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Soul Portrait

In the process of art-making, all subject matter is filtered through the artist herself.

Dearest Doodle Soupers,

The painting below is called "My Mushy Insides, outside for you now, and soft." I brought it to an art show I participated in as part of an off-Broadway show called PimComedy the Musical. I connected really deeply with a woman there who listened to me talking about each painting and about this one, called it a "soul portrait."

abstract painting by Nicole Javorsky

In two words, she summed up everything I had said about this pink-purple painting. It felt special and validating...

There's a saying that "all paintings are self-portrait." Artists can observe landscapes, a bowl of fruit, countless fellow humans, dogs and cats, etc. Yet, in the process of art-making, all subject matter is filtered through the artist herself.

The tagline on my art website is "abstract paintings from my soul." That's where I paint from. In following my intuition, in learning to trust my instincts, in healing from my past traumas, in freeing myself further and further, I am able to make art from something deep, spiritual, and central within me. This is my soul. There is so much in society that can block access to the soul. But art brings me closer to my soul, helps me access the inner knowing and inner freedom that's always been there and always will be there, always asking to be found.

Listen. Listen to the quiet sounds of a wild place - a forest, a mostly empty park in the city, the ocean, for example. What do you hear? That's your soul.

That's why artists look outside of themselves and inside of themselves. Sometimes, you look inside and you see something that doesn't belong to your soul - maybe it's ignorance you forced yourself to believe and go along with, maybe not but it still doesn't fit the most honest version of yourself. I try to let go, not to clutch onto what has never suited me, never will, what I had only pretended fit who I am. And sometimes, you look outside and you remember the lost, forgotten parts of who you are. You look at a bird in flight or hear its special song, and recall your own potential for movement, freedom, the sanctity and beauty of your voice.

Or, you witness a cluster of birds feasting on a dead animal. And it is then that you recall your humanity, the fact that predators and prey exist yet you desire to be neither. And the fact that you are human allows you to imagine and fulfill your forgotten dreams, as a kind, honest, beautiful soul. It is not anyone's responsibility to offer up their soul to be eaten. Yet, there are others who live out their precious lives desiring nothing more of you than to witness your special glory.

There's a song I love called "Nature Boy" by Nat King Cole. It goes like this -

There was a boy

A very strange, enchanted boy

They say he wandered very far

Very far, over land and sea

A little shy and sad of eye

But very wise was he

And then one day

A magic day he passed my way

And while we spoke of many things

Fools and kings

This he said to me:

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn

Is just to love and be loved in return"

In my previous post, I wrote about true love - the need to be loved as you are, as I am. And I want my most genuine, innermost, soulful self to be loved and give love. This requires me to live honestly out loud as my authentic self, to learn how to share my soul with those who respect me and want me to live as I am. And it also requires me to learn how to trust my instincts and allow myself the freedom to avoid those who would rather eat me.

In truth and with hope,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


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