Welcome to The Intuitive Painting Place

The name of this art studio is now TiP Expressive Arts. Send email to Beverly@TipArts.com or visit website at http://www.TipArts.com. Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creativity as Teacher

Creativity in Motion
When creativity speaks to me, I listen. Sometimes. Occasionally. Well…not always. But often.

Creativity knows I get frustrated with her at times because she is not always easy to understand. During one of  our more challenging encounters,  Creativity and I had a lengthy discussion. Creativity explained to me that she is one of my greatest teachers (as is often the case with challenging relationships.) The following is what Creativity told me about the passionate connection we have through intuitive painting. 

Creativity Speaks!

I teach you patience. When you begin a new painting, you are eager to see the results. You often want to rush through the process so you can see what the outcome will be. I beckon you to slow down and bask in the unknown. I know it is not always easy for you to let go of your need to hurry up and be finished. Through the process of painting, I remind you that there is plenty of time and space to walk on a long and winding path with me, your creativity. Yes, it is a cliché and here it goes anyway – patience is a virtue. 

I teach you to let go of attachment. Painting something, liking it and then watching it change with a few uncertain globs of paint from a paint brush is a good way to practice letting go of attachment. Only from letting go of attachment can risks be taken and horizons broadened. Through the process of painting, I strengthen your ability to Let Go of what is, so you can embrace what can be.

I teach you to take risks. Don’t you just love it when  you think you are finished with a painting and then I say three little words that turn your stomach inside out? Mess It Up.” Sometimes you go along with me and other times you do not. By taking the risk of messing up your painting, you allow it to  become something new. Without fail, you also uncover gems that would otherwise remain in hiding. This reinforces the rewards that result from embracing change.

I teach you to have more courage. I know it can be daunting to stand before a blank canvas and have no idea what you will paint. Every time you pick up that paint brush and begin anew, you build up your courage muscle. Often, the most challenging moment is when you first begin. Pushing through the fear of the unknown and shifting into playful exploration is energizing. You will discover that you are capable of much more than you could ever imagine.

I teach you to listen. The more you paint, the louder my voice becomes. I will not let you down. You might not understand the direction I am taking you in and that is okay. The gold is in your heightened ability to listen to the voice of guidance (creativity!). And as you listen, I am also teaching you to trust your inner knowing.

I teach you to trust. I am on your side. I welcome your desire to connect with me, your creativity. No matter what your painting looks like, I enjoy spending time with you and together, we create a masterpiece. Ultimately, you are the one who deserves the credit because without your willingness to listen and trust the painting process, there would be no painting. Simply by showing up with your paintbrush and a palette of paints, you are trusting the process of painting will offer you something worthwhile.

I teach you to be uniquely you. So what if the horse you paint does not look like any other horse you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s your horse and it does not have to conform to a certain standard. Your paintings do not have to make sense, look pretty or reflect reality. On paper, you are able to branch out and express the real you, no matter what that might look like. As you become more comfortable being you, you relax and your world expands.

I teach you to let go of control and make messes. Birth is messy. Without embracing messiness, options are limited. While messiness is a mixed bag of pros and cons, it is a part of the creative process. And remember, messiness is temporary.

I teach you to play. Adult life takes people to very serious places. I give you a break from that part of life and pull you into a ‘process painting playpen’ where you can safely  play with color, shapes, images, glitter and whatever else your heart delights in. Don’t worry, that adult life will be  right there waiting for you when you walk away from your easel. You can have your serious adult life AND playful times if you are willing to give yourself permission to do so. In other words, I bring you balance.

I teach you to be free. I support you in being comfortable with yourSELF. No longer shackled by trying to please others or conform to a certain ways of being, I help you break away from a disempowering habit of comparing and contrasting yourself (and your paintings) to others. I help you build up your self-confidence as you step more fully out into the world. You feel freer to show your true colors and wear them proudly. The more you paint, the more opportunities you have to overcome the disempowering voice of the inner critic. You learn to make a choice that is in alignment with your heart’s desire (instead of caving into the inner critic) and this  awakening gives you new wings.  

I teach you to bask in Joy. When all is said and done, and you have pushed through the negative voices of the inner critic and you have traveled on a long and winding path with me AND you see the outcome that YOU’VE created, you will experience great joy in that moment. Be present, notice and give thanks.
As our conversation came to a close, I thanked Creativity for spelling out some of the  many virtues she is capable of bringing into my life. Creativity reminded me that intuitive painting is just one of many ways that we can connect with her and I agreed. However, I LOVE intuitive painting because it has the potential to touch on everything listed above during the process of creating a single painting. Yes, Creativity is a powerful teacher and a sneaky one too. She forgot to mention that the gateway into her teachings is usually through FUN and that’s one of the best ways to learn anything!
Here’s your next opportunity to play with intuitive painting at TIP.

Painting Class this Saturday!
December 1st from 1pm til 4pm. 
All supplies provided. $35
Be Free at TIP! Paint, Play and Sparkle….
and above all else,

Contact ME at Beverly@theintuitivepaintingplace.com to register.

Your easel and creativity look forward to connecting with YOU!!!!!!!!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Voice of Intuition versus The Voice of the Inner Critic

I inherited ugly wallpaper when I moved into my house eight years ago. Those in the know informed me that stripping wallpaper is not fun and that I might find some unwelcome surprises under the wallpaper. Best to paint over the wallpaper and leave well enough along. 

So, I did just that but never felt much love for the painted wallpaper. Still, every time I thought about stripping the wallpaper, I would hear “the voice” spring to life in my head. “Don’t do it. Probably a big mess under that wallpaper. It’s a much bigger job than you realize.” 

This week I decide the wallpaper must go. I visit Home Depot and consult with the expert sales associate who shows me the supplies I need and then an amazing thing happens. The Voice resurfaces. The nice guy at Home Depot ends his explanation of wallpaper removal by looking deep into my eyes before saying, “it’s going to be a big job. It’s a real pain to do this. You sure you want to do it?” 

For a moment, time stands still as I marvel at the cleverness of my inner critic who has impressively found a way to speak to me through a total stranger. My response is forthright. “Yes, I’m going to do it.” With a nod, the guy looks at me, shrugs his shoulders and says, “okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” 

And to the world I want to say….

Yes, it was a BIG job. 

Yes, I uncovered a big hole in the wall that I had to deal with.
Yes, it took me way more time and energy than I expected.


YES, I did it!

I tell you this story to share with you that the practice of intuitive painting has strengthened my ability to push through negative voices (AKA: inner critic, gremlin) that try to talk me out of doing the things I really want to do.

How does this work?
Often, while playing with intuitive painting, you will hear the voice of your intuition attempt to guide you in a certain direction with the paints or colors. At the same time, the inner critic will often try to convince you to resist the guidance of your intuition. If you allow the inner critic to win, you will most likely become bored or disengaged with your painting. However, when you push through the resistance that is created by the inner critic and paint in the way your intuition tells you to paint, you  are renewed with a sense of aliveness and excitement. 

We usually have no idea how much our inner critic is running the show, keeping us from doing the things we really want to do. The practice of Intuitive painting allows you to turn up the volume on the voice of your intuition while simultaneously turning down the volume of the inner critic in all areas of life, not just painting. 

Believe me, I know. I’ve got a garbage bag full of wallpaper scraps to prove it!

Happy Painting! 


After Thanksgiving Intuitive Painting Class

Cost: $35 for three hours of playful painting, includes all supplies

The Intuitive Painting Place (TIP)
400 Monroe Street, Clinton, Mississippi

Questions? Visit the FAQ page by clicking here
To Register, Contact Beverly .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gone Paintin'

Fishing with Dad
My former self, a woman in her early 20's, is immersed in a thick patch of what some would call dark nights of the soul. 

Reaching my breaking point, I get in my car and aimlessly start driving. For some unknown reason, desperation pushes me toward my father and his cabin.

The cabin is my Dad's home away from home and has been in my life since early childhood. It is here that I learned to thread a worm onto a hook, relish sunrises and listen deeply to the voices of nature. Just walking onto that familiar land soothes my soul and as I approach my dad, my stoicism crumbles. As I stand across from him, the dam breaks and uncontrolled words gush out of my mouth before I can stop them. They pack quite a punch as big tears roll down my face.

I am so unhappy. I hate my life. I hate myself. I hate being on this planet. I want to kill myself. I don't know what to do. I am at the end of my rope.

My dad looks at me, a bit dumbfounded. I am sure he did not intend to spend his carefree Saturday afternoon with a hysterical daughter. His brown eyes sink deeply into mine and after a minute or two of silence, his response is simple.

Let's Go Fishing.”

Now, I don't mind telling you, this makes me so mad that I can not give voice to all of the questions that start rolling around in my head. “Did you hear what I just said? I WANT TO KILL MYSELF!! Can you not see how much pain I am in? Do you think I am joking? What good is fishing going to do? I want you to help me!”

My unacknowledged pain swells as I watch him walk toward the storage room to get the battery for the fishing boat off of the battery charger. My last glimmer of hope fades as I see him place that heavy battery on the dolly to roll it toward the lake. All I know to do is go along with him. I pick up the bucket of worms and trail behind him.

I can't remember how long we stayed on the water or if we caught any fish that afternoon. I do remember that instead of insisting that I do it for myself, Dad put those squirmy worms on my hook that day. We floated around without talking as nature held us in her arms. When we came ashore, I got out of the boat, looked at him and said, “Thank you.” I knew he had given me all he knew how to give me and in that moment, it was enough.

Dad shared his time, presence and passion for fishing with me. He separated me from the height of my angst by moving me into a state of quiet being. As I started to walk toward my car, he said, “It will pass. Things will get better.” I didn't believe him at the time but I couldn't help but notice that I felt better than I did a few hours earlier, even though I didn't understand why.

Many times, I have revisited that experience in my life. It still comforts me to this day. Why did it work? Why did going fishing make me feel better? I think it is because my dad loved fishing more than anyone could say. It was a consistent joy for him during all of the years that he lived on this earth. I thought he was lucky to find something that could capture his spirit and hold it so tightly. And it thrilled him to share his love for fishing with others. With this sharing, joy expanded. As we sat in the boat on that lake, I could feel his love for fishing and his love for me. I guess that's what I needed the most. To feel love.

It was not until I stumbled upon the world of painting that I really understood how gratifying it is to discover your true passion and share it with others. To spread the joy. To make it bigger. To make it brighter. My hope is to follow in my father's footsteps with my own unique twist. My wish is to share my passion for painting with others. Whatever comes from that will be good, even if we don't quite understand why.

It was customary to hear my dad say, "I'm gone fishin'.''

Me? Well.....I guess I'll be saying, "I'm gone paintin'.''
and you're invited too.... click below to see possibilities...


Beverly Keaton Smith
(TIP) The Intuitive Painting Place
400 Monroe Street
Clinton, MS 39056

Photo taken by Barbara Keaton

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paint Brushes Galore and More!

Never dreamed I would experience a shooting spark of joy upon seeing a table full of cheap paint brushes. But, it happened today at Dirt Cheap in Pearl, Mississippi. I added to my joy by buying quite a few of these treasures for The Intuitive Painting Place.

Perhaps you thought we would be using those long, skinny, artsy looking paint brushes to paint with at The Intuitive Painting Place. Yes! You are correct. An abundance of those types of paint brushes are available for you...AND...there are many other things you can paint with besides a traditional paint brush.

Just to give you some examples....
  • All sizes of paint brushes
  • Sponges of all sizes
  • Plastic Spoons and forks (Hope they don't make you too hungry!)
  • Combs (uh huh... the kind you use on your hair.)
  • Straws (the perfect little circle! Or scraper!)
  • Tape (ball it up and dip it in paint or use it to create a frame around your painting.)
  • Rulers
  • Rags
  • Pencils

Here are some of my favorites that you will bring*
  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Hands
  • Finger Nails

*Only if you are willing to get a little messy! (Don't worry, soap works wonders!)

Ready to play?
We are going to have so much fun!

Opening soon!

The Intuitive Painting Place
400 Monroe Street
Clinton, Mississippi

Friday, August 24, 2012

Following The Paint - Intuitive Painting

First I choose colors that appeal to me in the moment

and then I put paint in front of me

and I play with the paint

until the painting starts to tell me what it wants to become

I continue to follow where the paint leads me

and remember that it does not matter what my painting looks like
as long as I feel alive and engaged while painting.

Intuitive Painting is a wonderful way to deepen your connection to your intuition and your creative potential. It is so freeing to release the need to produce a pretty picture and to simply allow the paint do become whatever it wants to become. If you are looking for freedom or a playground to play on, this is one of the most entertaining ways I know of to let loose and take a break from the challenges that life can bring.

Think you can't paint? I think you can!
Classes available soon at The Intuitive Painting Place in Clinton, Mississippi where you can step into abundance and paint freely. All supplies are provided for you. All you have to do is show up with a willingness to play.

Beverly Keaton Smith

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Birthing an Art Studio

When my landlord  handed me the key to the building I am renting for studio space, he kindly mentioned that I might want to change the locks. 

I agreed, wholeheartedly, but not necessarily for the reason that he expressed. His perspective was to keep former key holders out. (which is certainly valid and good.)

My perspective is that a new key symbolizes a new and exciting beginning. My sparkly, shiny, happy key will be a door opener for many people. Not just me.

The countdown is really beginning, y'all.

TIP (The Intuitive Painting Place) will soon be a reality. Butterflies are flying! (mostly in my stomach right now!)

My first step is to install awesome, BIG, easels all over the place! Yay!

Stay tuned for updates. 

Blessings to all!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Messy is Good?

beverykeatonsmithI open the freshly delivered box and expect to see bottles of glitter paint. Instead, bottles of glitter stare at me and laugh. 

"Not Funny!" I say, while taking the bottles out of the box. I shake each one to make sure that the tiny glitter pieces are not shimmering in invisible paint. A tapping sound takes away all hope. Obviously, I ordered the wrong thing. 

The innocent looking, multi-colored bottles collectively yell one word at me.

I respond by tucking the bottles into a dark closet, away from my sight. Maybe one day I will have a use for them but not any time soon. My home studio is messy enough. This glitter will send me over the top. I'm just not ready for it.

The bottles can only be ignored so long. I mean look at them. They are oozing with color and sparkle. At first they whisper to me, "Please let us out." After failed attempts at freedom, they cleverly entice me by inviting me to....


While painting, I pull out the white glitter bottle. The cap easily comes off and I remove the clear protector that keeps the glitter in place. I hear the glitter let out a sigh of relief as it finally makes a great escape, much like a genie escaping from a bottle at long last. Before the day is over, I open every bottle and pour some of it into my hands. From my hands, the glitter goes here, there and everywhere. And I'm telling you, it is messy. This glitter has a way of attaching itself to everything. At this point, it's even on my dog.

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point in my early years, I took the saying "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" very seriously. A clean, neat, orderly environment makes me feel great and I thrive in it. And, thanks to the practice of intuitive painting, I am learning to thrive in the midst of a mess too. Whatever stretches me in intuitive painting eventually impacts other parts of my life too. This is a big plus about the practice of intuitive painting. The learning and stretching go far beyond the canvas.

Recently, someone told me that she likes to paint but she does not like the mess, so she does not paint. I had to wonder where else in life she might be short changing herself for the sake of avoiding a mess. Now, that's a deep question if you think about it beyond the tip of a paintbrush. 

How about you? What's your relationship with messiness? Where does the   "messy is good" perspective take you? 


Opening Soon! 
TIP - The Intuitive Painting Place
(Where Messiness Thrives!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Express Yourself


 I don't see why 
we ever think 
of what others think 
of what we do -- 
no matter who they are.  
Isn't it enough 
just to 
express yourself? 

 ~Georgia O'Keeffe

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Turtle Love

Beverly Keaton Smith
painting by Beverly Keaton Smith

And the turtles, of course...
all the turtles are free, 
as turtles and, maybe, 
all creatures should be.” 

~Dr. Seuss, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meaningless Paintings Welcomed

Beverly Keaton Smith


There is no must in art because art is free.
~Wassily Kandinsky

When my painting mentor, Chris Zydel, told me that some intuitive paintings have no meaning, I cringed.   A painting with no meaning seemed impossible to me. What would be the point of a painting if no meaning can be squeezed out of it? Surely there must be a reason for every painting. A purpose, lesson, message, revelation, insight, beauty or something. Right? No, not necessarily. (See painting above.)

It is liberating to know that I do not have to search for meaning in all of my intuitive paintings. Sometimes they do not make sense and have no purpose beyond allowing me to get to the next painting. And that is OKAY! I liken it to the writer who writes many needless words in a rough draft or a photographer who shoots a whole slew of photos that are rejected. For me, intuitive painting follows a similar pattern. I sift through quite a few senseless, ugly, strange paintings to get to the ones that hold value and meaning for me. 

While the meaningless paintings might seem useless and unappealing, I have learned to look at them with a gentle eye and heart. They remind me that creativity shows up in many forms. No matter how an intuitive painting turns out, I enjoy the quiet time I spend with myself and the painting. Rules, responsibilities and worries cease to exist while colorful paint is covering the canvas. Everything is okay and I feel free. That alone is enough of a payoff for me. 

Bottom line? 

Intuitive painting is about the process, not the product. 
Meaningless paintings welcomed. 
Bring 'em on!

Beverly Keaton Smith

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bowing to the Brush

"Every heart has a different song to sing" ~Beverly Keaton Smith

Another flower? 
Another bird?
Another heart?

Every since I began the practice of intuitive painting, certain images continue to show up.  In the beginning, this bothered me because it felt wrong and unimaginative. So, of course, I began to resist the repetitive images.

It took me awhile to realize that my inner critic had cleverly been trying to shut me down by telling me that I should not be painting the same thing over and over. Darn you,  inner critic!

Fortunately, I voiced my concerns about painting the same images repeatedly to my mentor, Chris Zydel. Her liberating response was shocking. 

"It's okay. Go ahead. Paint them as many times as they want to be painted!" 

Chris gave me the permission that I was having trouble giving myself.  When yet another heart begins to appear on the canvas, I push myself past that voice that says, "Oh no, another heart?" I simply let it happen. There is no need to analyze or resist the process, even if it initially feels like a duplicate painting.  (It's not.)

I do my best (and sometimes reluctantly) to follow the brush and let it lead the way. Here's why.

Even though I might paint one hundred hearts, every one of them has a different song to sing. I don't want to miss any of those songs. They all offer me a sense of freedom that comes with being in the present moment and feeling deeply connected to the flow of creativity. For me, this is reason enough to to bow to the brush, no matter how many hearts that brush might want me to paint.

Three cheers for Freedom, in all of its many forms.


"Every Heart Has A Different Song to Sing" ~Beverly Keaton Smith

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Connecting with Creativity

 What do you do to center yourself or try to make peace with the world?

When someone asked me this today, my mind immediately went to typical responses to this type of question.

  • Pray
  • Dance
  • Garden
  • Write....
Blah, Blah, Blah....

But those replies did not feel good so I went deeper into my thoughts about how to truly answer that question. Even though my response might have come across as short and flippant, I replied,

"Well, last night I sailed around in the moonlit sky on the wings of a dragon."

That is all I said. And it was enough. The person I was talking to got it. 

A joyful swirl started spinning inside of my heart as I thought about what it might  feel like to soar with a powerful dragon amongst the stars in a moonlit sky. I felt centered and at peace with the world in that moment because my imagination took me on an unexpected dive into Creativity.

Most of us feel more engaged, alive and centered when we are in a creative mode.  It brings us into the present moment and takes us away from memories of long ago or worries about the future. We get grounded into where life really happens. The here and now.

There are many ways that creativity can show up in our lives every day but we often fail to give ourselves over to the process. Since our fast paced world tends to favor accomplishment over indulging in process, we focus on scratching things off of our "To Do" list and then watch television or play video games to recover from exhaustion.  Little snippets of creativity are sprinkled into our lives day after day but we don't get to savor them or build on them. Life is pushing us forward too quickly. 

Intuitive painting allows you to take time away from the hustle and bustle to connect with your creativity. There is nothing to figure out ahead of time, no rules to learn, no agenda to follow. You simply slow down, sit before a canvas and PLAY with color. From there, the sky is the limit. Actually, that's not true. There are no limits, not even the sky. You are free to go any where your heart calls you to go.  Giving yourself full permission to freely paint and play is all that is required.  

Intuitive painting is just one way of connecting with creativity. How do you connect with your creativity? (would love for you to leave a comment and tell me. I really want to know! Thanks!) 


"On the deepest level we are all artists...and every last one of us is a creator."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

There is no 


in Art 


Art  Is  Free 
 ~Wassily Kandinsky

Friday, June 22, 2012

Joy by Beverly Keaton Smith

in the joy of achievement 
the thrill 
of creative effort. 
-Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Painting by Beverly Keaton Smith

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trust the Paint Brush

mixed media by Beverly Keaton Smith 

Painting Place

When practicing intuitive painting, anything can happen when you TIP over a bottle of paint and let your paint brush or fingers roam around freely on the canvas. The goal is to let the painting happen instead of attempting to force something to happen. I believe this is the biggest  challenge of intuitive painting. There is a nagging need or desire to produce something that would ordinarily be judged worthy by our own high standards or our perceived standards of others. Standing before a blank canvas and letting the paint lead the way requires the surrender of control and outcome. That's not always easy for most of us. 

Being present in the moment is a way to allow the intuitive painting process to happen. If you are focusing on control or outcome, you have most likely settled into the past or the future. Limiting thoughts about your ability to paint or  worrying about how your painting will look are likely to flourish. The result is often paralyzing. 

However, standing smack dab in the present moment while listening to your intuition will connect you to your private well of creativity (and yes, you do have one!) This is where surprises are likely to happen as your creativity swirls into motion while colors merge together to form images you would have sworn you could never paint. It doesn't matter if your images do not resemble anything you've ever seen before. They are uniquely your images and that is what makes this process alive, insightful and enchanting. 

When I talk to friends about intuitive painting, I often hear "I can't paint" as a response. I'd  like to encourage you to move past that hurdle if this stops you from playing with intuitive painting.  It's okay if you can't paint. Actually, it can be beneficial if you don't know how to paint. You are less likely to get hung up on technique and rules which can constrict access to your intuition. 

Letting go of the need to conform or perform allows you to TIP over that bottle of paint and explore freely while giving your intuition and creativity a chance to sparkle. 

Happy Painting!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Free Painting

Everyone can play with intuitive painting because it doesn't matter what your paintings look like. This bears repeating.

It doesn't matter what your paintings look like. 

This sounds like a simple concept but it can be quite challenging. Most of us are conditioned to strive for a particular outcome. Having the opportunity to stand before a blank canvas can be daunting because it gives the inner critic a  golden opportunity to load up her (or his) gun. It doesn't take long before the bullets start flying.  

  • This painting is terrible (nice spin on "you're not good enough.")
  • I am wasting my time
  • I can't do this  
  • Everyone's painting looks better than mine.

When these bullets start flying, you have choices:

  1. Take the hit and put away your paint brush forever. 
  2. Let the bullets cripple you and take away the joy of playing.   
  3. Dance with the bullets while painting through the discomfort they bring
  4. Shield yourself from the bullets. As they sail over you, let let them serve as reminders that you are playing, not trying to paint a masterpiece. 

I've chosen all of the above responses to the inner critic while painting. The more I paint, the easier it is to practice with numbers 3 and 4.  (I know this sounds like a cliche, but it truly is like lifting weights to build up muscles in your arms.)

One of the long lasting payoffs for practicing intuitive painting is that it becomes easier to recognize and address the limiting voices in your head.  Your ability to choose how you respond to  the inner critic becomes stronger as you keep painting. A refusal to be crippled or derailed by the inner critic while painting eventually trickles over into other areas of your life too.

More insights about the value of intuitive painting are on the way. Have you practiced intuitive painting? In what ways does it benefit you?


Beverly Keaton Smith

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Can't Paint

If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent van Gogh

If you asked me to paint a picture of a bowl of fruit, the results would be quite comical. That's because I can't paint. Except for when I can.

I wish I could have a conversation with the great Vincent van Gogh. I'd  tell him that I frequently tell myself, “I can't paint!” I am very attached to this belief too. It helps me see beyond the roughness of my less than beautiful paintings and keeps me going back for more. It doesn't matter to me that I can't paint. I do it just for fun.

I have no desire to paint something for show or sell. I paint because it connects me with my creativity, brings me fully into the present moment and entertains the heck out of me. 

I follow some of my intuitive paintings down a great big rabbit hole and stand back amazed at the places I visit. Other paintings make me mad or sad or both. Some of my paintings are confusing because there is no meaning to be found in them. Other paintings absolutely delight me or help me to understand myself better. There is  a big mix of possible outcomes when practicing intuitive painting. The mystery of going toward the unknown is compelling to me. Since I trust my intuition, I know the journey will offer me nuggets of gold in one way or another.

If I ever get to have that conversation with Vincent van Gogh, I'm going to tell him that the act of painting does not silence that limiting voice inside of my head. I've just learned to be with it and keep going.


PS: The above painting started out as a giant stick figure wearing a scarf blowing in the wind. Don't ask me why because I have no idea. As the painting evolved, I saw a little doggie's face in the outline of the paint. Slowly it turned into my dog, Buddy. This painting led me to tap into a whole bunch of the love that I feel for Buddy. It pulled out many joyful tears and reminded me that Buddy is always in my heart. When I look at this painting, I can revisit those moments of the deeply expressed love that came flowing through as I painted this. It's a sweet reminder of going deep into the emotion of love. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Intuitive Painting #1

As I put paint onto paper for the first time, I tune into my intuition for guidance. I have a desire to make circular lines on my canvas, so that is how I begin. I have no roadmap or destination. I'm just painting for the sake of painting.

Quickly, I slip into a childlike state and immerse myself into playtime. Giddy with excitement once the paintbrush starts moving, I forget about my earlier anxiety about painting. My fears of looking stupid, making a mess and failing to measure up no longer concern me. I feel a sense of freedom as I let go of my desire to produce something pretty.

As my painting evolves, I see the outline of a bird in the center of the picture. This thrills me because I see it as a sign of liberation and soaring. Once the painting is complete, I do not focus on it because, quite frankly, I think it is ugly. Instead of being discouraged by my harsh judgment of my first painting, I am energized by the act of painting. Slowly I am realizing that intuitive painting truly is about process, not product.

Later, when I show a few friends my first painting, they do not see a bird in flight. They see a woman in bondage. What?? I look at my painting through their eyes and I see her haunting image. How in the world did I not see her before?

Keeping in mind that the painting happened spontaneously, I realize that the previous anxiety I felt about painting revealed itself on the canvas. However, I had so much fun painting, that I could not see it. I only saw the fun and freedom I felt, which was represented by the hint of a bird.

This is when I realized that intuitive painting holds deep value for me. By skipping over the busy mind, I tapped into the wing clipping emotions of anxiety and fear. Through painting, I purged them without even realizing it. Kind of amazing, huh?

Here is the last painting I did during the retreat. Quite a difference, eh? 

Will your first intuitive painting experience be like mine? No! Your experience will be uniquely yours. There is no way to predict what might unfold for you. Diving deep into the mystery of the unknown is one of the many compelling components of intuitive painting. Just allowing yourself the time to play and be present can be such a wonderful gift to self. The busy brain gets a break as you immerse yourself into a space where creativity bubbles up and flourishes. Sounds so simple and at the same time, can be so refreshing and rewarding. I highly recommend!

Beverly Keaton Smith

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Intuitive Painting 101

Flashback – September 10, 2011

It's the first day of painting at Chris Zydel's intuitive painting retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The idea of painting sounds simple, right? You just paint. There are no rules, goals or grades. This means there is no way to mess up. It's mostly about being present in the moment and relying on intuition to guide you through the painting process. Simple enough, right?

I pick out a red apron that is splattered with dried paint stains from previous painters. This pleases me because I'm hoping some of that painting energy will rub off on me. Push pins firmly secure my blank poster onto the cardboard frame that acts as a giant easel. My painting supplies are neatly perched upon a wooden TV tray that nestles me into the cozy corner of the room that I have secured for myself. Along with a palatte full of colorful paints, a plastic cup is half full of water for brush cleaning. A discolored rag is at my fingertips and even though I am not sure what the rag is for,  I'm thinking that when I need it, I'll be glad I have it. 

I have stalled as long as I can by occupying myself with setting up. Next, I  look around the room. Everyone appears to be happily painting away while I stand before that big, white poster board feeling paralyzed.

My mind turns into a thinking machine and bombards me with questions: Where to start? What to paint? How does this work? Why am I here? What is the point? What color should I use? What if I mess up? How will I know if I mess up? Why did I sign up for this? Why did I think I wanted to paint? Again, why am I here?

Yes, my mind is busy, busy, busy. Out of no where, I hear a soft voice behind me say, “Just paint. Just put some paint on there.” I turn to see the face that matches this supportive voice. It is Nadine Hamil and I trust that she knows what she is talking about since she is one of the assistants who is helping out with the week long retreat. Nadine's words, along with a gentle nodding of her head, give me courage to put paint on the poster even though I have no idea what I will paint.

With butterflies fluttering in my stomach, I do it. I put paint on the poster. My slow hesitance turns into fascination with the way the paint looks on my poster. The chatter in my mind slowly fades. Color begins to take over my poster board and time vanishes as I am deeply pulled into a dance with creativity through the use of paints and a paintbrush. The result is a painting I do not particularly like but I do not care. When I put up a new sheet of poster board, I am eager to paint again!

Sometimes when I stand before yet another blank canvas, I can hear that soft encouraging voice in my head. It belongs to Nadine and it simply says, “Just Paint.”

Beverly Keaton Smith