Acrylic paint on watercolour paper, Suzette Clough 2013
In her book, Visual Medicine – the Art of the Unknown, Suzette Clough describes the experience of finding herself in a profound conversation with paint…and what she comes to call the spiritual creative practice of Visual Medicine:
Into the Unknown
Looking at the watery movements of the paint on the watercolour paper I realized that when I tried to paint something – even if it was from an emotionally expressive position – I was trying to control the content of the painting in a way that was constructing an image from what I already knew. I was pre-empting what that inner voice was saying to me. Spirit, whatever I understood that to be, was longing to find a way to communicate something to me that was much more than I could possibly know with only my conscious intention or will. So when I made a painting with a conscious agenda it stole the space from another kind of communication – the revelation of the unknown.
Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen. —Teilhard de Chardin
When I surrendered to the moment, allowing the painting to have no fixed outcome, the painting moved in its own way. The water carrying the paint allowed a true communication, one that was not directed by what I already knew. And communication, by its very nature, suggests that there is another voice, energy, or even another part of ourselves, in dialogue with us. We are no longer alone, nor are completely in control.
What I believe now is that in that moment of asking, “How can I unblock a more fluid and immediate experience of dynamic creative energy?” I had articulated a call to my own inner teacher, what I have come to know as my Oracle Mind. This mysterious voice, emanating from something wise and vast, is hard to write about and difficult to conceptualize but indelibly underlies all my work, beliefs, and everything I love and hold important – sacred even. It feels like an altered state, existing absolutely in the present but completely infused in the intricate material of the body, of matter, of the world. I have come to understand this experience as Spirit.
Live in the nowhere you came from – even though you have an address here. –Rumi