The next try I made (below) was still with strips I cut from Klimt, but this time with less color and I thought, a bit more drama. I was not trying to produce anything in particular, I was simply working with color. Neophyte that I was, I was quite happy with the one below.
My next attempt, still with cuttings from long-suffering Gustav, was with images of landscape, plants, and houses. I was not happy with the results I was getting and in a fit of frustration, decided to cover over most of what I had done with ripped pieces of coloured tissue paper. I still was not happy, figuring I should never have thought I could produce anything of value and that I should put my energies where I have some skill. (Such discouragement typical, I understand, of the creative process.) I set this piece on a mantle and proceeded to clean up all the mess I had made cutting up the Klimt artbook. I happened to look up and was SHOCKED to see two eye staring at me from the mantle. Spoooooooky. I sat down to savor what my unconscious mind had produced, in spite of my conscious mind's doubts and judgments.
In this close up of the same piece, below, you can see that what appear as eyes are actually two Klimt houses where I tore off pieces of tissue paper that I had just applied. The light in the windows, give the appearance of light in the eyes of this collage. I knew that my unconscious could get a nice little opportunity to express itself in my attempts to be creative, but I did not expect it to reveal itself so soon and in such a surprising way. I had to make an effort after that to not think about what could be being expressed by my unconscious in any of my abstract works, think about colour and form and just let it happen.
I graduated from just experimenting with collage of artbook strips, to finally just working with acrylics on canvas, and produced several pieces of art that pleased me. However, when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer last September, I put my art supplies away and did not resume any painting until after the new year. In May I was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma on my forehead. It is the least serious form of skin cancer and I was not too concerned. The next piece of artwork I did after my little diagnosis was a piece where I applied black paint horizontally to a textured background of white/beige. I worked fast with a metal spatula, scraping the paint along over the rough surface. Nothing special as you can see below.
Then, I rotated the piece to a vertical position and was shocked to see that my unconscious was telling me I was more concerned about all these "brushes" with cancer than I was allowing my conscious self to realize. It looked to me like the Grim Reaper visiting a female figure also in black. I do not take this kind of thing as an omen about the future. I interpret it as information about what my unconscious fears are - what my unconscious is trying to come to terms with for me. So I thanked it for the information, and knew I had to pay more respect to my diagnosis and not just dismiss it out of hand, as being nothing in comparison to my daughter's diagnosis.
I share all this with you to give you a glimpse into the power of the unconscious to project its concerns outward - be it on canvas - in our dreams - in our poetry - in our slips of the tongue - in our behaviors - or in our interpretation of the world around us. The unconscious speaks, but are we listening?