This week, I write about my personality type based on Thomas Erikson’s book Surrounded by Idiots and how to paint free from expectations.
Here’s my newest painting. When finishing it, I became surprised gladly when “Blackbird” got a little sister “Finch.” Here’s Blackbird again:
Book: Surrounded by Idiots – The Four Types of Human Behaviour
All my life, I have had strong opinions about how and what I should paint. And yes, these opinions have not been something like “powerful dreams” but more like pushy commands. I didn’t even realize how pushy they have been until I read Thomas Erikson’s book “Surrounded by Idiots.” It made me think about my personality from a new perspective.
Even if the idea of the book – dividing personalities into four categories and naming them by colors – could be taken as nonsense, after reading it, I can’t help thinking about how “red” I am. An ambitious fact-oriented person who has pushed herself to the utmost limit with this art-making obsession.
If you are “yellow,” you probably think that I should either have fun or move on. “Greens” might recommend taking a rest and stopping working too hard. And “Blues” claim that the book is not scientifically proved and there’s no reason to quit.
But I have discovered a new solution. It’s been a joy to use my red energy only to make sure that I keep painting. When I open the tubes, my redness is gone. I am open to painting anything. Every ugly start feels like an invitation to the jungle: Let’s see what’s going on in the inner world.
Breaking the Glass – Growing Compassion Towards Inanimate Things
In the class Floral Freedom, you dive deep into Wassily Kandinsky’s ideas about abstract art. Among other things, he talks about breaking the glass – stopping being the observer and starting to be the one that experiences things. Now when I have been pushing myself for almost seven years, the glass has become thin. I feel joy about how easily it breaks right after squeezing the paint on the palette.
For a red person, it has been difficult to break through. I have been giving orders and tightened the control from time to time. But now, the only goal for the spring is to paint all the canvases that I purchased earlier this year. Not questioning what I paint, but just do it.
“Do it!” the red in me commands matter-of-factly and then leaves me working. After breaking the glass, I arrive at a lobby that’s filled with all kinds of stuff. For example, there are tulips that my husband removed from the bench where they were not supposed to grow.
They twisted and turned in the vase, like wild animals in a cage, trying to break free. And when they withered, they became angry and devastated beasts, desperate to continue their lives. They didn’t want to face the fact that they wouldn’t reproduce like they were born to do.
When painting, we can see similar things or just glide on the glass and bypass them. Shapes that don’t get the place in the spotlight. Lines that disappear before they reach high enough.
But if we put our mind into noticing them, we can make these inanimate splotches of paint breath and fly, even save some ugly spots. Not because we would hasten and thus compromise the quality, but because we feel sudden compassion towards their character.
Then a picture is not forced but appears naturally. However, the result is not static or exact like the observer would want. Instead, it describes the inner experience of being.
The Experience of Being a Finch
In this painting, the being is a little bird, facing danger, trying to take care of its nest, flying and falling, still living the summer of her life.
Have you read Thomas Erikson’s book Surrounded by Idiots? Do you see a connection between your personality and art-making?