july- vulnerability

Each layer of paint is added as each layer of my deepest self is exposed. The transfer is inevitable. I am rarely aware of what is occurring while I am painting, however, when I stand back to view a painting often times I feel slightly uneasy and exposed. I remind myself that each painting will be seen though the individual eyes of the viewer and will reflect something unique to each person, yet there is a moment when I see myself and wonder what the painting is reflecting of me. Inexplicable tears often roll down my face with a sigh. There are even times I cannot look at a painting when it’s finished; I have to walk away and come back to it with fresh eyes because my emotions are spinning too wildly. Then there are the pieces that I rest in. Finding sanctuary in that final ray of light, I can go home and dream of the place that was created on the canvas. All of the paintings fill me with their presence and I release them without personal attachment, yet I am aware of an unusual state of vulnerability… Almost as if a stranger is peering deeply into my eyes.

My mind and personal thoughts go on vacation when I paint. Thoughts pass through my head, yet they have no weight or importance. My mind has surrendered; something bigger is at work. I am willing to let go of “me” in that moment. Whatever is created comes from the void created by removing myself or letting go of “me”. What remains is the biggest mystery of all… and that is what I paint. Ultimately, I know this is the real me. It is the core or essence of me, without all the layers of personality and protection. Taking a look at this has often left me wondering what the world would be like if we could see ourselves and each other all the time on this level, exposed in our true and vulnerable beauty. Would the layers of judgment, fear, and insecurity fall away? And would we possibly understand our connection to one another? It’s a beautiful thought, yet vulnerability inevitably is misunderstood and taken advantage of in the current world. Countless times, I have learned the hard way to protect this intrinsic beauty. Countless times, I have seen it in others when they haven’t yet seen it in themselves. Countless times, I have caught myself wanting to hide or wishing things were different…because it simply hurts too much to be exposed and rejected, taken advantage of, or looked at like a fool. Then a smile rises up from my heart. The bubbling champagne of my soul seduces me again and I am drunk on vulnerability, willing to pay the price.

Vulnerability has a price; it costs the ego. Once that’s paid and given up, miraculously the pain goes away. What I have found in its place is freedom. The freedom to be authentic and not carry the weight of armor or protection is well worth saying goodbye to my bruised ego and its expectations. Furthermore, I know without a doubt that for creativity to flow through me, I must be vulnerable and completely open. So as I shed the layers, I may be a little tender at times, but I am more than committed. I am devoted with all of my heart, because that stranger peering deeply into my eyes is nothing more than life itself waiting for me to truly see it… and I can’t wait to paint that!


Creatively, Britten