This should be no revelation to a therapist with an artistic bent, or to the many excellent art therapists out there. Painting, the act of creating an image from paint on a canvas, board or paper, wall, choose your favourite substrate, is like making contact with the self and other simultaneously. Creativity comes, for me, from my authentic self. When my authentic self is in contact with the world, good things happen, I experience joy, compassion, contact, love, as I meet the other. Painting is no exception to the rule. Except there is often a tenderness which I can express through a brush, which I rarely have opportunity to express through human contact.

I am often tender toward people, as psychotherapist, as a parent, as a husband; just being human, allowing my authentic self allows connection through tenderness; yet painting is different, there is a brush between me and the paper (usually… fingers not withstanding) the brush responds to my touch, becomes and extension of me, I express the thoughts and feelings thought the paint, the brush, I experience tenderness as I apply the paint. In these moments I can become lost in the process of creation, expression. My boundaries merge with the environment and I enter a regressive state. The parts of me that would seek attention and affirmation began the process, they drove my perfectionism. Until I assigned them new tasks and told them the criticism doesn’t help. Now instead of criticism there is encouragement to express, the critic has become a nurturing self which enables regression to state in which expression is freedom. Tenderness toward the 5 year old me who used to need the affirmation of being good at, is released into the work, and its disappointment to others is allowed and accepted with a shrug.

I am not here to meet your expectations, I never was, I am here to be me, and that is all.