I recently took a workshop, The Healing Power of Painting at The Creative Center in New York City with a real creative force, the artist Eva Deutsch Costabel. She has been painting for over 50 years and early on was a student of Franz Kline.
One thing that makes the Creative Center Classes unique is that they are free to people who are living with or have been previously diagnosed with a major illness. I find an the honesty, fearlessness and openness and creativity what I have never experienced anywhere else. There is no holding back, there is so much courage. It's like the kind of energy you might feel in a group meditation.
Often people in the classes are going through some very serious health challenges and come here for the healing power of creativity, which can take many forms. It can be a wonderful distraction to learn something new and relaxing like knitting or it can be a powerful release to express your emotions using paint.
The first works I created were really really raw and intense with a street art/graffiti vibe. Working in a group, rather than alone in my studio made me feel like I was in a safer space to really let it all out! It felt really freeing to paint out the feelings of frustration and anger and in a sense get them out of my head and out of my body. After I did a few of these large bright acrylic paintings I started a new series in the same class, which I'll share in my next blog post "Healing Power of Paint Pt. 2"
I think this image of a 60s surfer girl totally rocks. It's a terrific photo with all the splashy ocean spray, her bathing suit is pretty cute, and the colors are lovely. What I like the best about this photo is her pose. She looks like a still image from a Bob Fosse show, yet on a surfboard. Totally amazing!
Although I've lived only a mile away from the ocean for most of my life I'm a terrible swimmer. Boogie boarding in the little kids area is as close as I get to real surfing (but it's great fun and I can totally pretend that I am really surfing, just like the little kids).
Still, I really identified with the image of this surfer girl. I mean, who wouldn't want to be her? I decided to place her on top of a cascading pile of layered vintage papers. Now she's in my element, collage. What's your element?