So what’s different then?
Perhaps this is something only I can really notice but the major difference in this painting is the mood in which I painted it. Normally I paint what I want in my head, long before I get into the paint pod, so the creative side is pretty much planned out before I start. From colours and tools to layer sequencing and material mixing. Planning makes for a successful paint session. It’s a proven formula that works.
So what happens when you don’t do that? What happens when you get changed, put on your mask and stand there thinking “Now what?” Believe it or not I haven’t done that for six years because the last time I tried it things went wrong on a biblical scale. I wrote off a shit-load of materials and didn’t paint for a long time. I just can’t operate without a game plan.
But then the moment came. A quiet Sunday in my beautiful art studio. The phone was off, the door was locked and I sat on the floor with ear defenders on for half an hour – listening to the sound of my breath and nothing else.
I wasn’t thinking about painting. Just concentrating on being alive and present. Letting go is very hard for me and I don’t deal with it well.
So I went in to the pod and began painting.
Four and a half hours went by in a heartbeat. I let the painting evolve with the calmness I felt. I let the stillness of the world influence every stroke and movement. No music, no interruptions and still with my ear defenders on.
For a short period of time I found paradise. A place where time and space didn’t exist – only me and my materials. I was always consciously painting – there’s no weird out of body crap going on here but I was definitely in a meditative state.
What happened next
I called it a day and walked into the clean room (my small decontamination space). I took off my face mask and wept. The release was so pronounced I guess I couldn’t cope. In hindsight I suppose that was to be expected. Moving back to the real world was something I couldn’t cope with very well.
I wasn’t on a high, or pumped and I was neither happy or sad. But I was alive – very alive. I felt every heartbeat as if it were breathing life in to me for the first time yet at the same time I ached in every joint until I could barely move.
Painting Paradise Found opened as many cans of worms as it closed but to measure that would be to miss the point. The takeaway for me is that it’s good to switch off and just exist in the moment – if only for a few minutes and fuck everything for a while. I’ll do it again someday and see what happens.
And if it’s anything like this one then I’ll be very content indeed.