First my inner critics piped up, saying, “Who do you think you are, using Holy Water to paint with? You know other people will criticize you for doing this, right? This is a terrible idea. People will hate you for doing this.”
I remembered from the Artist’s Way that I could try having a dialogue with my inner critics, so I gave that a try.
It took all my inner strength to quell those inner critics enough to listen to the part of my soul which told me this was a really cool idea, and reminded me why I felt inspired to do it in the first place. I told my inner critics, “It would be so wonderful to have a piece of sacred art that actually USED Holy Water as an INGREDIENT. It would make the piece of art itself a sacred, blessed piece of art. What’s wrong with that?”
Of course my inner critics had an instant reply all ready: “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that! Holy water is sacred. And you’re going to mix it with your sloppy paint and brushes? How dare you? That’s not what you’re supposed to do with Holy Water!”
I answered back: “People sprinkle Holy Water on ANYTHING. It is meant to be used as a blessing. As long as I use it respectfully, and knowingly, acknowledging it’s sacredness as I paint, it will add a special meaning to what I’m doing.”
My inner critic at this point starts to soften up, but doesn’t give up yet. It says, “Okay, then – but what do you plan to paint using this special Holy Water? You’d better not paint anything stupid.”
I discuss back and forth with my inner critics about what the best choice of subject matter would be, at least to start with, to get myself confident with it. Through consultation with my inner critics, I realized illustrating Bible verses would be a great idea. That made my inner critic satisfied, and even brought my inner critic to a silencing point. WHEW!!! Sometimes those inner critic dialogues can be brutal, but if you hang on and negotiate with them, they really can end up being a good way to gain confidence in what you’re doing. If you can beat your inner critic dialog, you’re prepared for outer critics that might come up to attack you.
I appeased my strict inner critic even more by purchasing a Holy Water font to use as my vial to hold the water as I painted, dipping my brush into the font to make the whole act of painting a sacred experience. I even said a prayer before every painting session, to bring myself to a spiritual place of sanctity.
Regarding synchronicity, I have actually always hated painting with watercolors in the past, and as I grew older, I realized WHY I hated painting with watercolors… It’s because I didn’t feel in complete control when I painted with watercolors. When you paint with watercolors, you really have to let go. Watercolor paint can be manipulated to a certain extent, but in the end, the water will stain the paper at it’s own speed. I’ve learned to appreciate to accept and admire the synchronistic aspect of watercolor painting. It’s like life – you can only control so much, and at some point you have to let go and allow “The Great Creator” to work it’s magic. So with my Holy Watercolor paintings, I decided to have the background painting be 100% synchronistic by using mostly Holy Water, mixed with a little paint, and letting it drip all over the place, allowing the background to be one big abstract, drippy, beautiful mess. The control happens when it is time to paint the lettering overtop, and even then I allow Spirit to guide me as far as adding any swooping embellishments or adding the stamp of the cross somewhere.
I’m looking forward to doing more with my Holy Watercolors now, thinking of stemming on to painting some of my favorite Saints and angelic images. The journey has just begun!
I’ve been collaborating with Wenona Morning Star Gardner lately, and my painting story was highlighted in her wonderful Google + Hangout this week. Check out her recording to view other Artist’s Way testimonies this week.