This week’s TRIBE Tuesday features the wonderful work and story of Yvette Lyons.
I had the pleasure of meeting Yvette in my most recent Portland workshop. Yvette has also taken my Bloom True E-Course two times. Her positive energy and openness to being brave and trying new things is contagious. I hope you enjoy her story!
My story is a story of learning to let go, developing self trust, moving through the struggle and discovering my creative spirit.
I know I came into this world as an artist.
All I wanted to do in middle school was paint. I was accepted into the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan. At 19 I moved to California from New York City, and although I took some painting courses in a community college, I began to veer off into other directions. My painting went underground.
I started working, teaching aerobic classes, working in the advertising industry in a clerical capacity. But no matter what I did, my art and love for painting would rear its creative head. Eventually I was hired as a makeup artist. I painted faces for 10 years.
My canvas was the human face.
After that career had come to a dead end, I went back to school for a degree in psychology, and even here, my path took me back to the art and into field art therapy. For the past 20 years, I have been using art for healing and personal growth. Yet, there has always been the flicker of light in my heart to return to my painting. I would always say to my good friend, Rita as I watched her paint through the years, “I HAVE TO GET BACK TO MY PAINTING”. She would assure me, “YOU WILL.”
I wanted to return to it, my heart was there, but I allowed my anxiety and other life distractions get in the way. Then I started a yoga teacher training this past year. I think through the deep commitment to meditation and yoga, something was ignited inside me. I began to paint ~~ I mostly painted yoga poses.
Once my art supplies were out and my easel was set up, I became passionate about painting. Painted, day and night. Paintings began to pour out of me. I HAD TO CREATE! I did not want to do anything else. I love to be messy with paint. I love having my hands covered in paint.
I feel so alive, yet so centered when I am painting, I didn’t want to do anything else.
As ‘right-timing’ would have it, I found Flora through one of her paintings which I came across on the web.
I was instantly captivated by her technique. I felt on a deep level that the process she was teaching resonated with me and would help me to move through my blocks and really allow my creative energy to flow. Flora’s painting technique are totally aligned with who I am, how I relate to the world and how I approach everything I do.
I love to feel free and loose. I love to be in the mystery of myself learning about me on deep levels. In the past, I found myself looking for the “right way” to paint… I searched for the correct technique or formula. I did not trust myself. But as Flora has said, “THERE IS NO FORMULA!”
Another thing I would do is to allow my inner critic to come down on me for not completing a painting all at once.
This self-criticism lead to discouragement and over working my paintings. I also always felt like I would waste so much paint if I had left over paint when I was finished. Now through Flora’s teaching, I am able to just stop a painting when I need to and maybe start another one. I can use left over paint to start new layers on a new painting. Most importantly to me, I do not have to worry about what I am going to paint. I feel such freedom from not having to know, when I begin a painting, what I am going to paint.
I don’t have to have a plan or a method. I can just paint, let go, trust my process and see what emerges.
Yes, I struggle, but in the past when I felt stuck in a painting or struggled with not liking where it was going, I would abandon the painting permanently, or gesso over it. Today, I allow myself to feel stuck and maybe take a break, start a new canvas, change the music to get a new perspective. Then return to my painting with fresh eyes and flowing energy.
Flora’s process has helped me free up my art and feel alive while painting.
While at Flora’s level 2 course in Portland, I was painting and I was feeling stuck.
I was overly connected to an image that was not going anywhere. I was afraid to make a move out of fear that I would mess up the painting. Flora was strolling by and stopped to talk. She said just the thing I needed to hear at that moment, and these words still ring in my mind when I am painting at home.
She said, “YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF THE MARKS. IF DON’T LIKE SOMETHING, MAKE MORE MARKS. IF YOU COVER SOMETHING YOU LIKE … MAKE THE MARKS AGAIN. YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF THE MARKS YOU MAKE ON YOUR CANVAS. “ These words were so helpful for me and my painting process.
There is no need to worry or fear, just keep moving through the painting making more marks, allowing the paint and the colors to flow through me as my painting evolve. As I allow my images to emerge, the mystery of me unfolds.
My letting go experience …
During Flora’s level 2 training in Portland she did an exercise where we traveled around the room making marks on each other’s paintings. The next morning she asked each of us to choose one of our 2 newly started canvases, and surrender it over to her. She then proceeded to mix up the canvases and give them out randomly to other people. This was such a huge lesson for me in letting go and not being attached. I received a canvas from another artist in the room.
This canvas felt like a stranger to me. We had to become acquainted.
I had to find my way into the mystery of this painting that someone else had started. So, I began to paint. I had no agenda. I had no direction or attachment to this painting. This was truly a lesson in self trust and to just go with the impulses of the moment.
Earlier that same morning we chose Goddess cards, I pulled Hina, the Goddess of Creativity after Destruction. As I painted on this unfamiliar painting, I could see through the movement of marks her image begin to emerge. This powerful, beautiful archetype was making herself known to me to teach me that even after totally destruction and devastation, creativity is possible, and not just possible, but necessary. She is a beautiful image to me and she seemed to appear on my canvas as I watched her almost magically create herself before my eyes.
I was the witness of my process of growth through letting go and unfolding in the moment.
My self trust experience …
It was early the next morning in Flora’s studio for a yoga class. As I went through the yoga poses, I looked to my left and there was one of my paintings in its early stages. I think there were only two layers on the canvas at this time. As I looked over, I saw a face peering at me from behind some whimsical drips. It clearly was a face. Once we started painting that morning, I did not want to get too stuck on that face, but I also wanted to preserve it. So, I took some black paint, and made a large circle around it. I then proceeded to make more marks and layers to that painting.
Soon it was time for lunch. At a nearby restaurant, there were some lovely white lilies on a tabletop. I took a photo with my phone camera, as they were so beautiful and I simply wanted them to add to my sketchbook. Back at the studio, (looking back now), I could see that I was totally in the moment absorbing the inferences around me. I painted and dripped and painted some more. Images from around me began to appear in my painting. Flora’s lovely Balinese umbrella, the lilies from lunch and that face, the same one that appeared to me that morning all began to materializing on their own.
I was the observer of this process. I was the vessel for these images to come through bringing forth feelings of curiosity, dreams of travel and the pleasure of being enveloped by all this beauty and creativity of the moment.
Flora strolled by, and with her hand on her chin she said, it looks done. I would maybe add a tiny bit of black there to balance it out, but it look finished. With that, I added a splash of black and put her aside to dry.
My lesson on being bold ….
The last day of our level 2 training in Flora’s amazing studio in Portland, I spontaneously decided to start a new painting. Yes, I knew it was the last day, AND there were other festivities that were scheduled for the afternoon that day. But I boldly ventured into a new painting. I tried to start with all new colors that I usually don’t choose. I wrote words that helped me feel empowered on the bottom layers of this painting. Honestly, I didn’t like it at all. I was so uncomfortable with the new choices of colors and so I attempted to cover them over with more familiar and comfortable colors. But time was running out and I was feeling more and more stressed to produce something. Then I heard Flora’s voice from across the room say to the group, “REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FINISH YOUR PAINTINGS HERE.” With that, I took a deep breath and decided to stop. Clearly I was confused as to which way to go. But with no time left to paint. I let go and put this painting aside to rest for the time being. The workshop was over and I was not ready to leave. Once at home, after a few days, a huge box arrived with my paintings. I knew there was this unfinished painting in the box, which I feared would be a challenge. But ~ I thought to myself, I have all these new tools and perspectives from being in Portland with Flora, so I opened the box and pulled out the unfinished painting.
I centered myself, put on some of my favorite music and settled into the mystery.
I was anxious and excited to see what was going to emerge. With Flora’s voice in the back of my mind, I worked this painting little by little, “one small area at a time.” And finally here it was. All of the inspirations, festivities and experiences from my enchanting trip to Portland to paint with the other Bloom True Level Two amazing artists came out in this painting. I call it…
Thank you Flora and your wonderful team, Katie and Anya for making my trip and experience such a success.
Thank you for your experience, your guidance and your passion for helping people like me re-discover their unique creative spirit. I learned so much and my painting experience has changed dramatically. See you again for another adventure in your creative and beautiful studio in Portland.
Thank YOU, Yvette! It was such a pleasure to paint with you and witness your beautiful journey in my studio. I can only imagine how your paintings will continue to evolve. Keep up the wonderful work. You are such a dear!
For anyone wishing to join me in Portland for an in-person workshop, make sure you are all signed up to receive these announcements. I will be announcing two more workshops in the next week, and I would love to have you join me here!