Intuitive painting and self forgiveness

transforming self criticism into self forgiveness through painting

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
— Mark Twain
 Entering the high holy days through a transformational art workshop

Entering the high holy days through a transformational art workshop

When we try to forgive ourselves, we’re trying to release something that feels like it is part of our identity. We’re releasing who we were in the moment that we did whatever it was. When we forgive what someone else has done, it somehow feels a little easier.

Mixed media and collage art workshop about forgiveness

On Saturday night, the eve of “Selichot” (the service on forgiveness before the high holy days) at a Los Angeles temple, I was asked to do a mixed media art workshop related to the theme of forgiveness. I chose self-forgiveness as a way into the art process. Many fears surround art making and this night was no exception with congregants who had never done any art before feeling anxious about how inadequate they were at creating art. My first exercise was to take paper and wax crayons and scribble down concepts that they wanted to forgive themselves for (including the fear of being unable to make art!). On the same paper they were to take watercolors and intuitively paint over the words. What happened? The words did not go away, they popped up even more strongly. I then asked them to take the paper and tear it up into pieces and rearrange them into a mixed media collage or three dimensional piece. The concept was that the words though still there, (only known by them) were transformed into a new creation and by doing so, there was a letting go and in a sense, some self forgiveness.

Judging by the comments afterwards, I am yet again convinced of the power of art to heal and transform our inner pain. Sometimes we do not even know what we are holding onto until we work in this intuitive way. Our unconscious mind is revealed through art and this can be a new way towards self discovery. I incorporate a lot of intuitive painting in my mixed media art workshops in Los Angeles. I also have a great 2 day retreat coming up October 6-7 in which we will dig deeper into the art process and what it has to teach us.