Ten-something years ago, when I was progressing through a demanding career as a consulting communication designer, I found myself needing to slow down. I began dedicating a great deal of time to reflection, making art by hand, practicing yoga, and spending time in nature; sensing more intimately the body’s wisdom and how it had indispensable guidance to offer.
During this transition, I stumbled upon the opportunity to paint in a critique-free environment. I had created artwork for many years, but this struck a different chord. There was never a time in my life when making art didn’t involve some agenda. So why would I want to put in so much effort when there was no end product? Why was I drawn to this call to paint without a goal? All I can say is that I felt it in my body, a yearning to experience the pigments taking form and to touch an internal silence free of the weight of ideas, approvals, and judgments that one carries as an artist – and even more so as a human living amidst organized culture and society. Soon after, I studied international bodies of experiential research that explored the most profound depths of the human psyche, its archaic nature, and its primal mode of expression. This brought about a recognition of the significance of the creative source and the deeper realms that inform an internal visual dialogue. My path and approach to my work shifted significantly, opening me up to restoration, authenticity, and more trust in the natural unfolding of my journey.
As in most endeavors that involve walking the ‘untrodden path,’ I was inevitably faced with challenges. Being with the unknown and putting my basket of knowledge aside, I followed the thread of change. During this time, I was also honored to work with and hold close to my heart the beautiful mentorship of Stewart Cubley, whose pioneering approach to process arts has been an invaluable gift to me.
We are all, it seems to me, asking this essential question: what does it mean to be alive in our skin? In discovering our primordial voice, we are discovering our true nature. In expressing our inherent rawness, we experience what it means to be human and to be guided from a truthful place. As Joseph Campbell writes, “A privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” I see this as a rich and worthy notion to explore, more than any other goal or ambition that may sprout from the desire to ‘make it’ in the world.
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Zainab also holds guided meditations as a sound therapy practitioner and finds sound baths to be a wonderful way to complement the painting workshops. The workshops at comepaint do not require any prior art experience, they are open to anyone who genuinely feels the call to explore their true voice through compassionate inquiry and discover a more authentic way of being.