart of the flower?
Flower within flower, pale blues and pinks, the hard crust of ivory, orange, red and cobalt, pure white, waves that are feathers, paper and glue, I am pouring paint in the bathtub, taking palette knife to canvas, a child swirling waves of moonlight, write a poem about painting my house, room by room, swirl by swirl, petal by petal, open doors.
In the kitchen there is a calendar with a picture of an eagle soaring onto its huge nest; in its talons are two twigs. Which door did the eagle fly through to bring me the piece of blue and yellow yarn that weaves its way around and across the flower?
I read a novel where the sun is a jewel. Opalescent diamonds and pieces of night sky pour onto the flower. I pluck stars.
Still sticky with glue my fingers catch the other yarn, the bright red and orange one. It lays itself on the painting, adds to the nest, a delicate strand of a flower casting hues of sunrise and blood. The door to possibilities opens as well as a certain stillness that lets me know that I have met the need for healing through painting as it called to me and that the painting is now done.
I frame the painting. It hangs in my bedroom.
For months the translucent quality of the petals continues to reverberate through my cells. One day, as this process continues it will fully integrate. No longer quite so active, so vibrant internally, so definitely palpable it will be grounded, very much a part of myself, the painting bearing witness to this time, this place.