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Join date: Feb 14, 2019

About

I am a clinical social worker practicing in Indianapolis. I create paintings recalled from dreams, meditations and shamanic journeys. This process provides insight for personal growth as well as artistic expression.


I began painting in 2002 in response to a dream. In the dream I am invited to a family’s home for dinner. After dinner the host says that we are going to paint. I tell him that I do not know how to paint, but he doesn’t seem to care. He gets out canvases, brushes and paints and we start painting. I swirl paints onto a large canvas. As I paint I notice that images are appearing. It was like the painting process in the dream was instructing me on how I was to paint.


I was in a dream group at the time and I shared this dream with the group. They told me that I needed to start painting. I told them I didn’t know how to paint. They said just do what you did in the dream.


Adhering to the dream's suggestion, I regularly begin my process by painting several colors into a background of an undefined space. I then develop whatever it is that I see...a part of an animal, a bird's beak, a person's nose, etc. I develop that image and let the painting emerge. As I interact with the images, painting them, amplifying them, dialoging with them, listening to their personal and archetypal meanings, I reveal unconscious forces at work in my own soul. Since the mind has a tendency "to structure ambiguous scenes into personally meaningful images that symbolize underlying motives and emotions" my paintings are kind of a witness that speaks to my life condition, a kind of shamanic journey for healing and insight. Therefore, I consider my paintings similar to a projective experience much like clinical psychology's Rorschach Test. At first I brought little detail to the images. Over time I began to paint more and more detail, defining the images more clearly into the style that I have today.


Linked to my career as a clinical social worker I call my paintings "healing art." I work to accomplish a healing space. I paint as a personal process to bring into consciousness what is unconscious in me. I also do commissioned paintings, where someone gives me a theme or perhaps an inquiry into some concern, and I will meditate and/or journey on that theme or question and bring onto the canvas what I see. In both cases my goal is to create a painting that has a healing effect.


Art, whether that is a painting, a sculpture, dance, music, sewing, wearing or writing, can be a pathway for healing. Art connects us to the deep archetypal powers of the soul where healing occurs. Here is an example of my work.






sshalley

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