"An Authentic Journey" by Barbara Day 

Once upon a time a little girl learned that who she was, was wrong. She daydreamed instead of doing her work in class, she forgot her sweaters on the back of her chair at school two days in a row and she drew pictures on her desk—and got in trouble for it. Slowly, she learned to hide herself away and be like everyone else. Or at least to act as though she was like everyone else. The art/creativity that was so important to her would not be hidden. This talent was recognized by everyone and so she could hide into this world and be okay for awhile.

As time passed and the little girl became a woman, she continued to work in art and become a graphic artist—a way to make a living and be creative! She thought she was so clever. But the act of being something other than her true self meant that her art also became something other than her true art. Frustration in her artwork led to a journey of discovery where she met a fairy godmother who taught how to realize ones true aesthetic.

At the beginning of the class her marks were swirly, smooth, and curved. Bright colours were used. Many of her marks were strong and heavy (see picture 1).


Picture 1

The marks are an even weight without much variety in the strokes. The colours are mainly primary. In picture 2 she was working more from her head and her body rather than her emotions or intuition. (see picture 7 and 8).

Picture 2

 After meditation and warm-up exercises that included imagining her own face and drawing it with her eyes closed she created this painting with extremely soft, muted—as well as limited—colours (see picture 3). A first step to discovering her own aesthetic. But the lines are all a similar weight and style. Lots of long and curving lines.

Picture 3

Looking deep inside herself with meditation and letting her emotions and intuition slowly take over the dictatorship of her head, there was a slow change in the style of her marks. It began with more muted colours—mixing the colours to make them more interesting rather than using them straight from the bottle, and later not even mixing them fully so that there was a mixture of the colour on the paper rather than a flat area of colour (see picture 8).

She drew two masks — one which showed the face that other people saw and one which showed her real face. The "other" mask was an actual face which had the same heavy, circling lines as used in the first 3 images (see picture 4). The colours were becoming more muted, but some bright colours were still being used. Additionally, there were some delicate, squiggly lines—almost as if they didn’t belong and one of these seemed to be trapped inside the face. Another line zig-zaged around the top of the mask, almost like an aura. These lines looked as though they didn’t belong to the mask. They were done with a lighter touch and more muted colours than at first—a tentative attempt at a different way of marking.

Surprisingly, the second mask was not even a face (see picture 5). The "real" her was a whole bunch of squirmy, wiggly, wandering lines going off in many directions in soft, subdued colours. The "real" mask looked as though it was created by a different person. The lines meandered—not as abruptly as the lines around the head of the first mask—and then stayed in one spot to make a nest of lines and then retraced their steps to a point until they veered off into another direction to move on until they paused to make another nest. This represented how her authentic self’s mind worked: following a train of thought which sparked an idea, which made her think of something else; a creative thought process which always leads to new ideas and back to the original thought and then on to another idea. The colours were light and soft. A big change from picture 1.      

The body she drew to go with these faces had strong colours and strong lines—similar in style, but not in colour to the "other" mask. The colours are back to the bright primaries, plus some gold paint added at the end of the process. The outline of the body was created mostly from her own body: by visualizing her body in her mind she used her whole arm motion and body energy to sweep in the lines using a heavy pressure on the oil pastel. The paints were also applied with a heavy pressure. Although, in the arm the swirling red/pink looks a bit lighter and more controlled than the red of the "passion" in the core centre of the body and used that same curling motion that had been used in pictures 1 and 3.

The three drawings from her childhood memory using her body, her emotion and her mind show how they each affect the outcome of her artwork. Picture 7 was done using the body. You can see the same strong line has been used in previous works (see pictures 1, 2, 4 and 6). Picture 8 was created using her mind. Although the marks are mostly dark and muted they are similar in heaviness as earlier works (see picture 2, 3 and 6). Picture 9 was done from an emotional level. Colours are soft yet bright. Similar in feel to the "real" mask (see picture 5)
and a hint of the variety of lines to come in picture 10.

Picture 7                                                                  Picture 8

Picture 9


The final work (picture 10 ) has come very far from picture 1. Through the meditations with her fairy godmother and after digging into her inner core and allowing emotion and intuition to step forward while holding back her dominant thinking side, there was a dramatic change in the aesthetic of her work. A lighter, more lyrical touch. A more delicate, meandering, varied line which is expressive with different pressure and speed. Short sharp marks combined with long meandering lines. Many different, organic, shapes are in evidence. Muted colours are mixed with some bright, but not garish, colours (more of an accent than all-over as in the earlier works). There is more white in the work—she feels drawn to it now,

as a colour on its own and as a blending and softening tool with pastel. A softer, blended look. There is much more to see in this image, as though it is layered and you can peer into it. She is curious about what more is in there.

The painting seems to reverberate with a confident, natural energy which may be why she feels an excitement in her upper chest when she views this work. She is very connected to this piece. She likes it and it likes her too. This piece is the authentic her. She is seen in this painting and she is comfortable allowing others to see her in it.

Picture 10

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