Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dark Side

A couple of weeks ago my mother gave me two canvases. She'd decided that she was no longer going to need them because she didn't think she'd be able to paint the images she'd hoped. Her hands no longer work as well as they once did and her giving the canvases to me was incredibly symbolic. A passing of the torch sort of thing. While my mom and I don't share the same style of painting, we do both share a love of it and I count her as one of my biggest fans and supporters.

So this morning when I started on one of the amazing assignments I've been doing as part of Dancing with Your Dreams, I felt this was the right time to pull out one of my mom's canvases. This project/assignment was titled "Dark Side" (taught by the amazing Michelle Kral). For me, "dark side" doesn't necessarily mean negative, it can mean the place within, perhaps something private, something that is being worked on. Dark perhaps means shadowed.

Anyway, the project started with writing words with charcoal...words that just popped into my mind. And the first word I wrote was "loss" which I think the canvas represents for my mom. But then many other words spilled onto the canvas, "vision", "love", "taste", "bliss", and on and on till it was covered. Then the paint, colors that are not part of my normal pallet. I don't know why, but I found myself putting paint on spots and then closing my eyes and painting blind. Faces then appeared and I did my best to bring them forth. I was surprised to find that they didn't need all of their features, that they lacked parts of what make us feel fully formed, yet they felt complete to me. And then out of nowhere a delightfully plump goddess appeared. My favorite thing my mom has created, both in sculpture and paint, have been her plump goddesses (I'm not sure what she calls them, but that's what I think of them as). Welcome little goddess! Scroll down to see the stages of this piece being created.

I cannot say enough about this amazing course I'm taking. Thank you, Amy Burke O'Toole, for putting it together!

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This painting in stages...

Scribing words with charcoal that popped into my head.

Applying paint with my eyes closed.

"Scratching" the surface of the paint with my charcoal.

Finding the faces.

Adding details...and the goddess appeared! Yes, that is a basting brush.

More details...and what I thought was a toothy grin became a hand.

Realizing that this was a vertical piece, not horizontal.

Final touches and signing the piece.


  1. Kali, I love how our intuition leads us right into what we need to bring forth! It is interesting what you observed about the faces not needing all of their features, yet still feeling complete. Having these experiences while painting always feels so healing to me. Thank you for sharing your work and insights.