Consciously Unconscious


“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” Edward Hopper (from


An eagle in flight, the newly opened bud of a spring flower, the crashing waves on a white sandy beach are sights that can momentarily take the breath away. For many artists the feeling cannot be put into words. Only paint can express the depth of emotion attached to magnificent sights in our world. But there are times when frustration can set in over the difficulty of expressing that emotion followed by feelings of failure. Why is it not happening?


Perhaps the beauty seems more than mere mortals can express. The great C.S. Lewis said, “We do not want to see merely beauty…we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” Father Shane Tucker of Four Winds Anglican Mission and spoke of this quote and encouraged artists to search for those places that inspire awe and to breathe them in. Father Shane suggests getting still and thinking of when one has last seen awe.


Taking time to be in that place of awe, to breathe it in, absorb it, dwell in it then turn back to canvas and paint with fresh feelings intact can break the logjam of frustration. Getting out of the way of feelings when they are trying to express themselves may be just the ticket. Letting go of control takes the physical act of shaking out arms and hands. It takes a conscious act to let the unconscious take over. So start shaking, breathe deep and get out of the way.  The logs are breaking!



Author: MaryGwyn

Artist-Art Educator-Art in Healthcare

21 thoughts on “Consciously Unconscious”

  1. It is indeed good to see you posting again, Mary Gwyn ! motivational words to your peers – amongst whom I do not dwell, of course – and reinterpret them for myself.

    1. I see instantly that I managed to delete a whole set of words there, when all I intended to do was delete an extraneous punctuation mark. 🙁
      I believe I had written after your name …
      “I am comfortable to see your”

      1. And said catching up isn’t made any easier by finding yourself reading a totally incomprehensible comment. 🙁
        I shall be a shitload more careful of that from now on.

      2. Don’t you dare! You won’t be nearly as much fun without the quirks. I actually make sense out of the incomprehensible comments. I consider it M.R.Speak. Not everybody knows that language. Only the privileged few!!

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