Moving Beyond the Known

The biggest challenge to progress is our resistance to move beyond the known. 

I’ve grown comfortable with blues and greens, a complimentary color palette that soothes me. But mixes of red tones have found their way into a couple of recent paintings, perhaps inspired by the spectacular sunsets of late.

Although there are things I like about the paintings, a subtle tension becomes evident when I look at them, an experience that reminds me how difficult it is to gaze upon the unfamiliar.

The painting shown above is one example.

Of course, it could also be that the painting doesn’t work well in some way, the reason I feel a bit off center when I look at it. But I also know that our perception about what “works” is largely determined by what we’ve learned that means. 

How do we know what we could like if we never try anything new?

I make this post – open to feedback about the painting, as always – but also as a conversation starter about moving beyond the known. 

Where do you find it most challenging to sit with the unknown in your life?

Freedom: The other side of loss

Freedom, 16×38 house paint on plywood, WIP

Change can be difficult and is often filled with associated grief, but freedom can also be found in the process of letting go. Major life transitions offer a special opportunity to find freedom in change, but it’s easier said than done depending on the details.

We just sold our house. And truthfully, nothing about the related details over the last months have felt close to positive, except the knowledge that we would eventually conclude the stressful parts and be another step closer to our goals – a simpler life, fewer possessions, reduced financial obligations, to name a few.

Anticipated freedom on my mind, I noticed the plywood board sitting on the side of the road – FREE in bold marker written across the surface. Instead of unwanted junk, I saw a new canvas for the old house paint I’d not yet discarded. This idea was so compelling, I actually turned the car around to retrieve the board after initially passing it by.

I’d already made two other paintings with house paint, which turned out to be highly therapeutic, as well as productive. See an example here. But those paintings were made on canvases already in my possession, the benefit of using them more immediately obvious.

In the middle of a move, the last thing anyone needs is to accrue anything new. Nevertheless, I found myself putting the board in my car, unable to resist the symbolic reference and the therapeutic value of a new creative project to soothe me between the packed boxes.

Although I understood FREE would be erased by whatever painting I made, I imagined I’d know freedom in the layers of the painting. I was right.

Freedom is a mindset, not only a consequence of release from unwanted circumstances. Freedom is found any time we allow ourselves to move beyond preconditioned responses. Freedom comes when we let go of expectations.

I am free. You are free.

Detail, close up
Another view under different lighting conditions

Title this abstract landscape painting!

Untitled, 10×10 acrylic on wood panel

I’m struggling to come up with a title and need your help. Any ideas?

What does the image evoke for you?

Thanks in advance for anything you’d like to share – critique, encouragement, title suggestion, or a combination thereof 💚

Accept Your Gifts (Part 2)

When someone asks good questions, we often discover new things about ourselves and gain insight by the chance to more fully articulate our experience. I am so grateful to have been interviewed for this amazing podcast – Accept Your Gifts – which encourages all of us to live our most creative lives. I’ve previously blogged about part 1. Here is a description and link to part 2.

In part 2 of this series, podcaster Tracy Crow, an author, writing coach, and Marine Corps veteran, talks with Amanda Reilly Sayer, a pediatric psychiatric nurse practitioner, about the “paintings I’ve pulled out of the fire…and some actually go in the fire!” As Amanda explains, “It’s a beautiful thing to be on your journey…and to watch someone grow.” She says that each painting also reminds her of the story behind the creation of each — its layers, imperfections, transparency. And, Amanda treats us with a reading of several Haiku poems!

You may find both part 1 and 2, along with other creatively inspirational interviews here. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

Accept Your Gifts (Part 1)

I’m honored to have been interviewed for a podcast that encourages folks to live their most creative lives, an idea that will almost certainly resonate with other WordPressers.

In part 1 of this 2-part series, podcaster Tracy Crow, an author, writing coach, and Marine Corps veteran, interviews Amanda Reilly Sayer, a pediatric psychiatric nurse practitioner by day, to discover how and why she turns to painting, poetry, and photography. “It’s important to me,” she says, “to think about how I can inspire or offer gifts to other people…sharing the love, paying it forward.” In a frank discussion about emotional pain and healing, Amanda says grief and emotional pain can be transformed through creativity. The act of transforming, itself, is an act of creation, she explains. “Where are your wellsprings?” she asks herself and patients.

Check out Part one of my interview here: https://acceptyourgifts.podbean.com/e/ep-24-part-1-pediatric-psychiatric-nurse-practioner-blends-science-and-art-to-refill-her-well/

And consider scrolling through the other interviews. There are some real gems here!

Embrace Your Curves


Even with
Persistence
Deliberate care
Pressure
and prescience

Pendulous motion
A solid iron
Smoothing
Your rough nap

The edges
Re-curl
Recoil from
Striving

Away from
Your center
Weighted ballast
Those corners
Threaten, disturb your
Effortful peace

But then
Who says?
Who ever said?
Why would you believe?
You are supposed to

Lie – flat

© Amanda Reilly Sayer