Creative Arts Camp 2011: Painting #6: What Will the Harvest Be?

Creative Arts Camp 2011: Painting #6: What Will the Harvest Be?


What Will the Harvest Be? (oil)

What Will the Harvest Be? (oil) by Polly Castor


This is the last (and I think the best) painting I did at camp. There is a story to this painting; it was a learning process on many levels.

I had been painting with high energy all week. The last day it occurred to me there were things my teacher could teach me that I hadn’t explored and my time was running out for that opportunity. He is wonderful at painting light which I have a lot to learn about, and also I had bought a special feathering brush that I hadn’t yet learned to use. I decided to paint a sunrise that would require use of the feathering brush and lit clouds to discuss the light. I did underpainting #1 and #2 for this project and several people liked it, noting that this was a departure for me. But for the first time all week I had low energy while painting. Even though other people liked it, I didn’t. It did not feel authentically “me,” and all week we had been working on expressing our authentic voice.

When I left for lunch I stipulated three options for this painting once I resumed in the afternoon: 1) continue on as planned, 2) alter the sunrise to be more expressive rather than literal, or 3) completely change it on layer #3. In turn, I was convinced that each one of those approaches was the best. I was starting to obsess about this quandary, and it was definitely my low point while at camp. I was both torn and ever so slightly offended by such a positive reception of me producing something that seemed so unlike me. I wanted to like my work; it would be nice if others did too, but it wasn’t as necessary as me liking it.

Finally, on the way back from lunch, I asked God what He thought. The answer was loud and clear. God immediately said to me, “Trowel it.” I knew what that unique imperative meant. A friend in my class had a spackling spatula that we had been referring to as a trowel. When I got back to the studio, I borrowed that implement straight away and attacked the painting with it. Immediately I was thrilled! My perspective totally adjusted. I was under only God’s direction again. All week I had been listening for step by step instructions, and even though with decent motives, I had strayed from that practice, looking to what some human could teach me instead. God was and is the only Teacher I need!

After that I was like a scribe under orders. What emerged was a cross on a hill. I had gone through the crucifixion, represented by the under layers of inauthenticity forsaken. Interestingly enough those hated under layers were essential in the final image that resonated so strongly. Resurrection then occurred on that sunrise, accompanied by barns and fruitful wheat fields. To me the title was obvious as well: What will the Harvest Be? This painting now hangs over my “prayer chair” in my office, a happy reminder that when one realigns with joy and individual Truth, the harvest is vibrant and glorious!

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


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