Painting from the Heart

I seriously cannot believe it’s Friday already! This week flew by, and now we’re officially in June. How did that happen?

These past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home where I grew up, mainly because it’s just been a busy time filled with a lot of activities that involve the family (vacation to Florida, my mom’s 50th birthday, and graduation parties!). I do miss Brooklyn a lot, but I’m definitely not complaining about it because that means more time running along my favorite place in the world.

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I know it doesn’t seem like much. To be honest, it’s not even an ocean; it’s the Long Island Sound. Yep. But this beach holds a lot of memories for me: summer days and packed lunches with the family when we were little, running around on the rickety wooden playground with friends (of course, the town finally deemed it unsafe after loads of us kept on getting splinters, so they rebuilt a new one only after we outgrew it), “beach hangouts” when we thought we were cool teenagers and could finally hang out without parents, endless miles of running, rain or shine, barbecues for the Fourth of July to watch the fireworks, walking to El Viras for deli sandwiches in nothing but our suits and bare feet…I’m not sure anyone understands how much this little strip of sand means to me.

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*STILL WORKING* Needs some details!

So when I was getting out of my painting rut recently, my (wonderful, brilliant, strong, compassionate, and extraordinarily talented) mentor told me to get back to painting by painting from the heart. Paint something that embodies my identity, that gives me joy, that makes me feel at home.

I had to paint Compo. In all of my years (okay, I’m not very old, but still) of painting, Compo was never one of my compositions. Trust me, I’m still trying to figure that one out. But once I started, I felt like my soul was just reawakened.

Everything made sense again.

So I started with a simple oil study. Traditional. Art School-ish. One that, for me, is kind of fun to get back to. I actually really like to paint representational art, it’s a fun challenge, but I also know that there isn’t much of my voice in it. It doesn’t stand out and scream, “YEP, THAT’S BRITT RIGHT HERE!” So I went bigger. 1200 square inches bigger.

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This one felt like I was a bull ready to break free from the cage. I just let loose and went with anything I felt. I collaged. I splattered. I threw in wonky colors just for the hell of it. I needed to get it all out and leave it on the canvas. Everything I felt these past few months being pent up and feeling like my creativity was being stifled was amplified. I blasted rock music and just let the feelings flow.

And when I was done, I was done. I put the brush down, and I stepped back. It was more my voice, but not entirely there. I definitely felt like I had emptied all of my energy, all of the emotions I had been suffocating while trying to act like I was all right. It honestly felt so good, and while it’s not my favorite piece, I don’t regret a single brushstroke or tear of paper.

But now I needed to let Britt do her thing. I needed to paint from my soul. It was clear and ready to go.

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This one is it. This is my voice.

I started this painting with the vision that it would be entirely pink for some reason, but I didn’t let any preconceived notions of what is should be tarnish its potential. Once I started, I honestly had no idea where it would go, but my mentor just told me to keep going. After all, it’s only paint.

With every movement, I trusted myself more. I trusted that I knew what I was doing, that I might not have seen where I was going, but that I knew it would be okay. I trusted that I had the skill and the passion and the love to express who I was on a canvas.

So this one is it. “Daybreak,” I’m calling it. Every time I look at it, I just feel alive. It gives me this weird feeling in my stomach that’s indescribable. I want to say that it’s like I’m home, but it’s not so much what it’s about as it is the emotions behind the strokes that give me that feeling. It’s the start of something new, something that feels just so me. And I’m beyond excited and grateful to be on this journey.

Happy Friday, friends. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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