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The Threat Of Being Exposed

Don’t take my demons away, because my angels may flee too.

Rilke

Engaging in visual articulation takes courage. Any defined imagery can threaten our self-concept. We fear being exposed, labeled, or measured. There is a need for us to preserve a certain self-image or reputation. The threat gets magnified when we paint with a quality of innocence, especially when we don’t have artistic skills. As a reaction to that, there’s an impulse to filter, reject or discard an unsophisticated image. 

This angst points out the belief that we are separate beings unconnected to a single thread. We may indeed have different outer personas, but the creative source is impartial. If we open the channel it will come through regardless of who we are and what we know. And it comes through not to define or limit us, but because we are connected to a vast and interdependent stream that speaks to us as an impersonal guide.

At some point in a painting, we will find the thread that is intimately our own. In these moments, seeing our connection as a fragment of a bigger picture is helpful. Our creative intelligence informs us in the most personal and specific ways, despite its archetypal and collective breadth. 

By Zainab Zoeb

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