Painting has been instrumental in my healing journey, and i have seen it deeply impact and support others, too. Last time i wrote, i shared an intuitive painting how to video which shows the basic steps of the process i use and teach (find it on Today, i want to share a story of how painting heals.

i began the painting above as a demonstration piece at the Horse heART retreat in June. i was excited to continue painting it in the studio and painted a little each day. After several days i became aware of some discomfort in my body. i was not happy with the background, the sky, the grasses…and i made change after change trying to find what was causing my dis-ease.

In a final act of desperation i virtually eliminated everything i had done in the sky, covering over layers of details, hoping to find a feeling of ease and peace. But to no avail. The dis-ease remained. i was so frustrated that i was considering burning the painting. i have painted over paintings before…but never have i felt moved to set one ablaze!

But before getting the matches and kindling, i asked Jeff for his opinion…should i burn it?

Patiently and lovingly, with his keen artist’s eye, he gently pointed to an area i had not looked at. “What if you moved this line to here, and took this line to here?” He suggested.

So, before stoking the fire, i tried his ideas.

i stood back and looked at the result and…

i felt at ease.

What had jeff suggested?

That i look at the subject rather than everything around it. With a few minor shifts in the contour of the horse, a dramatic change happened and all that was out of balance was resolved. The “trouble” was never with the background at all.

This got me reflecting on life. How often do we focus our precious creative energy and attention on the outer conditions we want to change rather than looking at the center of it all, ourselves? We are the source of and key to it all. By looking outside, we are distracted from seeing what is at the core, and commit ourselves to a painstaking pattern of surface shifts absent deep healing and transformation.

Learn about the Transformational Retreats i offer combining full-body nature experiences and healing art.