How are you doing? I feel Really excited to be sharing an actual Exploration of an Intuitive Painting with You.
It's such a beautiful, satisfying, meaningful 'chat' between somebody who has created a painting and usually me, exploring the whole process. Those who have had their Paintings explored by me describe the process as fun, challenging, meaningful, therapeutic, like a journey, satisfying, exciting and what I love is how it often leads to the beginning of another painting - the next part of 'me' to work on. I can't get enough of working this way. I really hope you enjoy reading this.
This exploration is of my painting Sapphi's Angel which you may have heard about recently from my blogs. My Colleague Alex Graybow, Dramatherapist and Intuitive Artist from Essex generously offered to explore my Painting with me. What A Treat!
Alex: This all feels very synchronous with your dream you mentioned from last night.
Kassi: It does! I was writing the blog which I have been putting off. I haven't felt able to do any other online work because I felt a strong Need to "complete" my ending with Sapphi first.
Alex: Seems like such a strong message, your dream, then the lost dog turning up just as we were about to begin this today?
Kassi: Yes! So much has happened today. Such a coincidence. I was right at the end of the blog too, then the lost dog arrived.
Alex: Going away from your painting for a mo... did you speak to Sapphi in your dream?
Kassi: yes, I felt so much love for him inside, my chest was bursting with love! I just kept saying "hello...! hello...! How are you?" as I stroked him.
Alex: How did you feel when you woke?
Kassi: Very very happy ...and then I remembered Sapphi had died.
Alex: It sounds like you had a lovely connection in the dream?
Kassi: Very. Two Sapphi's in my dream! One was lying down and seemed immobile. The other Sapphi was busy getting on with his day. Confusing to see two of Sapphi, but lovely. He felt so soft and warm as my hands sank into his fur. (I experienced a whole host of sensations at this point).
Alex: Different facets of him?
Kassi: Yes, I think 'the recuperating him' and 'the happy, loving, getting on with his new surroundings him' at my Gran's.
Alex: Was your Gran's house significant, do you think?
Kassi: Well that house was predominantly "home" for me. Having Sapphi with my Gran is very reassuring to me. They will be great company for each other.
Alex: I was wondering about the yellow 'fabric' on Sapphi's Angel. I remember you mentioning your Gran when you used another lemon coloured paper once
Kassi: Yes that lemon and white daisy tissue is very soothing.
Alex: I think it's lovely that it gives you this sense/feeling. Do you want to share the story of how Sapphi's Angel came into being?
Kassi: yes thanks. We knew Sapphi was ill but we still had hope then. We came back from holiday and found out he had cancer. Too ill to treat and it was a case of palliative care… Gosh, I'm having a big reaction to those words! When I learned about his cancer I began a new painting. An Intentional one. I wanted to create an Angel to protect him. I had no idea what the Angel would look like I just knew I wanted to create an Angel for him.
Alex: Thanks for sharing this Kassi, it feels hard for you.
Kassi: I think with the dream I had then the little lost dog appearing whilst blogging just before we were due to discuss the Painting... yes, it is a bit...
Alex: I get an image of a "stirring up", if that makes sense?
Kassi: Definitely. All of these separate but connected events have stirred up lots. Not in a bad way though... not in an easy way either however. Maybe it was just the "right time" today for all of these things to come together and be known and felt by me?
Alex: Yes I get a sense of that I love the idea of you creating an Angel to protect Sapphi
Kassi: Yes I feel so soothed having done it. It felt like a kind of grieving ritual - something to do during the ending... something I could focus my grief upon...
Alex: I think rituals are really important and can give a sense of 'holding'. I get a sense of this being an outward expression of an inward process and feels very important. Do you feel Sapphi's Angel is 'finished' (it felt very final saying that word...)
Kassi: Yes it really helped me to express what was happening within and also helped me to "clear the path" as emotions built up each day. I could clear it and keep being with Sapphi in a fresh way as we journeyed towards the end. I'm noticing a welling up of sadness in my tummy as I said those last few words. In terms of it being finished… I don't know if it is finished actually even though twice I have declared it finished, I have gone back to it.
I have a sense of something shamanic in the symbols around the border of the Angel which gave it a kind of "difference". Not sure what I am saying here... The Angel feels like it comes from a different sort of belief system to the symbols particularly around the bottom half of the angel painting, which feel quite Shamanic and almost cave-like drawings from ancient times. I realise now that the border around the bottom half is all about "death" and the top half is all about "living" and the angel herself is about "protection". I wasn't aware of this until just then,
Alex: I am wondering what pulled you to go back to the painting?
Kassi: I am not entirely sure… But as I sit with your question the answer that comes to me is, I was not ready to let go of him yet, I am not over my grief, I am clinging on somehow…. I guess once I finally do say that painting is 'finished' it will mean I have accepted his death? Or will fully feel "he's gone"?
Alex: I felt a kick in my gut when I said 'finished'. I was wondering about the idea of a painting that you can keep going back to that holds deep meaning and can allow you to continue to grieve?
Kassi: I like this idea. In fact I do often go back to paintings and add new layers depending on how I'm feeling at the time. Having a painting like Sapphi's Angel is an important and therapeutic tool, a wonderful companion... that is steady and strong and able to receive whatever is expressed upon it.
Alex: A wonderful companion with an ability to 'hold' - sounds lovely. Is it ok for me to comment on what I see?
Kassi: it sounds like an amazing support actually... something I may offer to others in fact, and yes please do comment
Alex: I get a sense of a difference between the top half and the bottom. I feel the bottom half appears quite primal and more natural world and yes..shamanic. I feel a sense of lightness when I look at the top of your painting and maybe a sense of celebration?
Kassi: Yes I feel exactly the same and when I read your word "primal" it is a great fit for me... gritty, real, raw, basic. I love the idea of "celebration" and I definitely sense the lightness up above too.
Alex: I see what appears to me as quite a dark creature to the left of her skirt
Kassi: Yes, very dark... it feels very deathly.. the Skeleton is almost "goading" and "preaching" of what is to come... The "hare" feels dead, as if lying wounded or dying on its side...
Alex: Looking at the creature to the right, I get a sense of him/her needing help... a sense of him/her being pulled under
Kassi: I didn't "know" this until you drew my attention there but actually all of the creatures on the right... the swallows, the feather, the fox they are all slowly falling downward. Like a feather floating down, they are sinking. There is no chance for them to ever rise again. They are dying....
Alex: The idea of cruelness came to my mind. The cruelness of death.
Kassi: I am not at ease around the idea of dying at present. I am clinging on tightly to life and living
Alex: A certainty that we have no certainty about...
Kassi: Yes.... (wobbly acceptance)
Alex: I think it's such a difficult thing to consider
Kassi: Yes... I was so sure I was ok with Death & Dying before Sapphi became ill... and then resistance, avoidance and denial all stirred up within. I didn't want to do it and yet got on with what was before me.
Alex: I don't know if you want to talk about this, I'm not sure whether to ask... I wondered how it felt about you having to make a decision. Please only answer if you're ok to.
Kassi: Absolutely heart breaking and torn. Torn because I do not want to "hold power" over another's life. If we could have had a discussion and heard Sapphi's wishes then that would be very different
Alex: Yes...I imagine it's so so difficult and I do feel a sense of anguish especially in the right bottom side of your painting. How do you feel about the angel? I remember that she seemed to go through many transformations.
Kassi: I love her. Yes! She had hair and then I picked her hair off. I remember feeling fascinated by the markings her 'picked off hair' left behind - like decay - but then I covered it up with skin tone paints again. Yet I left the one "patch of decay" on her skull upper left. She had a white background. Then a lemony one that I rubbed on with my finger tips. Then came my fight to Resist My Darkness - all my paintings tend to be dark... dark sky... for example, lots of turquoise, violet, indigo...
Alex: I feel she really shines and I love the richness of her clothes
Kassi: Thanks Alex, her clothes are made of many layers, lots of different layers of papers and paint. I love the birds.
Alex: Yes, I feel there's something very soulful about the birds
Kassi: I think I like the freedom that birds have. They can fly off wherever they want, whenever they want.... I have a Swift inside of me who likes to fly around, maybe across the ocean,wherever she wants to go, without restrictions.... But I have a Responsible part of myself who is prominent - perhaps a secure base.
This is interesting as it takes me back to a previous painting I blogged about "White Wolf and The Girl In The Golden Onesie." I believed I had really made a shift towards the Bird in that painting yet I clearly forgot my Bird again. And the girl in the Golden Onesie who ran off down the hillside to freedom! I want to do something about this...
I need to create my inner Bird Self. This feels very important to me. (Here I decide to begin a new Painting to remind myself of my desire to be free and not so responsible).
So my Bird Part feels important. Freeing. Releasing. Real Me. Exciting!
Alex: I'm just going back to look at the birds in your painting. I love the birds on her skirt among all the beautiful flowers, I get a sense of them soaring, changing direction and soaring again.
Kassi: Yes they and those in the upper part of my painting are my "free" self. Birds are so free. No obligations. No commitments. They are utterly free. I'm Feeling emotional. I remember moving to London. I felt this sense of utter freedom then. It was an amazing feeling.
Alex: They seem very uplifted...wind beneath their wings. Did being in London feel like no obligations etc?
Kassi: Totally free in London. I had a job but that gave me money and freedom. I loved working there and having independence. I went for 3 interviews and offered all 3 jobs in the same week. I felt I could get another job easily.
Alex: It sounds easy?
Kassi: It felt like I could do anything!
Alex: and painting and looking at your birds invokes this feeling?
Kassi: Yes it does.
Alex: It feels lovely to me to have something - an image / symbol that can give rise to certain feelings - transport you there
Kassi: Yes... It really does and in a way I knew it but "often forget" about it. Funnily though this weekend just gone I decided to paint a soaring Swift wearing a Crown for my new Logo for my business.
Alex: How wonderful, and a constant reminder
Kassi: Yes. I love my business. But what is very important, which I'm just tying up now in my mind as we explore - making new connections - is that I can run my business from anywhere in the world. All I need are paints and board, people to work with me if they want this and WiFi. I can do each separately or together.... anywhere pretty much. I am Not tied down to my locality. (Feeling a huge wave of Joy realising this suddenly - a great moment in the exploration.)
Alex: That sounds very birdlike to me...going where the weather suits and what takes my fancy
Kassi: I feel excited and very happy. I think this may Be a good place to stop. I know there is so much more that could come from this painting and exploration but yes... this feels very important to let all of this sink in and settle within. I actually, Urgently want to go and begin a new painting of a swirling, swooping, Free Bird - not for my logo - but for myself. And so I will.
Funnily, do you know one of my most favourite songs from my childhood? I don't know the title - I sing it a lot and play it on You Tube in my art studio as I don't have a copy, it's "I Can't Let Maggie Go?". "She flies like a bird in the sky..... she flies like a bird and I wish that she was mine.... she flies like bird - oh me-oh-my.... I see her sigh.... now I know, I can't let Maggie go....". I absolutely Love that song!
Thank you Alex for your skills and wisdom. I truly appreciate our exploration today and feel very happy which is a surprise given what we began exploring.
Alex: Thank You Kassi, it's been an honour to explore Sapphi's Angel with you.
If You would like to participate in this series of explorations, please get in touch. The exploration is Free whether you go ahead and share the exploration here or not.
Thanks for visiting me here,