Reason to Paint: Unspeakable, Unnamable, Indescribable


"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint."

Edward Hopper


What is unspeakable? What cannot be spoken? I love the art quotable above. It resonates so much. In fact, my entree into self-expression through painting came because I did not have words for my experience.

Strange for a writer with a lifelong love of words and the author of about a dozen books. Still, so many times in life we come up against experiences that just don't make sense. We can find no words.

In many ways turning to painting to express what was unspeakable, unnamable, and indescribable in any clear manner has saved me.

Edward Hopper Art Quote Art Inspiration

The Art of Recreation: Presence and Paint

Artistic expression has allowed me to enter into the field of recreation. Once there, I seek first to be present to whatever is alive in me. Then and only then do I attempt to bring it to life in some form. Sometimes I seek to further develop and share the beauty or to quickly bring forth that which would destroy me and thereby return to balance and wholeness.

Either way, there is value in such expression. There is value for the one who creates and for the one who bears witness to the creation. I don't believe art has to adhere to the standard definition of beauty. In fact, some of my favorite pieces in art history offer interpretations of inner or outer landscapes. Many of these depictions are less than ideal, Munch's The Scream, for example.

From Kandinsky's lyrical abstracts to van Gogh's post-impressionist interpretations of a world alive, paintings offer fresh interpretations of what is difficult to capture with words alone.

While anyone who knows me well knows how much I love my words, without painting I would be lost. Interestingly, my recent painting, The Echo of Unspoken Sentiment (above) was created from contrasting experiences of frustration.

The first experience was with people in my life in one way or another who refuse to voice their feelings but whose truth I feel (because I am ridiculously empathic). The opposite feeling was one of frustration and sadness at not being able to voice my experience of life and beauty in a way that feels adequate.

I have for years felt that because I had not found the words to express this beauty, all was lost. I know, how melodramatic and presumptuous of me. :) Blame it on my artist heart.

So much truly is unspeakable.

So painting in this case was a remedy that helped me to articulate all that was percolating inside. I allowed myself the freedom to use huge piles of paint and see what emerged. In this way, I connected to my essential story. Once you do that, you can decide from the highest place what story you have lived and told. You will see the story you had not yet seen. Perhaps you will come to know if you'd like to change the story and if so how!

As always, a truth came forward.

I could see right away, written in the paint, the essential story of life. There is an echo from the energetic imprint of all we think and feel. And the longer we allow it linger unacknowledged and unexpressed the more damage it can do. On the flip side, I could also see my experience of life's beauty emanating forth from my heart and soul. I was willing to be willing to allow it to change me

All of this from a painting! Beliefs were clarified. What was unspeakable was spoken in paint. An essential truth was touched. I was changed and given the opportunity to share something of that transformation with you, the viewer.

Paintings Born from Moments When I Could Not Find the Words and Found My Way in Paint

Connect to Your Essential Story of Life

Contact me if you see something that speaks to you and your essential story of life that you would like to purchase. I'm happy to send a direct invoice if you prefer to purchase in that way. I am also actively seeking opportunities to show finished pieces in the series displayed on my website, so let me know if you have a venue where I can share Spirited Life or Soul of Place paintings and give a talk!

An Invitation to the Dance of Your Life

What seems unspeakable or unnamable right now?

Where you can't seem to find the words, take time to sit still for a few moments, then turn to creative expression. Allow art to fill in the details of your essential story, whether a painting or another artwork you create for yourself or one you connect to from an artist whose work helps you feel more connected with the life that stirs within you.

Let me know how that works for you in the comments below!

Before I leave you with wishes for a beautiful month ahead, I want to invite you to check out the life courses and online journeys I offer in the Life Path Online Learning Center. It is such a joy to share these journeys for the soul from the soul. Right now, you'll find three opportunities for connecting in a deeper way:

  • the 33-day "Birds of a Feather" journey, which introduces 33 qualities for thriving in your life and life's work, particularly in the years of 2019-2022
  • the 12-day "True Identity" life course for releasing 12 lies about identity and embracing your true nature (also includes photographs and some of my art!)
  • "Credo," which walks you through questions to write a passion statement to guide you in your life and life's work

See you next month!

Dawn Signature

Dawn Richerson
Spirited Life and Soul of Place Paintings

to Connect to Your Essential Story of Life

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