Conversations with the Brush is a wildly entertaining and inspirational journey into examining the question of how to become more creatively free and alive using intuitive painting and the expressive arts. It's also a deep investigation into the cultural attitudes, unquestioned beliefs and emotional patterns that get in the way of fully embracing that creative freedom and aliveness. It's a book of wisdom teachings about making art, trusting in your intuition and living a fully expressed creative life. To demonstrate these teachings it employs the time-honored tradition of story telling, based on actual conversations that the author has had between herself and her many students over the past twenty-five years of teaching. It also includes a deeper philosophical commentary on each of the stories that reflects upon the underlying creative issues that the stories bring to light and journal questions and creative prompts that allow the reader to engage with the stories as a psychological and spiritual inner-growth process in a more personally engaged and contemplative way.
A wide variety of principles and practices related to creativity and intuition are explored through these stories, questions and commentary.
One of the most important practices is learning how to identify and manage your inner critic when you create and to begin to identify the difference between the nitpicking and faultfinding voice of your judging mind and the joyful permission of your creative muse. Many of the stories provide potently powerful yet playful perspectives on what it means to let go of trying to be perfect and how to release your need to meet external standards for outer approval from others when it comes to making art.
Another essential principle is related to examining our need to be in control when we are creating in order to end up with a particular type of finished product. But this approach to painting and creativity is based on learning how to trust in our spontaneous creative expression and treat our creativity as a living force with a mind of its own. The stories give great examples of what it looks like to take creative risks, to paint without a plan and to begin to release our need to control our art and our life.
To create in this unique and unconventional way means to relinquish our allegiance to letting our minds always run the creative show. The core philosophy of this approach to painting and art-making is based on the idea that creativity lives in the heart, is channeled through the intuition, and is expressed through the body. It's based on the belief that embracing our full creative expression without judgment or expectation is a profound act of radical self-acceptance that leads to an experience of deep self-love and creative liberation.
This book also explores the issue of how to deal with creative resistance and what it looks like to move through stubborn creative blocks using the process of courageous creative inquiry, joyfully breaking internalized art rules, and embracing the idea that there truly are no mistakes when you paint. Its intention is to help readers gain more confidence in trusting in their own imagination and intuitive flow and to become more willing to be brave around their authentic creative expression.
The stories give real-life examples of what it means to be fully present to yourself and your inner experience as you paint, and what it looks like to allow your art-making to be a vehicle for psychological, spiritual and emotional healing. They take the reader into the minds and hearts of the people in the stories, where they can see their own struggles reflected and be inspired to do and try things they have never done before in their own creative process. And finally, the stories are fun to read and a delightful reminder that the true purpose of creativity is to expand our capacity for joy.
A beautiful inspiration
This book and the painting process has a very precious place in my collection of creative inspirations. There is so much to said for the forthright and nurturing guidance the author offers in fostering a rich creative journey.