I was thrilled to win the live painting contest at the Cinequest Film Festival. It was not something I had expected. The other painters, Mike Borja and Denis Korkh created incredible artworks on either side of me for ten days. The competition was a friendly one, one that aims to engage the public with the painters more than instigate any sort of rivalry.
For 10 days, I rode my bike down to Camera 12 to paint. I had a bag on my shoulder and a bag of supplies in my basket. With this almost precarious load, I made my way to the theater to paint for long hours. It was my first time live painting, not including sketching in public or with small groups of friends. When I painted the electrical box, people came by and asked questions, but not at the level that happened at Cinequest. It was definitely a challenge for me. People can walk up behind you and ask you about your painting. People can watch you from the window. You get suggestions for what you should add to your painting and a lot of questions that are hard to answer since you aren't always sure of what you are painting.
I started out by thinking I would paint a specific thing. It was going to be a courtyard, as you can see in the first picture above. A multiple-storied building with people and plants at night was my initial idea. I turned the painting in different directions. At one point, it was actually a horizontal painting. The painting was fairly awkward at this point. Some of the layers felt really beautiful, but it didn't know what it wanted to be yet. I then decided to bring the sky down between the walls and it turned into an ocean. Then the ocean wanted to move into the room or at least hover between the indoor and outdoor space. I was a bit stuck at this point, when a single plant in the left corner had been painted.
The painting ended up being so much more intuitive and subconscious than I thought it would be. Any preplanning fell by the wayside. There were times when I was overthinking, but overall I just let it be what it wanted to be. If I saw a shape or a color and it felt right, then I pushed it. If you look closely in the top photo, I added an island to the right and a mirror to the left. I wanted the painting to feel mysterious, open to interpretation and maybe a place you wanted to be, though slightly ominous. I'm calling it Inside Out.
As the week developed, I noticed a change. I felt more open to people's suggestions. Not, that I would necessarily take them, but I wasn't feeling as defensive about them. As I opened up over the week, all these things started happening. Good energy was everywhere.
I received this gorgeous photo in the mail by Dustin Adams. After admiring it, I realized the orange hills were similar to the orange hills in my painting, below the shoreline. It felt serendipitous when this arrived.
A friend came over on Saturday and after hearing me excuse my mess around the house, she suggested a book she just ordered The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I told her that I'm reading it right now and that's why the house was a mess!
The day after, my friend Lucia came over and I was helping her with her new blog. She was wearing a black and white striped shirt, black pants and moccasins. So was I.
It was so interesting how we Mike, Denis and I all ended up with moons in our paintings. During the second week, the moon was evolving to full so I think we were on the same wavelength. Also, Mike's was a water-based bathtub painting Denis focused on a figure and plants. I seemed to meet them in between by including an ocean and plants.
I could go on about more connections this week, but I will spare you.
Coincidences, synchronicity, call it what you will, but I inhale magic energy when it's around me. The universe opens up when you are keep yourself open, generous, and take chances. I can be inclined to be easily annoyed by humanity, but reversing that has completely changed my outlook in the last week. I am a big believer in being open to these signs, in being aware of what the universe is showing you.