by Julie on July 3, 2010 · 10 comments


“When you go out next, take a look at the dirt at the side of the road. Blonde dirt, ochre red dirt, black dirt, brown dirt, yellow dirt, clay white dirt, green dirt. Then, look inside your house. Most everything in it came from the dirt first. Our Mother is everywhere: metal, plastic, paper, glass. Don’t tell me you have no ideas. Dig.”

~Tending the Creative Fire manuscript, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés


Last Thursday, I painted with Chris Zydel, (@wildheartqueen for you twitteraties).

Chris leads Process painting. Beautifully.

The Process began with picking my paint colors and brushes.

For me, this process was about digging. The painting I did didn’t come from the top of me. My head. It came from someplace deep down in the darkness, someplace where the paint flows like honey, like blood, like dirt…I guess that would be mud.

As Chris said right from the beginning, it’s not about the painting, it’s about the process, about what’s happening within you as you choose colors, choose brushes, face the white paper, become the conduit for seed to sprout from the dirt, and for the mystery to come to life as creation.

At the very root of it all, it’s a big mystery. I didn’t know what would come out on the paper. I don’t know what it is or even what it means. It just came out. It’s as simple as that.

I noticed, as I painted without a plan and without a story, that it was fun. I had fun simply watching it all happen. I felt playful as the color changed the paper from white to painted. It was spontaneous. Joyous. Innocent.

It was a lot like the painting I did as a child at pre-school, where long tables were made from saw horses and wood, long tables that held clean white butcher paper.

Back then, I just LOVED to see the paint flow onto the paper. That’s the part I remember most. The colors. The mixing. The colors mixing and turning the paper from white to painted to creation.

Sometimes, what is flowing wants my mind to join in, so the creation can have meaning, can be shared with words, can have a different kind of impact. Sometimes, there’s no invitation to the mind to join in. I like those times. They’re empty. Nothing here but dirt and digging.

I could try to make something up about what it means, but why?

Dirt is where it all comes from.

I just dig.

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wholly jeanne July 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

now, darlin, this is nothing short of beautiful. i see dirt and roots – deep roots.

Julie July 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

thank you, jeanne

Rebecca July 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I’m speechless….and blown away, into tiny little bits.

Walt Pascoe July 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

An exquisite excavation, Julie. Hope to see more!

Marjory July 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

“It came from someplace deep down in the darkness, someplace where the paint flows like honey, like blood, like dirt…I guess that would be mud.”

mmmm this piece took my breath away Julie, it is so alive with movement and passion, love it!! Thanks for sharing this beautiful expression of your being. Keep on digging! 🙂

Holly July 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

A joyful explosion of color and song! Full to bursting w/ Life! Beautiful!

Julie July 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

@Rebecca – I can tell it has had quite an effect on you. I know it’s alive. That’s all I know.

@Walt – thank you for your encouragement to keep digging… coming from you, that means a lot.

@Marjory – thank you. alive, it is.

@Holly – thank you, dear one. I love your sense…

mrs mediocrity July 4, 2010 at 6:05 am

Yes, it is beautiful, and digging is always good for the soul, whether it is literally getting your hands dirty in the garden, or digging deeper into yourself than you have gone before. O love to do both, I love the way your painting spills out onto itself, lovely.

Square-Peg Karen July 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Oh My Word. This grabbed my heart!!

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