I've just returned from a full month away. I've been teaching workshops in cold wax medium and oil in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Salmon Arm, BC, putting into practice all that I've learned this long winter when I was unable to paint because of my broken wrist. I've learned lessons on analyzing paintings and teaching how to see and formulate a vocabulary to begin to talk about art.
There seems to be a pattern in the workshops. Sometime during the first day, Chaos descends. At least for most people. I don't know how it happens, but I see it more regularly the longer I teach. Usually she lands sometime in the first afternoon. People who are used to making things..paintings or sculptures, who normally can find a way to use materials to create, at least, the beginning of something, seem to lose their way. They become frustrated with themselves, often ending up with thick muddy textures. I suggest they paint quickly and work on many panels at once, so that none of the panels becomes too important. However, the mad lady, Chaos still seems to descend.
The American Psychologist Carl Rogers said that, "Transformation occurs when we lose our way and find a new way to return".
Deborah Bakos, one of the artists in my Vancouver workshop writes a blog for the Vancouver Sun. She wrote a fabulous article about her experience of chaos and process in our painting class last week. You can read it here:
"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star". Friedrich Nietzsche