I had a fascinating experience last week when an urge came upon me to clear out a room that we laughingly called “the study” but which was two-thirds painting storage, some book cases and wardrobes and, the rest, a load of junk. I’ve been in the process of recalibrating all my spaces since our daughter flew the nest, knowing I needed to declutter from the old life before stepping into the new.
So I took all these paintings out of storage and out of their layers of wrap to appraise what I had. Hard as it is for me to believe, its been almost two years since I painted in oils, which is what I’d previously done for over a decade and become best known for. Yes, I ‘ve dabbled in acrylics and mostly been busy creating digital artworks and fabric designs since then but I was painfully aware of that time-lapse in the flow of what used to consume me week in and week out. I really haven’t been able to decide whether this marked the end of my painting years or just a pause of breath because the urge had simply vanished.
I’d even got as far as telling myself my artworks really weren’t that accomplished, that I’m no great artist in a commercial or celebrity artist sense so it must be time to own up to the fact…give it up…all that left brain judgemental stuff based on ideas we have of what success should look like and from looking at the surface of the “pictures” without feeling into their energetic layers. So when I took all this work out of storage and had another look after such a long pause, I was surprised to realise I was quite impressed by a few pieces. Some even spoke to me even more now than they did when they were newly finished. It was always “a thing” about my art that it would have some deeper, more symbolic message, to convey to me, in the months or immediate years after painting it, after I had hung it up in my house; and it would become an energetic partnership of sorts…and then, one day, I would get the sign that our work together was done and that I was ready to find that particular artwork its new home/partner. With some of these that I was being newly drawn to, and one in particular, I realised that deeper work had never even begun…I hadn’t even wanted it on my wall when I finished it, odd though that struck me to be, though perhaps it was because I had laboured over it for quite a long time before I was happy enough to call it finished. Newly hanging opposite my bed, it now seems to have loads to say to me, well over two years since it was finished, so the time for collaboration seems to be now, at a time when I can get beyond my focus on its physical imperfections as the ever-critical artist (having forgotten all the ins and outs of painting it) and into the deeper layers.
So, having picked out the pieces I felt drawn to keep (based on powerful gut feelings, not sentimentality or “ought to”s, not even on ideas of “this is a more/less accomplished painting”), I put together a collection of the remaining artworks to offer to other people who might see something in them that they were looking for. I put them out there with a simple invitation, paraphrased as follows: “If you feel drawn to any of these pieces and if you feel you could offer it an appreciative home, please just make me an offer…doesn’t have to be grandiose, it could even be a swop with something from your skillset…just so long as you really feel drawn to the piece and would like it (and can pay the shipping)”.
Of course, I was hopeful of some sort of response as my whole project to clear (literal and energetic) space relied on it; none of these pieces would do well in my cold, damp garage over winter. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was how quickly I started to hear from people, all from amongst my Facebook friends, though the folder of images was viewed a staggering hundred plus times on Flickr in the following hours. Before I had even pulled on my boots to go out for my walk, having just thrown out the invitation, I was talking to someone about one, maybe two of the biggest pieces. By the time I got back I was juggling multiple threads of conversation. By the end of that evening, it was looking like over half a dozen artworks had found their new home and I am continuing to talk to people now. Bear in mind, art sales are a rare and beautiful thing to most painters and I could hope for this kind of response in a year, in any other circumstances.
The thing that was most remarkable of all was the feeling of there being such synchronistic timing between my action and all these people I was now talking to. The running theme seemed to be that they had all been waiting for a sign or a “thing” to nudge them into a new feeling-place or to mark a transition. One had been going through health issues and had literally just been given the go-ahead to work part-time from home so these pieces chosen for her home-office wall were like the seal on the deal, marking a new era of improved health. Others had been feeling “down for no reason” and I was told how my timely offer had swooped in and lifted them back up. A couple of people been going through challenging or even deeply unhappy circumstances so taking the opportunity to claim a particular artwork, in spite of these hardships, felt like a cue that things had turned around or that they were about to find new inspiration. One was even purchased as a wedding gift from mother to daughter. Within hours, I had improved my own flailing cash flow considerably but had also done exchanges for holistic therapies and organic products, even for “nothing” much more than a priceless exchange of words with someone who had made more difference to me than they will ever know and the feeling that a particular artwork was meant to go to that particular person, right then, no argument. In fact I got the feeling, over and over again, that I had known all along that a certain painting was meant for a particular person…that all they were doing was claiming it in perfect timing and that all I had to do was act on that knowing without letting old mindsets get in the way.
The energetic gift to me, of all this, was beyond measuring. Quite apart from receiving such a boost to my confidence as an artist, when I heard about how much these artworks meant to people, how they transformed the way they were feeling about everything, how much they had been day-dreaming about hanging one of them on their wall for such a long time, I could feel my creative juices start to stir like they had been let out of the captivity of my own lack of self-belief. In fact, it felt great to be kicking this whole idea that what we day-dream about having is generally so far out of reach; I wanted to be instrumental in disproving that limiting belief system, regardless of any so-called material practicalities that seem to be standing in the way…knowing that, in dissolving this brain-warp, I was opening up my own potentiality too.
By the next morning, I could literally feel the new firehose-like flow of new ideas into the brand new spaces liberated by the outward shift of all the older energy that had been anchored in my old storage space…and now turned into a high-vibe work domain in which I can nurture my creative process away from the domestic part of the house. In fact, the main challenge since starting to work in this lovely space (which I’ve completely transformed into a lovely room in under a week) is to take pause and breathe between all the ideas that are now in full-throttle; and underneath all that, a stronger, calmer sense of purpose “as a painter” is starting to want to be heard, which gives me hope that I’m about to pick up my paints again, albeit in a new way. I feel so much lighter for shaking up all these canvases that had continued to hold onto the energy of the times when I was working on them and…having released them like a jar full of butterflies…knowing I have done right by them before expecting either them, or me, to move on to the new.
The potent sense I had, that 24 hours, of being at the centre of a beaded web of energetic exchange, conducting all these conversations which (if those in them had but known) shared so many common themes and me the unifying link at the centre, reaping so much benefit from the outpouring of love that was spiralling all around me, was quite unforgettable. In fact, it felt like I was hooking together the energetic charge of so many beautiful people who will never get to meet and yet who, for that short period of time, pooled their energies into something quantum and potent. I’ve been riding high on all that positivity and joy ever since; having felt more robust, more purposeful, more sparkly somehow for the whole experience and then doing what I can to share that feeling back out with those others. Even though some paintings remain and I’ve just added a handful more to the sale, nothing could ever replicate that first exhilarating tidal wave of energetic exchange, which taught me something so important about how all exchanges could be conducted on a higher basis than what we have primarily come to regard as matters of “money”, “commerce”, “economics” and “business”. Instead of depleted…guarded….wary, as I often feel when forced to price-up and get business-like about my art, I felt fairly and, in fact, doubly reimbursed for all my time in production, even when partly “paid” in means that could not be so easily quantified. Above all, it is the sense that all parties gained equally from this fair exchange, in ways that will continue to flower and which have left their imprint as an energetic bridge from one heart to another, impacting those who took part and even those who engaged with the paintings in other ways over the course of so many conversations…bridges that are as far-reaching as these paintings are travelling to their new homes, some of them over oceans. True to say, I feel so incredibly expanded over all of this!
Its also fair to say that I’ve now remembered, in good time, why it is that I paint, and its got far less to do with the material artwork than the energetic layers that it contains. Another timely occurance in relation to all this is that, just as I was starting to feel called to do something about my stagnent output a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted out of the blue by Lee Harris, the globally aclaimed intuitive messenger and transformation leader. Lee purchase one of my paintings about five years ago and I had assumed that he must have forgotten about it by now; perhaps it got left behind when he moved house or was hanging in his cloakroom….Suddenly, there was Lee telling me he had been wondering about how I was doing as he and his partner still love my painting, which now hangs on their wall in Malibu. Since that conversation, of course, the whole area has been engulfed in fire but their house remained intact and I like to think the positive energy I charged my painting with played a small part. The exchange we had reminded me to look at what he had said about my artwork at the time. He said: “Your work is stunning – really beautiful. Scattered Light really spoke to me and something told me when I saw it that it would be healing for me to have around. It arrived and it is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so much. Last night I had it on the wall while friends were over and every time I looked across at it, it was like a Portal or Window into another dimension. The way you captured the light in the painting is extraordinary”. I know there was no accident that he made contact just as I needed to be reminded of this; which is how energy art works. Something in that painting prompted him to deliver to me exactly the encouragement I needed to hear at a time that my spirit was flagging…and I have no doubt it led to me clearing out the room and instigating this whole chain of events.
So yes, it was a remarkable thing, this “occurrence” that began as an exercise in practicality yet became infinite in its potential just as soon as I stopped worrying about “how much” I would get back in material terms. Once that limiting idea (oh how it trips us up!) had been dispensed with, the free-flowing rewards were as exponential as they were immeasurable as they were available to all parties and there was such a strong sense that this was only the beginning; that these artworks would continue to flower on walls and in hearts for many years to come, as a reminder of all that is possible when love is the driving force.
If you’re curious about my art then you can view most of it at www.helenwhite.org. Then follow this Art SALE ORIGINALS link to my Flickr gallery of listed sale items as referred to in this post or ART SALE PRINTS (just added).