spirit-animals-with-katrina-koltzI am taking an online class with Katrina Koltes called Into The Myst, presented by Ivy Newport.  This is my first piece inspired by Katrina.  I will absolutely admit, I got carried away with previous habits and preferences, and over-painting before I finished watching all of the videos…I just got into “the zone” and kept on going.  So I do intend to try again, to learn her technique for hair, and the way she drips the paint.  What I did learn, technique wise, was how to keep softened edges with watercolour paints, and how much fun adding a straw to my painting arsenal can be.

Katrina encouraged us to incorporate our spirit animals into this initial painting.  And I have to admit, I found this exercise rather difficult.  I mean, I have a few animals I tend to see everywhere, or when I’m deep in thought about life, a butterfly will show up (even in this chillier weathers), or I will see a heron flying across the city sky…weird…or a hawk perched high in a tree, reminding me to consider a higher perspective.  I see bunnies almost every time I run, regardless where I run, and chipmunks are everywhere and always amuse me.  And I absolutely LOVE what dragonflies stand for…hence my tattoo.  I also added a stargazer lily, as this was my Mom’s favourite flower, and I’m always thinking of her when one appears in my environment, as though she is saying “hello, Love, I am here”.

I won’t get into what each animal represents or the message they are said to convey.  I will tell you that a lot of my focus recently has been on adaptation, self acceptance and growth, transformation and creation, and remembering how to stay grounded while learning to fly.  Finding comfort in each of the elements, and strength from them.  Approaching uncertainty and discomfort from a place of curiosity and kindness.  Allowing myself to dream and to play.

So the first “problem” I had with this exercise was that my spirit animals are not big and magestic like a stag or a horse, like some others had, so I was confused how to make the image flow.  And then I realized that drawing animals is much more difficult for me than drawing a face.  (Thanks to an online class with Jane Davenport).  I was struggling with drawing because I felt I had to do it “just right”.

But once the paint came out, I was free.  Free to play, to observe how it plays with the water and paper, how it granulates and mixes and swirls.  Free to use what delights me, the colours that tug at my heart strings.  And that, my friends, is how I get lost in creating.  before I knew it, I was way past the point I had watched on the videos.  So I stopped, and watched the videos, and realized there was no way I could back track.  And why should I?  I kind of like her as she is!  ACCEPTANCE!  My word for the year!  So I continued o move forward, and incorporated techniques as I still could.  It may not be as powerful of a piece as intended, but I like her all the same.  And I know what I’d do differently the next time.  🙂  I accept what is AND I intend to learn from my experience and change my behaviour in the future, without guilt.  This is dialectical thinking.  Opposites CAN coexist.  It does not have to be black or white or even a shade of grey…it can be both.  It can be orange and blue without making mud.  How amazingly far I have come in a year!  I am grateful again to my art for helping to demonstrate thoughts and theories for me to apply to my regular life, to help me be a better person, for myself and for those around me.

(And yes, all of this can be demonstrated with running as well…but I will save that for another day).  😉

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