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Today’s IGNITE Peer Mentor Nicole Edgecombe walks us through her process of  finding her true voice while immersing herself in the influence of artists she admires deeply.  Every Wednesday one of my beloved IGNITE Peer Mentors is sharing their creative wisdom and insight as a guest blogger.

IGNITE Peer Mentors are women who successfully completed my IGNITE Online Intensive and are eager to deepen their own skills and intentions as heart guided artists by mentoring a new circle of women in IGNITE. You can check out past Peer Mentor posts by CLICKING HERE.

Lately I’ve been thinking about finding my own voice in my paintings. This has been an excruciating exercise requiring extreme honesty and willingness to dig deep- a promise to excavate; to discover what my work is about. I knew from the outset some things would have to be sacrificed while others would have to be embraced. Through this process, many questions. I was curious about how my life as a psychologist is expressed through my paintings? Where do the two worlds merge? How does my therapeutic practice inform my art practice? My imagery? 

As I often do when I’m working through an idea or trying to find answers I began to research. I steeped myself in artist stories, much like I steep myself in the stories of my clients. I love stories! I read artist statements and watched countless interviews. I read articles all about artists’ relationships to their work. I was amazed! Artists have really in depth relationships to their work and understand their process so intricately. Honestly, some of the concepts discussed flew right over my head. Others connected right to my heart. For instance, how do artists relate to incorporating the ideas of other artists into their work. What does it mean to be original? What’s the line between inspiration and “pilfering”? How do you borrow ideas and use them to inform your style without blatantly stealing? 

I also wanted to understand what it was about other artists’ work that I liked? Why do I respond to Hines’ use of light and colour? Why am I intrigued by secret worlds he creates using lines? Why do I love the apparent abandon in mark making of Amadea Bailey and Basquiat? What is it about the transparency of encaustic paintings that draws me in? 

As I explored and delved deeply I sought to take all I was learning back to the canvas. I pushed myself to learn to understand to move beyond my comfort zone into previously uncharted territory- at least for me. I put away my familiar and well-loved acrylics breaking out the oils I had put away years ago. I retrieved a long forgotten, never finished painting.

starting

Could I paint the way I love, making wild loose marks and waiting for the imagery to emerge?

I began slowly, focused at first simply on covering what had been there previously. I allowed my mind to flit between the many stories and images I had explored during my intense period of investigation. I attempted to achieve effects of other artists and was humbled many times by how impossible it was to paint like them for me – Ahhh! Now I was getting closer- I can’t paint like them.

I’m not them.

I kept going but this time not really trying to paint like the various artists but seeing if the things I loved about their style could naturally organically find a home in mine- I scribbled, etched, dripped and layered the paint on thickly.

thick

Stepped back. I found my rhythm.

I found what I enjoyed, what felt natural.

I saw the relationship between psychology and my art. The layers, the depth of the process, the quick first impressions that morphed and changed as the relationship became more intimate.

And I fell in love.

love

In love with my paintings that are invitations to come closer to discover things that have always been there.

They are not always pretty. Sometimes they are chaotic.

Some are a brief relationship where others stay engaged for months or even years.

Final Image

This painting is not done.

We are definitely still engaged, but already it means so much to me by leading me home to myself.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.20.17 PMToday’s Guest Post was written by Nicole Edgecombe, Peer Mentor for IGNITE 2016.  Here is a little about Nicole…

St. Lucian artist Nicole Edgecombe describes herself as an artist healer. This largely self- taught visual artist is also a clinical psychologist whose personal journey with art started during recovery from illness. She now explores the relationship between art and healing both in her clinical practice and through her paintings. As an intuitive painter, Nicole works primarily in acrylics with recent ventures into mixed media art. She believes that spirit communicates with us through art that we allow to emerge naturally from within; and that in these communications we learn critical information for our own physical and emotional healing. This belief fuels her desire to share intuitive painting with others through workshops and demonstrations.

Nicole resides in Castries, St.Lucia and can be found online HERE.

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