The heart of art

As I’ve grown more and more into freedom consciousness, a phrase I borrow with much gratitude from Story Waters, there’s been an internal tug of war taking shape, telling me I need to become less structured, more spontaneous in what I express…less reliant on edges or in pursuit of perceived coherence and the nodding approval of others and yet… 

All structure is suggested to us by experiences we’ve had, we grow from that and extrapolate; its inherent in the very diversification process of who and what we are in our physicality. So when I paint from ‘life’ I borrow an aspect of structure that I’ve encountered in ‘reality’…but then I interpret that in a way that is entirely personal, that expresses my own personal brand of light. What’s wrong with that? Do I need to get any more loose and free flowing than that to feel I’m channeling some purer, more intrinsic expression of Self? 


When I paint free-form it can be cathartic at the time but the results are usually regarded, by discerning me seeking ‘finished’ art to send out into the world, with laughter, frustration or abhorrence. The conscious creator in me is never satisfied with the way these let-loose pieces come together, the composition annoys me into wanting to go back to polish and perfect….and so that defeats the whole object of the free flow channel of expression that the painting started as. To me, they are too personal and, on a par with truly honest and un-edited journaling, simply not for sharing. 

Yet lately I’ve felt some equal frustration over how much (I know) I hone what I put out into the world in paint and in writing….gearing it for a particular audience and working to certain self-imposed standards of presentation. Is this wrong? 

I’m seeking to channel more and more of what I regard as my inherent cosmic Self into my publicly available versions of ‘creative expression’ but does the output necessarily have to be accessible and, if I seek to filter it that way, am I tampering with it too much for it to retain any kind of relationship with the purest kind of expression that I seek? Will the fundamental universality of what I seek to incorporate shine through however it is presented or do I have to stick to commonalities of expression? Can the one be hung on top of the shape of the other like a gauzy cloth upon a mannequin, so that it takes on the familiar semblance of something that others may recognise? 

In the creative act, there seems to be the need for some sort of basic structure…which could be as apparently flimsy as an aim, an intention…on which to hang the ‘free flow’ in order for it to take form in such a way that it is accessible to others. And since form is the ‘place’ where we meet each other, this is surely appropriate. Like taking the trouble to learn a few basic words of a language before setting off to the country where it is spoken, if you’re going to speak to other human beings then there are certain modalities of communication that they are most likely to understand and to resonate with. The language of Nature is one of these and invariably speaks to audiences of my artwork. Inherent within such a piece of art or writing – in fact, right at the very heart of it –  is the loving intention of wishing to communicate with others, to reach out to them and find areas in common. The modern fad of going off into excesses of the deliberately bewildering, setting out to present as art that which is intentionally inaccessible or even repugnant to others seems closed-off and cerebral to me and, whilst it is certainly something and (by virtue if the fact it exists) clearly has its place, I struggle to relate to it as art.  Yes, I know, the labelling doesn’t matter…it is what it is.

This is my interpretation, my version of art that I’m feeling out here and is necessarily a perspective. For me, it is that reach to interact with each other…at the same time as expressing Self…that is right at the very heart of art and is where the pure magic happens. It is a marriage of physical with non-physical that explodes into a pyrotechnic expression of ultimate, playful creativity that sets off mirrored reactions in the many other hearts that encounter it. 

My answer is in the outcome. For the first part of this year, I tried out…without knowing it…two extremes of expression as a way back into my paints. The first was highly structured, the second had none at all…and both frustrated the life out of me, going nowhere that felt ‘right’. 

Then I came back in at a new angle, starting with the structures of ‘real’ life, a composition so familiar I felt I could step right back into the golden, glorious remembrance of it…and then free flowing the magic when it came to the interpretation, keeping the cerebral at bay so the pure channelled knowing of where to put each stroke just happened without effort. 

Helen White Photography

I knew I was getting there with this one as the fireworks started going off inside. 

The same goes for writing…being that I’m setting out to free channel my words more than ever and yet knowing, if I did this fully, I would probably throw away almost all accessibility to my writing, making it so niche as to loose my audience and so the communication factor that means so much to me. Besides, I love word-play as much as I love my paint palette…getting to choose where to dip my brush. And so, my ‘way’ going forwards is to free flow the words from their inspired if often tenuous birthing point – get them all down as they come through to me – and then hone them into whatever structure, or thread, most suggests itself afterwards; editing it to where we are here at the end of what was a relatively free-flow if, at last (?) coherent post with, perhaps, a little less pressure on the brake pedal than before. 

This very acceptance of consciously applied structure, the celebration of its usefulness in the process of embodying what I seek to ground into experience, rather than the perpetuation of a perceived conflict with it, ushers in the ultimate expression of freedom consciousness for me and I am excited to see where it leads me. 

So, that’s where I feel myself going in 2014, exploring free-flowing looseness within the gentlest of self-selected boundaries…allowing each to inform the other in equal part…and so seeing what takes shape, somehow knowing that this will be happening both on and off the canvas!


About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
This entry was posted in Art, Art technique, Authorship, Consciousness & evolution, Life choices, Painting, Personal Development, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The heart of art

  1. I’ll look forward to seeing where this approach takes you Helen, I hope it makes for a very creative 2014.


  2. Pingback: Picturing synergy | scattering the light

Please comment on what I have shared and follow me if you enjoyed it!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s