The intensity and determination of yellow's last hurrah across the prairie is achingly beautiful—if you've been out there lately, you know what I mean. It reminds me that the world we can grasp with our ordinary senses is finite. But beneath and beyond that material world lies a continuum of patterns and rhythms more impressive than our perceived reality.
Connecting to rhythms and patterns that are within our reach, but beyond our usual senses is commonplace for most living beings. But our conscious human minds bend us to believe we're separate and apart from each other and everything else. We've become a slack bunch. We need connection, and we need it now more than ever.
Like many creatives, I have a tendency to overthink. Overanalysis and self-criticism are not helpful when it comes to reaching beyond our usual senses to connect—the opposite is true.
One of the strengths as a painter I've worked hard to achieve is the ability to silence the stream of distractions and self-criticism to see what brush and paint will do. Exploring wild places by myself is another way I'm able to tune in. On those kinds of unfixed adventures, I encounter patterns, forms, and thoughts that are truer, deeper, and richer. You may spot them (or maybe not, and that's okay) in my paintings. My body repeats familiar gestures and movements that create marks, over and over. Shapes, forms, and patterns appear, disappear, and then recur. Some make sense to me. Others, not so much. I'm kind of hooked on how the world communicates with me when I'm receptive. So I keep going.
Why does it matter? All of us have the ability to catch glimpses of a picture that is greater than our understanding. Actively working to get a better view of that picture is a lifetime's work. It never looks the same twice. Not to me and not to you, because life experience curates an individual's view. Each of us sees a tiny piece of the whole—an abridged version. Together, our diverse vantage points can help us make sense of rhythms and patterns to illuminate what no single individual ever sees—the big picture.
More of that, please.
What do you do to help yourself reach beyond your usual senses? I'd love to know—please share!
See details of the above paintings, Flying Gold, and Moves Like This
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. Her abstract landscape paintings cultivate connection to the lands she explores.
©2021 Michelle Louis All rights reserved. Content and images are property of the artist.