Discovering the Nature in Me
by Diana Chabros
It was March and the frigid ocean waves outside our retreat space crashed against the rocks, creating a mist enveloping passersby on the trail below. Inside, we were largely oblivious to anything beyond our safe haven of a studio, a sanctuary created by our retreat guide. For one week we worked in each other’s company. With tempera paints on paper, we painted and repainted a single work, transforming imagery over and over, responding intuitively and often emotionally with whatever emerged. My piece, as always, explored the relationships between animals and humans, the land, and water.
I travelled out of the country for the week-long retreat. Having broken my ankle the first night only served as a catalyst in my quest for self-knowledge. Injury fuelled my desire to unblock my creative practice, and in the company of my supportive sister/fellow retreatants, I finally began to dialogue with my painting. I don’t remember much of it, except that it was spontaneous, unplanned, and progressed intuitively. I was told that the sea lions began to bark outside, and that when I finished, they stopped. Our facilitator, skilled at encouraging progressively deeper and richer encounters between retreatants and their work, demonstrated perfect timing and I was able to put aside my anxiety to sink into the process. Suffice it to say, the information divulged by the beings in my painting provided the trajectory for my next series of oils on canvas, due to be exhibited in March, 2019, at the Art Gallery of Swift Current.
The retreatants came from a diverse mix of backgrounds hailing from various parts of the world. Most were non-artists, though some of us formally trained, a background that often serves as a hurdle rather than a help when it comes to engaging in the uninhibited transformative process. The initial discomfort that came from being in a new place and working with a new process diminished quickly as we sank our brushes into lush colours and learned to trust the insights and instincts of our hearts and bodies.
Although I always listen to my paintings for guidance, this retreat and subsequent process painting experiences inspired me to share the process with others. If you’ve always wanted to paint but don’t know how to begin, if you wish to nudge potent intuition into being, if you seek a means of self-guidance for transitional life decisions, or are simply looking to kick-start your art practice, Nature in Me© Process Painting retreats and workshops can inspire your inner—and outer—transformation.
Developing a relationship with your art is a profound experience. Trusting yourself to explore the possibilities is where the relationship begins.
“I am the bird who walks on feathers, early animal, syllable, seed of the strong race of deer.” (Excerpt from Cypress by Saskatchewan poet Barbara Klar)
Diana Chabros is a visual artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Masters in arts education. Her colour-rich fictional and traditional landscapes urge the viewer to adopt a more meaningful connection to their inner and outer environments. Her work can be found in public and private collections, and her paintings may be viewed at www.dianachabros.com. To contact her, call (306) 550-5377 or email email@example.com. Also see the colour display ad on page 30 of the 24.5 January/February issue of the WHOLifE Journal about her upcoming Nature in Me Art Retreat.