Why do I paint?

Carla Filipe Australian Artist – work in progress 2019

“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

It all started about 8 years ago. I started to feel that something was missing in my life – I was feeling a stirring, a hidden itch. Now, I have always been a creative person, I was obsessed with art in high school, and the visual realm was always a language I understood on a soul level. I remember finishing high school and wanting to pursue fine arts but the responsible advice from my parents at the time, was that perhaps it wasn’t the best career choice. So I put that thought to the side with the intention that indulging in painting would come later in life, after retirement – you know, when I was old, wise and with a seasoned and well lived life behind me! I trained as a graphic designer after high school, and loved working in the design field, but as the years ticked on, something wasn’t quite right emotionally with me. I felt it very strongly as a void in my heart. I couldn’t quite articulate what exactly was missing other than it felt like this hollow that I couldn’t shake. Luckily, the Universe showed up for me with a friend suggesting I try a couple of part-time art classes. Two years of immersing myself in creative workshops and exploring spirituality, THAT UNKNOWN slowly developed into an unshakeable urge to create, get my hands dirty, use my imagination in new ways, have my own studio and take this ‘creative thing’ far more seriously than I had initially anticipated.

It has taken me a while to develop my confidence as an artist, to build my visual language and to feel ok to be seen in all sorts of public domains. I’m nowhere where I want to be, creatively. There is still a lot of progress ahead, a lot of growing to do. But ultimately, I paint because it feels like a deep calling to do so. Being in the studio, is my retreat from the world. To paint is a meditative process, its also incredibly fun to be able to play again, and experiment freely and feel alive. To reduce it further, to SIMPLY FEEL.

I have this belief that all objects absorb energy, especially energy from humans, where our emotional state of mind gets potentially stored in the objects around us. I especially feel this to be the case when I am painting. As an artist, you sit in front of a canvas, or in my case a piece of wood board and you paint for an extended period of time. During that time, your mind wonders, into all sorts of meanderings and as you are in continual conversation with this piece of artwork that you are creating, it becomes a living piece of art. So there exists an energy exchange between the artist and the piece of work that is being created. Colours are intuitively chosen, forms take shape, moods are created and while this dance is evolving, the artist is constantly in release of energy and this artwork absorbs it all, and vice versa. I feel my paintings are quietly breathing, and they honestly breath life and energy back to me.  So, what does this mean for the artwork? The artwork becomes a time capsule of that energy exchange during the time it took for the artist to create it. It becomes alive. It vibrates. Its an encapsulation of pure expression.

I believe the way I make art is a channeling from a higher place. I never have a preconceived idea of what I’m about to create, what form it will take or what colours will be on the board by the time I finish. This process is as further away from my professional training as a graphic designer as it could be. I never have a plan. I simply turn up. I plonk my body in front of the table and I start to paint. I mix colours on the wood board, purely because I have a connection to a particular colour that particular day. Most likely, the chosen colour makes me feel good, peaceful, excited, alive. I simply go with whatever colour or hue I’m feeling, in my heart. Its a heart process for me. My mind comes in later, when I add my line markings, and add a certain complexity to the layering of the artwork.


Carla Filipe Australian Artist working on a work in progress 2019


So generally the way I start a painting is, I start mixing colours on the board with my rubber palette knife, and see where the painting wants to take me. It guides me, not the other way around. I am simply a facilitator, an antenna, transmitting most often the feeling I carry inside, and I release it as creative expression. If I start to see there are certain shapes that remind me of something that my mind recognises, I am often in wonder to see what the painting is trying to communicate. You see, these paintings are constantly talking, giving me little signals, hints, directions. When the painting is dry, and all colours have settled into their desired outcome, I then apply some line markings. These markings further develop the narrative of the artwork. It is at this stage that the revelation of the artwork is shown to me, and I start to FEEL the deeper meaning inherent in it.

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