Chapter 3: Shine your truth
Tell your story
You are the main character of your own unique story. We are all heroes and heroines, and at the same time the authors of our lives. We are constantly creating and transforming our world, manifesting our reality from our dreams and desires, from what we believe about ourselves, our sense of possibility, and also our ability to let go of what no longer serves our truth.
This final lesson is all about embracing our truth, expressing the beauty of who we are and honoring our journey, all in a joyful and playful way! When we dare to dream and cultivate a childlike sense of wonder, when we connect to our inner light and let it guide us, when we open up to the deep magic of our journey, anything becomes possible!
the colors of your light
Throughout this course we have explored light and shadow, contrast, texture... Little by little you have been invited to become more aware of the unique way you see and feel your reality, both in your outside world and in your inner life, and to express your own light creatively. In this final lesson we are going to play with one of the most beautiful and magical aspects of light: color!
The "color" white evokes wholeness, oneness, unity. It is pure light... but this light is in fact composed of myriad of colors. And each of us, in the unique expression of our truth, is an indispensable color on the rainbow of life!
Photo discoveries: Over the rainbow
Look around you and let yourself be surprised by the variety, the intensity or the subtlety of colors in your life: in nature, in your surroundings, in your art... Look for every color of the rainbow, as well as the colors you feel most attracted to. Are there any colors you feel less comfortable with? (for me that would be red!) Do you have a favorite color? What is it's opposite on the color wheel? Are there colors you love but rarely use in your art?
What is your natural palette, the one that best tells your story?...
Photo discoveries: where i stand
Honor your creative journey, own your story and stand proudly in your truth!
Many of us, in recent years, have cultivated this fun practice of photographing... our feet! I love how this form of self-portrait focuses on our connection to the Earth and captures a glimpse of the path we're on, here and now.
For this photo prompt, you can go to some of your favorite places, and meaningful everyday places to take some "where I stand" snapshots... Why not also rediscover similar photos you've taken in the past? Maybe even find a childhood photo of your very first steps? Look at each photo and record your feelings and memories. How has your path evolved? Where do you stand today? Where will you go next?
You could also take a picture of yourself standing up in a way that feels true and empowering: use a tripod or ask a friend to do it together! I once led an art project in a nursing home where elderly people, with the help of staff and relatives, stood up from their wheelchairs, sometimes for the first time in months, while I drew the outline of their body on canvas. We then created a whole fresco panel that was exhibited in the local library in front of tall, hundred-year-old trees... what a powerful experience. I'll never forget the pride, the smiles and the sparkles in the eyes of those brave men and women.
Journal explorations: poetic affirmations
Dive deep into the most poetic and authentic expression of your truth.
What is an affirmation? It is a powerful statement, always in the present tense, that aims at affirming, creating and anchoring your truth and desires into your reality. Affirmations can be spontaneous or carefully crafted. They can be written or spoken out loud. They can be repeated again and again, chanted, whispered or tattooed on your skin! They can be unique or universal. Even more important than words, it's the intention and power they carry that matters most.
In a very simple and real way, a true affirmation is pure magic...
Many affirmations start with two powerful words: "I AM". In fact, maybe the purest affirmation is just that: "I AM". There is such wholeness in those two words.
But each of us unique, with our own poetic view of the world, our own unique way of expressing it, our own unique palette of light and color that merges with the infinite rainbow of the world... And so we are going to craft a unique and poetic "I am..." affirmation to support us on our creative journey, and to infuse into our art.
Think of "I AM" as the white, blank canvas: add some color and texture to it!
1. Warming up: Give poetic names to your favorite colors!
Let's start with a really fun activity! Throughout this course you have gathered many words already, and picked some favorite "texture" and "light" words. This time we play with color!
You know how sometimes the names of home-decor paints, tea or eye-shadow instantly conjure up feelings and images? What if your own unique palette had beautiful and unique names too?
Look at your photos, your art, your clothes, your tubes of paint, your inkpads... Make a list of your favorite colors and think about the way each one makes you feel: does it conjure up an image? a memory? a taste or a smell maybe?
Write it all down, then narrow it down to come up with a name that feels really good (or sometimes the name will just present itself instantly!). It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, as long as it feels true to you. Have fun and enjoy!
Here are a few examples of mine so you get the idea:
Payne's Grey = "Thunder Sky" - Nickel Azo Gold = "Rusted Key" - Dark Green = "Deep in the Woods" - Raw Umber = "Ancient Earth" - Teal = "Hopeful Heart" etc...
With your journal and a pen nearby, take a moment to relax and breathe. Think again of your favorite light, your favorite season or moment of the day. Bring back the images and sensations. Think again of your inner landscape from the meditation. Of your favorite light and texture words, and the names you have created for your colors. Let yourself be filled with this mix of images and sensations that is completely unique to you.
Then write "I am"... and complete the sentence with the first thing that comes to your mind. Immediately move on to the next line and do it again, and again, until the images and words stop coming.
Then read what you just wrote. Anything that feels good and true, don't touch it (don't "beautify" it!). Anything that feels off, just remove it. Any new phrase that arises and that you love, add it. Keep it spontaneous and don't overwork it!
The text you end up with can be as long or as short as you feel is right for you. There's no right or wrong here. Copy your affirmation on a brand new page in your journal, or hang it in your creative space. Keep it with you as you create your final painting for the course.
Writer and contributing artist Jessica Leigh Brogan has written a poem on her blog called "The Light". It ends with a beautiful poetic affirmation. Read it here:
Pinterest inspiration quest
Create a "My Palette" board on your Pinterest and fill it with the colors you feel most drawn to, the ones you most love to incorporate into your art, and new colors you'd like to try...
Also create a "My Story" or "I am..." board. Find images that reflect what you wrote in your poetic affirmation and that represent your journey. Don't forget to add images of your own art!
As inspiration to our final project, you can also check out the "Light Seeker" and "Over the Rainbow" boards on our "Atelier" Pinterest page:
mixed media painting
The process of this final project is at the same time fun and soulful, deep and whimsical! It's about playing with the "idea" of a self-portrait: not a literal representation of what you look like, but infused with the essence of who you truly are, deep inside.
Above all, it's about representing and honoring your connection to your own unique light: for me, this took the form of catching stars, but for you it could be something completely different! Here are some ideas that you could explore to choose a figure and a gesture that really feel true to YOU:
- Reaching out for the Moon
- Welcoming the Sun with open arms
- Lighting a candle
- Lighting a lamp-post
- Dancing under fireworks
- Dancing by a campfire
- Holding a torch, or a lantern, or a sparkle stick
- Blowing bubbles that reflect light
- Being surrounded by stardust
- Hanging fairy-lights in a tree
- Climbing a ladder to the moon
- Standing at the top of a light-house
- Standing in front of a landscape as the sun rises
- Walking in a forest and catching a ray of light that filters through the trees
- Blowing dandelion seeds that turn into stars...
For more inspiration you could go back to the beautiful self-portrait photos of Sarah Treanor in her interview HERE. There are also plenty of Light Seeker and Light Bearer images in our Pinterest board above.
Let your imagination take over!
What you will learn along the way:
In this project you will:
- tell your story through a figurative piece
- play with the rainbow to combine color and white
- practice letting go by peeling back and destroying some of the layers to create a distressed background!
- create a figure from a photo of yourself and play with the idea of a self-portrait in a fun and whimsical way
- play with composition to create movement that tells your story.
what you will need
- A large enough stretched canvas or other substrate that will take water well (not cardboard or paper)
- Acrylic paints in a variety of colors (or just the 3 primary colors: magenta red, yellow and cyan blue) + white
- A variety of collage papers
- A photo of you in the gesture of your choice, printed on regular paper with water-resistant ink (color photocopy)
- Plastic card and/or palette knife
- Matte gel medium
- Water + a rag
- Scrubbing sponge
- White Posca pen
- Regular pencil (HB to 4B)
- Acrylic inks in a variety of colors + Payne's Grey and Raw Umber
- Water-soluble pastels (Neocolor II)
- Hydro-alcoholic gel (hand sanitizer)
- Stabilo All black pencil
- White-out pen
Playing with the rainbow! We start by covering the whole canvas with color: inks, paints, collage... This step is really all about the process, not the results: let go and just have fun!
We start by inviting more light and quiet with white, then we play with covering, uncovering, scraping and peeling back some of the layers, to create a distressed background where color peeks through the light.
We create the figure from a personal photo, playing with this idea of self-portrait. We create contrast with shadow and color against our light-filled background
We keep working on the background and play with color and shadow. We create interest and contrast in the top part with a moody sky and at the bottom with rich layers of color and texture.
We add movement and finishing touches that tell a story, and we finish the painting by writing our poetic affirmation.
This week I am delighted to welcome Light-Bearers Stephanie Lee and Jessica Brogan! These two ladies have both helped me to step into my role as a teacher and create this class, and I know they will inspire you too!