Working With…

One of the basic principles of Intentional Creativity is that the leader is working on her own work while the participants are working on theirs.

This is essentially the opposite of the old notion of psychotherapy which went something like There are two of us in the room but only one of us has any junk!

One of the things I learned in leading my early workshops was that it is not as simple as one might suppose to talk and paint at the same time! Of course, silence has its hugely useful place but if one is demonstrating, some commentary is useful.

At the same time, my Color of Woman sisters and I are also listening and observing and adapting to what we hear and see as our own work unfolds. Just as we’re encouraging our participants to do.

Claim an intention and then let go of expectations and the tyranny of talent.

Experience. Learn. Right there in the room. Be surprised!

I believe. Help, thou, my unbelief. 

Yesterday was one of those fake it ’til you make it days!

My young friend was over for our weekly painting time, which usually includes a lot of rolling on the floor with the dogs and emptying of squirt bottles.

I started by asking for his help with a particular project.

Luther’s still having a bit of trouble adapting to our recent game of Furniture Yahtzee. And Luther loves the kid next door. So we began our conversation in what is now becoming known as the library. Luther hadn’t quite managed to make it in there yet.

I think the vibes are lots better, but Luther has remained skeptical.

One kid parked in a recliner chair changed all that in about 2 minutes flat and then everybody was, as is the norm, rolling on the floor and rubbing bellies.

Luther was brave. And a certain young man was pretty pleased with his contribution.

Then, it was time to paint.

My buddy was painting away, flames in the area of his canvas labeled anger.

Sometimes he and I do the same thing. Sometimes we don’t. Yesterday, to give him a bit of privacy, I was trying to do some selective glazing on Our Lady of Living Waters.

My first effort was, shall we say, less than entirely successful. As was the second and the third.

Every now and then, I made a comment about how it wasn’t working out just the way I wanted, but I could try again, while James Taylor kept us company in the background.

Then I showed him how I was experimenting on the edges to see what might work better.

He asked if I was angry.

Gulp! I replied that I was not. Or maybe just a little frustrated. Mainly, I was  curious about what would work.

The great thing about acrylic paint is that you can always paint over it!

And curiosity is well known amongst many of my gurus as the primary mindset for learning!

Eventually, the time came to finish for the day. He was planning a bit of touch up work for next time when the paint would be dry.

I had figured out what the next right thing would be for my glazing challenges.

Admittedly, it felt a bit vulnerable to gently share my struggles while not interrupting his journey.

And then, after petting all the beasties goodbye, his parting comment:

We learned! 

So be it. Please.

ps… Many of you prayed with me for a dear friend recovering from a heart attack. My work-in-progress painting prayed, too, offering a hand raised in blessing and lots of space for dots. Dip. Life. Life. Life. Life. Dip. Repeat… He’s doing great. Hallelujah!!!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach