The Thin Red Line

To my surprise, when I view the video to launch week four of this six weeks class, I learn we are encouraged to take a break from painting. WHAT??? I can’t wait to get my brushes into the paint. Being the rebellious elder that I am, I decide to follow my bliss.

I had to jump into action by cutting my image into bits and pieces.

I hope you’re startled by that announcement. That idea sure startled me! But I knew it was right.

Here’s how that idea came to me.

I walk everyday with my dogs in the wood across from where I live. It’s a magical place…a place of communion where I rarely see another human but often see/hear birds of all kinds. This past two weeks I’ve been graced by eagles – both bald and golden ( or maybe immature bald, I don’t yet know how to distinguish but for size. This one is BIG so I think it’s a golden. ) as well as crows, ravens, hawks, ducks, geese, and woodpeckers of various sorts including piliated.

As I walk this morning before beginning to paint, I am stewing a bit over the fact that my paper, BIG though it is, is already covered with images and I can’t imagine how to make something more of it. I reach the pond and shock of shocks, a huge golden eagle, hidden behind a partially sunken log takes off from the water and showers me with droplets.

I swear that bird dropped an epiphany into my brain. Cut up the painting, you twit, cut it up and collage it all back together, consolidating all the angsty stuff at the bottom to serve as compost for life, which is after all the truth. On fire, I – and the dogs – scamper back home. I take down the brown paper, cut out every last hand and face, tape together four new stronger pieces of paper, and gesso it with gray.

In several of my paintings in recent years, I have been compelled to draw a thin red line across the bottom. This happens now. Linked to the mythic red thread, for me it marks the permeable membrane between one reality and another. So I paint that red line and start applying the hands where the juicy action begins – beneath that line, out of sight, in the dark and unknown.

Here’s the silenced woman before I cut her in two.

silenced woman (350x309)

Here’s how she looks with all the old imagery pasted onto the new paper. I know the silenced/compassionate woman’s face has to be partly under and partly above the red line because I know she won’t be silent much longer!

beneath surface (213x300)

Look at all the room I have now, for something more to appear. I’m ecstatic.

Midstream in this process, I suddenly remember Jes Gordon, another student in this session of DEEP, and realize that my subconscious took her video and collage method as my own. I laugh out loud. Thank you Jes.

At some point after applying most of the hands underneath and the egg shape with salmon mostly above that red line, I step back to take a photo and suddenly “SEE” a goddess figure.

goddess arrives (221x300)

I develop her a little bit and live with her in this state for the next few days until I can’t resist painting again. This figure, this storyline works me 24/7. Hope you’re catching my fever!




About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, writer, mother of four, grandmother of eight. who inspires humanity's Great Turning: our evolution to living as a "whole" human, with headbrain and bodymind collaborating, with science and spirit dancing, with rationality, intuition and the ephemeral co-creating.
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2 Responses to The Thin Red Line

  1. Delicious! Thank you so much for taking me on this journey with you. Witnessing the unfolding is like sitting in a story circle, eyes wide and ears perked for the next juicy morsel! Brava sister!


    • Deborah says:

      A great big thank you, Jeanie. I so appreciate your hearing my posts as a story. The process of painting this way certainly is living a story for me. I am constantly amazed by what I learn and how the plot twists and reshapes itself. Wonderful and vital experience. I’m looking forward to when we can connect face to face again.


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