Blog circle: the Infinite Forest

Blog circle: the Infinite Forest

It's blog circle time again! This month's theme is "New beginnings"...

Well, I could write about all the new things I have started in the past few months, but this circle is also about practicing courage and stepping out of our comfort zone. So I'm going to share something a little less easy, about my creative process. I'm going to tell you about being stuck, desperately blocked, trapped in "You're-never-going-to-make-it" never-neverland. And getting out of it. Beginning again.

I don't know if any of you watch the "Once upon a time" show? (I recently discovered it and am completely hooked... fairy tales rock my world!) Do you know when the evil queen sends the good guys into the Infinite Forest, this enchanted place with no way out? Well, many of my paintings have felt just like that at some stage. Including the one I am working on right now...

work in progress Laly Mille

I started it with a sketch, had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve. Went on with collage and paint, going with the flow and then... something went wrong. I was starting to get this horrible and familiar "you're stuck!" feeling. I was trapped in the Infinite Forest again. Of course I knew it. And still I kept trying to find my way out. So I started working on the girl's face. Of course it went wrong too, how could it be otherwise with all these mixed feelings? And of course it made me feel even worse and even more stuck.

work in progress Laly Mille

But by now I know that it is possible to get out, because I've done it before. So I started to cling to this thought for dear life. 

First I remembered that some favorites among my paintings have been shut in my garage for months before I took them out and finished them. So if I don't finish this one now, IT'S OK.

Did I tell you that this evil forest is haunted? Yeah, it's full of gremlin voices that whisper some nasty stuff like "Who do you think you're you kidding? Beginner's luck is over! Failure, F.A.I.L.U.R.E! You can't do it, get out and do something useful!" Well, by now I have learnt to sit with the gremlins, listen to them, put words on them, and it's like shining a light : they can't stand it! So I wrote all this negativity down, and all the things I felt were holding me back, and they started to go away.

Then I remembered Flora Bowley's advice in her book "Brave intuitive painting": work with what IS working, don't focus on what is not. So I took a look at my favorite parts of the painting and started again from there:

work in progress Laly Mille
work in progress Laly Mille
work in progress Laly Mille

And finally I actually went for a walk in the woods... Fresh air and sunshine on a beautiful winter's day were the best cure. When I got back, I was able to see the painting with new eyes and recapture some of my original intention. It's not finished yet, and it might take a bit longer, but I know it will some day.

Heart Leaf Laly Mille

But the best part is that during this short walk, I kept finding heart shapes everywhere: leaves, moss, pebbles... like the whole universe was sending me loving encouragements. And you know what? They do say in the show that the only way to get out of the Infinite Forest is... magic!

Moss Laly Mille
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