45w x 36h x 2 depth. hand-spun naturally dyed yarn bought locally, drift wood we found on sullivans island sc, plaster + concrete on a walnut wood canvas.
As I was planning this piece I was so anxious to get carried away by the detail and ultimately allow that to distract from the most breathtaking wood grains in this slab of walnut wood that I felt passionately about being the star of the show.
Connor built this canvas at least 4 months ago and it took me 2+ months to build the courage to start painting. The past few months when I felt creatively inspired I dove in head first telling myself to think minimalistic; my brain flooded with what I’d seen that day on Instagram, flashbacks of the most intricate yet dainty details created by some of the most talented NYC artists I got to view in person this summer, and the comments made by others wishing I would create more simplistic pieces. I personally feel most drawn to simplistic, minimalist art myself.
For as long as I can remember I have become easily overstimulated in most situations. Even home, relaxing: water dripping, the sound of my own breathing, my roommate listening to music, scratchy sweater, my hair touching my face. I’m not afraid to admit anymore that I am an extremely highly sensitive person, but with that comes A LOT of chronic overstimulation. Which echoes alongside anxiety, and tag teams with my intrusive thoughts like a gang of evil villains. Everyone who knows me personally knows what my face looks like when I start soaking up all the energy in the room, begin to overanalyze, and can start to hear how bright the lights are in the room.
Painting has been the closest I’ve ever been to a truly meditative state. If I am not completely immersed in a project I can find myself starting to get overstimulated by all the different colors, tools, paint splatter, racing thoughts + ideas popping in my head. Some of my favorite paints have been curated by shifting from that state at the beginning stages of the painting ending up in a deeply relaxed meditative state.
Alongside those favorite works are a huge stack of rejected paintings that were overthrown by 100 ideas at once, 500 re-dos, and a lot of self-criticisms. When I make a few of those paintings, I find myself starting to scroll the internet for inspiration, running around outside hoping the flowers in a plantation would re-invigorate the desire to paint; when it doesn’t, I end up blocked. A cycle I’ve been working hard on breaking, knowing the harder and crueler I am to myself the worse the block will become. I listened to this podcast that kept saying “you cannot create good art without creating bad art”. That mantra has endlessly stuck in my head, and I am entirely grateful since it helps me to forgive myself quicker for slipping into the cycle, knowing I just need a break, not a mindless scroll.
My art goal has been to keep working towards achieving mindfulness while creating. Not only while I am in a meditative flow, listening to a guided meditation, coming down from the joy of a favorite activity, or in a calm happy mood. Mindful when it really matters. When my brain starts playing tricks on me. I start over-analyzing my art, adding additional colors or textures that I really didn’t want to add, or start cruelly judging myself. I’ve started practicing walking away when I start thinking too hard about a piece, going back to it with a set of new eyes.
When I finally built the courage to begin painting on my new favorite wooden canvas, I was able to step away when I felt I was starting to get overstimulated. After finishing the white plaster texture, I imagined myself anchoring myself in a focused lit space and decided to put down my paint knife and step back to reflect on what I started. I visualized an anchor on the canvas. Later that day I stumbled upon this piece of driftwood on sullivans island and knew I wanted it to be a part of this piece.
For some reason, this painting helps me regain my center and focus. Looking over at it when I feel I am starting to allow my mind to wander. The yarn floating relaxing freely centered on the driftwood. I hope this piece helps you feel centered, reminds you to remain mindful, and to keep gaining awareness every day on new paths of growth you can take.