By Eve-Marie Elkin
About 20 years ago, I stepped into Michele Cassou’s painting space for the first time. That experience touched an early childhood place inside that I had not known was still there; a place left untouched by life circumstances: growing up, moving to a new country, marriage, children. This process touched the raw, innate impulse to express and create. This was supported by the colorful display of paints with the invitation to play.
I remember the thrill of excitement mixed with anxiety while standing in front of the blank paper. I was allowed to feel it all and I had the permission to do whatever I wanted — whether it was to paint a dot, a scribble, a line or an image, any image. There were no mistakes! The space was safe, held by the basic principle of respect towards oneself and others: no erasing or covering up a “mistake” and no commenting on others’ paintings.
The permission and freedom to move the brush and play that first weekend gave me the courage to listen to my intuition. It’s that connection to my intuition that has moved my life since then.
Painting from the Inside Out is a process that’s based on Point Zero Painting coined by Michele Cassou. For me, Painting from the Inside Out is a way of life. Paints are used as a tool for expression and exploration. Colors speak to our most primal senses- before words – and allow us to move and listen without having to either control or understand or do it right. This process wakes us up to ourselves; our inherent creative life force that is in continuous movement.
We ask questions that support this movement; questions that wake us up from our habitual modes of behaving and relating. Questions that not only apply to the painting process but to life itself. Here are three questions to ask yourself as you attempt to connect with your internal creative guide:
What would you paint (or say or do) if there were no mistakes? If there was no right or wrong?
What would you paint (or say or do) if you didn’t have to worry how it looked?
What would you paint (or say or do) if you could be free and play?
These are questions for you as a painter and they are also questions for you as you live your life. And these questions are only the beginning — there are many more questions you can ask yourself to remove barriers to your genius and unleash your creative spirit.
This painting process is your practice field. A space is provided where you can get to know yourself and explore who you really are, beyond who you and others may think.
To learn more about Eve-Marie Elkin’s philosophy on bringing free expression to the creative process, check out her course offerings at the Open Center.