In her book, Visual Medicine – the Art of the UnknownSuzette 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:
In early 2003, I was working in my studio, trying to develop a painting exercise for a creativity group I was running – something that would help unblock the group’s stuckness. I was playing around with paint while holding a question in mind: what will help unblock a more fluid and immediate experience of dynamic creative energy for this group?
I sat on the floor with my paints, wetting small pieces of watercolor paper and then dipping them into circles of diluted acrylic paint. This play was very familiar to me, as I had spent six years in my previous career, in almost solitary practice, creating thousands of metres of silk and velvet for my handmade textile clothing business. When I was painting textiles I had sometimes used a very similar starting point with my fabrics: spraying them with water and then allowing the dyes to travel on the wet material, forming random abstract patterns with no fixed notion of what should happen.
And now, sitting on the floor, I felt as if I was in a state of awake dreaming as I watched the paint make spiral clouds that grew and billowed, with waves of tendril-like filaments opening onto the surface of the paper. The wetness carried the paint in completely unpredictable ways, channeling it through invisible eddies and currents, directing and guiding its movement. And then I heard an inner voice ring out like a deep bell inside me. It said: Spirit loves to be made material.