Did you ever have such an astounding experience that it potentially changed the course of your life?
Backpacking in the stunning wilderness of Mount Robson Park this past summer brought me a number of realizations.
One, I am used to being bombarded by demands and distractions. I had so much time to just “be” that it was a total revelation! And a really odd feeling. Disconcerting at first, and later, luxurious and healing.
Because I was backpacking, I didn’t want to carry any extra weight so I brought nothing to “entertain” myself except a very small blank Moleskine to double as a sketchbook and journal, which I hardly used. Mostly I soaked up the sun, and the mountains, the scents of glacier water and conifers, and the sounds of forest birds and buzzing insects. I looked for mountain goats, counted my blessings, meditated and contemplated.
Robson Valley © C. “KEENA” Friedrichsmeier
Photograph by KEENA or Steve Payne
It was both rejuvenating and clarifying. The clarity I got when not surrounded by the distractions of daily life was astounding. And a bit scary.
The second realization was that I hadn’t REALLY been listening to my wild soul. Partly because it’s so easy to drown out that “still, small voice within,” and partly because it was so scary.
“…I hadn’t REALLY been listening to my wild soul.”
What was so scary?
As I get older, capturing a likeness just doesn’t do it anymore. With each painting I long to capture the essence and the feelings of the experience. The more I try to capture essence and feeling, the more abstraction appears in my work.
And it scares me!
Mist Glacier, Mount Robson.
KEENA – Robson 2. Acrylic on paper. 12x9 in.
(c) C. “KEENA” Friedrichsmeier
Because it’s so compelling. And I have absolutely no idea where it will lead.
When painting a representation of a landscape, flower, person, etc., you have an idea of what it *should* look like when you are done. But when you work abstractly – at least so far for me! – I have no idea what it will look like when I am done. It’s an intuitive discovery PROCESS. And I am really enjoying that part of it – it’s so different to my normal way of working.
The other thing that’s scary is the whole “what will people think?!” thing. Those who know my art so far have an image of what it *should* look like… And abstract art is not it. And it seems like not many are so fond of it. So I feel like I am out on a ledge with nothing to keep me safe.
Have you experienced this?
How did you deal with it?
I would love to hear your stories of courage, fear and possibly regret in the comments below.
Please share! I want to do a series of interviews or have guest blogs on the subject, so if you’re interested, please connect with me after you leave your comment below!
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