Painting and emotions

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“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody””s power and is not easy.” -Aristotle

In yoga, we were discussing yukti, Adaptive Intelligence, in which you are able to step outside yourself, access the situation, and respond appropriately. This quote captures that. It sounds like it should be such a simple concept but in reality, unless I are self-reflective enough, I may not even know I am angry until some one sparks it.

Anger is one of the 9 sub optimal rasas (emotions) in yoga. The sutras suggest a fast from each emotion and delineate how to achieve a fast. A fast from anger is mainly recognizing your anger and trying to decipher the truth behind it. I try to do this in the moment, but though I am “fasting from it” it is difficult for me to just think it away. And so I try to use it to be beneficial. I have been working on throwing my anger out onto my canvas. To explore that raw emotion through color and form. It does not always come out looking great. But that is not the point. I throw on some metal music and live in the anger.

Recognizing it

Exploring it


And doing my best to leave it on my canvas at the end of the day. Anger is hard to let go of. Especially when you have felt it for a long time. It can be a crutch, a large part of the self that to let it go is scary.

But art can be such an amazing way to release it and replace it. That is what I am trying to do…not just with anger, but with emotions in general. I want to throw my emotions onto the canvas instead of at somebody. I want to explore them, see exactly how they feel and why  I feel that way. Emotions are part of being human. And I feel them intently. But now, instead of just feeling them, I want to explore them. Connie at Dirty-Footprints Studio talks about being fearless…this is my attempt to do so. Facing my emotions head on and putting them down on a canvas. Expressing them visually. In a way, it gives the emotions more power. You know how Hermaine in Harry Potter says that to fear the name of something is to give it more power than necessary (okay, so maybe that is not exactly what she says, but you know the part I am talking about). That is how I feel about emotions. It is quite easy for me to become consumed by my emotions. All parts of my brain but the limbic area in the front lobe turn off and I am pure emotion. And for the longest time I succumbed to them. Letting them exhaust me, neglecting my art. But I find that even if I have no energy, and I do just a little bit of art, the emotion that is draining me becomes confined to the canvas. It”s energy now lives there instead of in me. And it is such a relief. Since I have started painting my emotions, I have had more energy and more stability.


That is what I crave, and that is one of the many benefits I hope to gain from being fearless and painting my emotions. They can live in the canvas. So that I can practice yukti, Adaptive Intelligence. So the person I am engaged with gets the emotions and reactions they deserve. Not the residual crap that was created by someone/thing else. So that I can “be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody”s power and is not easy.” -Aristotle

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