August / September 2011
& Into The Light
& Into The Light
Artists are healers and artists are, in turn, healed by the act of making their art in whatever form that takes. As healers, we take what’s out there in our crazy world, and form it into a statement. The statements are often unpleasant. We are commentators for the world around us. I suppose it’s a piece of our karmic task. Haven’t we learned tremendous amounts by the art that creatives have left behind in each society?
My own artistic statements tend to be more of a personal rather than political nature. If I didn’t cough them up and out onto the canvas I would become sick. That’s just the way of it. I can only go so long before I am so filled up with emotion that I need to spit it out. I witness this in my students as well. The sense of relief in the air is tangible after they have spent a day painting. At the end of a painting session, provided I have been able to stay at my craft for as long as I need, I am sated, complete, satisfied. Then I go for the next period of time and need another release. When I walk into the studio and get a whiff of the fumes I am elated, relieved, I am home, at least for the next few hours. I’m able to close off the left side of the brain so that I can relax into the right brain, the receptive, so that I can receive what needs to be captured in paint.
The sensual familiar feel of buttery paint to surface delights me. It’s what I know. I’ve been making that gesture since I was 11 years old. A new tube of paint, a blank canvas, primed and sanded down, ready to go, these things can make my mouth water as much as a good bar of dark chocolate. Add to that a new paintbrush that I have not yet mutilated by years of scrubbing excitedly over a dense surface and I’m in paradise. The colors, my goddess the colors alone – how could they not make anyone happy? I am greedy for color. I have the freedom, the right to select any color I choose and place it where I like—choose. I observe when I cannot get enough of a certain color and apply it as liberally as I like. I have gone through decades of using one color predominantly and for no reason that I can understand I am suddenly wanting to move into a different color. In my early years my colors were darker and more subdued. In recent years I have selected increasingly lighter as well as more intense color. My subject matter has also continued to change.
I am always interested in the essence of any particular person, situation, landscape or even conversation. A “bottom line” person you might say. And of course the animal kingdom. I did a life size [person-sized] series of butterflies! I also enjoy painting “on site and have done is in many sacred places throughout Mexico, Bali, and Cornwall, England. In fact, that is how I really come to know a person or place—by experiencing it through my painting.
A connection to Mother Earth fuels my being & inspires imagery. My relationship to others also teaches me to keep my heart open to all I come in contact with. These connections and relationships are a catalyst for much of my artwork.
For the 15 years that I was doing portraits, it was inevitable that anyone important in my life became a painting! My interest changes more frequently as of the past 5 years, and has included portraits, landscapes, a sensual “intimacy” series, and more fantasy-oriented images out of my head, revolving around the above mentioned themes.
Feeling my way as a psychic has been directly linked to my painting, not only in the illustrations of what I see when I am connecting to Spirit, but in the fact that I feel myself in the same trance or semi trance states in both activities. Connecting with the core of my being, higher self, Spirit Guides, Source itself makes me more peaceful and I am able to access whatever it is I may need to visit in order to bring forth my creations. For example, if I want to evoke a particular mood in a piece I need to be able to clear my mind, (and meditation is most helpful for this), and transport myself to that particular scenario or one of a similar nature. My connection to Source, coupled with my years of study in traditional artistic techniques, help me to be able to transmit the power of emotion that is important to me in my paintings.
Painting is my medicine. I had not thought of it in those specific terms until I was on Vision Quest in the woods of New Hampshire under the supervision of Mary Thunder. She is a native American peace elder I studied with for some years. In my twenties, thirties and forties I tended to work out in very literal pictorials events and relationships occurring in my life. I painted out my pain and my yearnings with no intention of showing them to anyone, I simply needed the release. The statements are not always pleasant.
SPIRIT ESSENCE PORTRAITS
I wanted to combine my work as a psychic with my painting in a very direct way. I love to travel and decided to offer to some of my special new age store accounts that purchased my Creatrix items, sessions where I would tune in psychically to someone and then create a narrative watercolor of what I see when I tune in, either with my clairvoyance or by my other ways of sensing. I also receive by hearing and knowing.
I love these sessions because I enjoy not only the travel, since when I am home I am in the studio alone all day, but also the intimate one on one time with new people. I love helping and I am fascinated by what are common themes for folks (mostly women come for these). I am touched by the fact that what most people want to discover is how they can help others and make a difference in our world. The question I am most often confronted with is “What am I here to do?”
It seems that most of us have an urge to create and/or to leave a piece of ourselves behind, to make our mark. I love participating in the process of others doing so, either by helping with their creative process in teaching my art-making workshops or by sharing what I see in my readings. I have hope for the future because it feels to me as if people are waking up in exponentially growing numbers. Certainly in my own journey I continue to open to growth and change. As for me, that’s all there is.
Melissa will be at Leapin' Lizards in Freeport, ME, September 26th and 27th 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days creating Spirit Essence Portraits and on September 26th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM facilitating "Painting Outside The Lines."
Melissa Harris, artist and psychic and the owner of Creatrix, a publishing company features her art on cards, prints and other items. Her images have been used on calendars, book covers, magazines, CD covers and elsewhere and her original paintings appear in collections world-wide. She travels throughout, doing her Spirit Essence Portraits combining her painting with a reading for the client, as well as remotely,and teaching her “Painting Outside the Lines” art-making workshops, a unique combination of spirituality and technique. She lives on 9 acres in the Catskill mountains with her dream studio, gardens and 4 cats. For more on Melissa, including what inspires her visit www.melissaharris.com