“What is Process painting?”
Process painting is using paint as a tool for self-discovery. You aren’t told what or how to paint and are encouraged to feel your way into the painting. It’s about your process not about a finished product. Many people have compared it to an active meditation or therapy. Although this kind of deep interior work can feel therapeutic, it isn’t art therapy because there is no analyzing of what is created in a session. We do facilitate by asking you questions while you are at your painting. Our questions are only to uncover the knowledge already living inside you. You have all the answers.
“If we aren’t told what or how to paint and it’s not about the end product, why do it?”
Painting in this way drops us from our head space into the space of the heart and because we paint in silence, there is room for things to be deeply felt from the inside out. Discovering our true self is a process and painting like this is just one of many ways it can happen. Using creativity as a tool for self discovery can help us to access feelings and thoughts we have pushed down and kept hidden throughout our lives. Getting to this core allows for change to happen and real healing to take place. This work isn’t for everyone. If a painting you can take home and hang on your wall is the result you are looking for, there are plenty of classes and workshops out there where this can happen. We offer something different.
“What materials will we use?”
In our home studio and our on-site workshops we use tempera paint and white sheets of paper, just like in grade school. The reason for this is so we don’t become too attached to the finished product and it allows us more freedom to just dive into the page. Working with expensive materials can keep things feeling precious and we are less likely to paint without an outcome in mind. If you are painting with us from home and are using Skype or other on-line options, we would encourage you to set up your home studio in the same way. Tips on setting up your studio space can be found here.
“This sounds amazing… Can my child join us?”
We work with adults 18 or older mostly because some of the work that happens in the studio can be very private and sometimes graphic in nature. What naturally unfolds in our paintings isn’t always appropriate for children. We have also found that most children are operating in this way to begin with. It’s years of conditioning that cover over the magic of inner creativity and why it is the grownups who are so hungry to get it back.
“I have chronic pain and my sister has had breast cancer. Is this something we could do?”
YES. Working with chronic pain, disease, life’s transitions and loss is something this type of painting can help. As we work in this way, we are encouraged to paint what we are feeling in the moment and none of it is wrong or negative. Using paint to access these deeply painful situations is a way to bring the inside out with images and color and become curious about what is there. There is also a loving and nourishing community that is forming around the home studio, in our on-site workshops and even on-line. We know this stuff can be difficult and sometimes even showing up to paint can be too much, but we can meet you where you are in your process via Skype, email, our on-line community or a phone call. We encourage you to work as you can with what you have. Please visit our “Start Where You Are” section of this website for more information.
“I feel very drawn to this type of thing, but I am really scared to start. What if I don’t have any paintings inside me? I have no artistic talent.”
Feeling scared by the idea of painting for maybe the first time since grade school and feeling that we have nothing available inside us is natural and we all have felt it. The best thing about creating in this way, is that you don’t need any art experience whatsoever to start. We believe we are all creative beings and that just the act of starting is enough. Moving with color can be a magical experience all on it’s own. This is the art of learning to trust ourselves and remembering who we are. This is the art of learning patience and compassion for ourselves. We are all masters in this art, it just takes some time and care to uncover what has always been there.
“What sort of training do you have as facilitators? Are you art therapists?”
We have been painting in this way for almost 20 years both on our own, in community and with our teacher, Sarah Oblinger. Although we came across process painting from two very different places (Jenny just having graduated from art school and Stephanie with absolutely no art background) we were looking for the same thing: self-discovery. We have both been through hard times and difficult transitions using the painting process and talk therapy to help us through. It is this work and the difficult stuff that has informed us and made us the facilitators we are today. We continue to grow and walk our own path and teach from the place of “Here’s what has worked for me, and this is what I am learning”. We walk our own paths as you walk yours’ and are there for guidance and active listening. We create a safe space for this to occur and are not afraid to be there with you as it is happening. We are all about individual growth and honor the unique and quirky qualities that make us who we are. There are no requirements for how you show up when working with us…..just show up with the desire to know yourself and the rest will happen naturally. We are not art therapists. Please find out more about who we are and what we do on each of our bio pages: Stephanie Gray and Jenny Hahn.