“SELF PORTRAIT OF THE SOUL”
Featuring works by Shawna Morris
This show will hang in the gallery April 6 – 30, 2018
Join us for Art Walk April 6, 2018, 6pm – 9pm
Shawna Morris is an intuitive painter who considers her art a dance. She uses her sense of design, color, and composition to co-create with her inner voice.
In her own words below, she reveals how she goes about creating the imagery of each piece:
“The blank white canvas looms before me.
I approach it in a state of serenity, humility, and openness. I take a breath and as I exhale, I state my prayer and intention for remaining open to my creative Source.
I gravitate toward a color and feel an impulse to arc my arm across the canvas, weaving and circling with the sponge or dipped fingers. I am now in a dance. Responding and interacting to what I see before me, and at the same time to what I feel within.
The head and the heart learning to co-exist; taking turns leading and following. Each trusting and acquiescing to the other’s impulses and suggestions in a seamless and balanced choreography.
The impulses subside, and I can feel that it is time to wait. I move away from the canvas and toward my life as a mother, attempting to bring that grace and flow with me as I go. I move in and out of the canvas’ field for days and weeks, continuing and building upon this beautiful dance.
Eventually, an image reveals itself to me. This happens while I’m painting, but also while I’m doing other things, such as driving, cooking, or sleeping. This is the pivotal moment that defines “trusting the process” and letting go. I follow the lines and draw out the image that wants to show itself. I do this even if I don’t particularly “want” to paint that content. I am committed to this process and to letting go of my judgments and attachments.
As I continue to interact with what is emerging, I use my sense of design, color, and composition to co-create with my inner voice.
At some point, and often quite abruptly, we are done. The painting has been brought to fruition, and I know this because it has a distinct feeling that I experience in my solar plexus. I have no other way to describe this. I just know that the painting is done; I am complete.
I am an intuitive painter.”
Shawna writes stories for many her pieces. Below are stories for three of the pieces in this exhibition. We invite you to visit the gallery to read the stories of the other pieces in this collection.
Lay Yourself Down on the Rocks
Acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 36″
There is a song that I learned at a Song Circle in Costa Rica that has moved my soul and stirs me deeply. This is the imagery that the words evoke for me. I wish I could sing it for you. I sang it nearly the entire time that I painted this piece. Perhaps you can feel it …
Lay yourself down on the rocks now.
Let your body down in the river.
Listen for the drumming on the other side.
Lose yourself in the meantime.
Let your body be your guide.
Let the waters decide.
Lose yourself in the meantime.
Listen … Listen … Listen …
Half Asleep at the Base of the Mountain
Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 36″
This was created with a completely intuitive process. I never really knew what was happening, which was exhilarating and mysterious. Quite simply, all the movement and lines resembled mountains to me, and I saw half of a figure at the bottom. I continued to emphasize the lines and draw out the definitions.
Then the symbolism hit me: the mountain represent the journey toward spiritual awakening. Being half asleep there (as opposed to half awake) speaks to being, well, the opposite of awake. There’s a feeling of surrender and complacency, with a subtle call to action.
Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 30″
The process of birthing this piece was quite long. After many hours of connecting with this canvas through color and line, I decided it was time to sit down and have a heart to heart with it. I pulled up a chair and closed my eyes. I centered myself and began to pray, in a way. When I pray in my art studio, it is my way of connecting to my creative source and opening the channel to allow for flow. I call it prayer.
So, I prayed, and welcomed guidance about this painting. I asked it to show itself to me. What do you want to say? What desires to be seen? I promised I would honor the unfolding.
I opened my eyes and instantly saw this torso, holding the seed of eternity in her womb. I was stunned. I literally said out loud. “but I don’t want to paint that.” I then heard my inner voice remind me that I promised.