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If I could remember how it felt to draw and paint when I was five years old, would it have something of the same quality, the wonderous magic that I experience with each painting now? Would there have been a feeling of connection to some great force, gentle and all encompassing yet beyond description? Would the eyes of the child watch with surprise, with pleasure, with a sense of discovery, the movement of pencil on paper? It will probably never be possible to answer such questions, but why are they being asked in the first place?

Years ago, as an art student, I was convinced that artists were a breed apart, answerable to no-one, not having to justify or explain the shallow and inexperienced brushstrokes of their self-important efforts. Artists, an esoteric bunch, were to be found floating around near Adam's finger, looking down with disdain on everyone else.

The Window

Thirty years have passed. I have come down to earth, in fact, many times below it, into hell. With each humbling, traumatic, beautiful event, the extent to which I am only a minuscule part of a cosmic vastness remains only simply understood.

"Paint the Course in Miracles" were the words that greeted my awakening early one morning in 1995. A series of 295 watercolours and verses grew out of the inspiration garnered from this book, "A Course in Miracles." During the two years taken to complete this series, there were several occasions when my little self wanted to throw out an image. It was ugly, or crude, or just plain wrong. The medium of watercolour is exacting. There is little room for error and less for re-working. On these occasions, a voice would prompt me to continue through a self-imposed barrier. Like a kaleidoscope, the image would then fall, with sweet clarity, in place.

So the forging of trust in the form of guidance beyond myself began. All the while, the act of painting became an act of watching: watching the colours and the marks touch the surface, without pre-meditation. I was involved in the act of creation from a stance slightly apart--from an observation platform within the self. What this experience taught me of trust and of the greater creative force will never leave. I will never arrive at the point of knowing, of complete satisfaction. That in itself would be counter to the nature of creativity.

So, in the age of innocence and wonder, which we happily call childhood, is the imprint, the beginning of a long journey toward which we return....the echo of awe, the energy, fascination which ejected us many moons ago.

Artwork "The Window" by Patse Hemsley
See more of her work in Moondance Arts at /arts/

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