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Clarifying one's voice by means of artistic expression

What brought me here is a practically pathological desire to meet with other people, to understand myself, to see how they do this “thing called life”, to share memories, stories, portrayals, betrayals, fear, anger, happiness…. while being an introvert.

It’s been said often enough that I’m a pretty friendly and open person. So, it’s not something like being anti-social or a wallflower. But my nature is one of needing much time alone, lost in daydreams, thoughts, staring at a ceiling, recuperating from too-much-input and needing to re-assert within myself the essence of my core self. I’ve marveled at many a person’s ability to stay true to their cores, their hearts, even when they’ve been bombarded with arguments geared towards changing who-they-are.

Painting, or any kind of art making helps to clarify my voice. I’m often having to work through a couple of different pieces releasing “noise” from the daily life of living in order to find truly what it is my heart and essence would like to say. According to the Julie Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”, working through a sort of “noise” is pretty typical for artists.

But those are daily hurdles perhaps many, if not most, if not all artists leap over, under and through on their journeys into unknown worlds. More personally, it seems my most hardships revolve around getting the message to have any sort of composition. My goal is to have a final work be a melding and dance between my two brain hemispheres, to bring my senses into alignment and something personal in-so-that someone else may have a chance at relating to it as well.

My left brain is occupied with concepts of rules and regulations; grounds (what types of canvas, what types of supports, gessos), what type of layout do I want to start out with? A drawing? A random pour? And there must be a message. Messages can be lots of things, and they’re not demands upon the viewer, they are options, suggestions, whims, devoid of fanatical “musts” and “shoulds”.

The right brain is responsible for the magic, in my opinion. It brings play and strange color combinations into the dance of exploration.

Some paintings take years, some could take as little as an hour, depending upon scale, materials, environmental statuses. I haven’t yet reached the point of seeing a piece created after a lifetime, but I will hope to also have experienced that before my time as a painter in this life has ended.

More specifically in regards to hardships was our move to Germany. We had been in Seattle, WA and I had just discovered oil paints after a decade plus of watercolors and acrylics. Always having painted just for friends, but no, it is more that I created because it was like a heartbeat, or taking a breath, an automatic system of living… and giving them as gifts was a way to reduce the space taken up by paper and paints.

When I couldn’t even speak the language, and had two children who were also in need of support in our new country, even finding a turpentine for artists was practically impossible. Everything was different to what I had known. So I returned to acrylics. But yearned for the ease and grace of oils.

It was many years of trial and error (ongoing) to find materials appropriate to the art I wanted to create. And when sales came into the equation, it was with great joy that my art was received with such open arms and heartfelt acceptance. People were seeing and understanding what I wanted to convey, without words, and it became a most precious gift. Because I feel we can exchange on many levels, but that of *knowing*, a feeling in every cell within us, can sometimes be the most rewarding… as to me, it seems to involve our whole selves, on all levels, much higher than conscious thought. And to exchange at that level is what I feel will bring us even more together as a society, as humanity, as acceptance and love. And that’s what I want to experience most in the world and for the world of my children.

Jordana Rae Gassner


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