I began this series of "love" paintings…
as a mindless exercise to overcome a paralyzing creative block that coincided with a major emotional trauma in my life. I felt very helpless, unloved, and ‘not enough’ to help free a loved one from the cycle of addiction.
It started as a simple exercise. Pick-up a brush, mix colors, and stay within the lines. Back to the basics. I was teaching myself how to walk again, on the canvas. One step at a time, a meditation, quiet rote learning. Creation without deliberation. I allowed myself no self-criticism during this process. I found peace and acceptance in every color and letter placement.
I was inspired to use words in my art after a friend shared with me his antidote to high-stress situations. In a time of stress, he thinks of two unique words and reflects upon the combinations and associations that evolve from them. This tactic resonated with me for many reasons. The most striking being that I am acutely conscious of the power of words, both good and bad.
If I broke down a word and randomly painted the individual letters on canvas, would the word remain whole? Would it be recognizable, or would it transform into something entirely new? I chose to work small, so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed, and I chose to work with the word LOVE, since this expression (for me) was central to my particular trauma.
I ordered four wooden letters and gathered tons of small canvas sheets. I painted these squares like crazy... every free minute... drawing the lines in no particular order, choosing colors without thinking, moving the brush. This was my art therapy.
In my exercise the placement of the letters did not need to make sense. I knew and felt that my work represented LOVE. I felt the process healing me.
The simplicity of the lines and color, the blithe placement of letters... I saw and felt LOVE. Then in a moment of clarity with all of these squares stacked on top of each other, I saw the word EVOLVE. I could not think of anything except that in order to LOVE one must EVOLVE, and in order to EVOLVE one must be open to LOVE.
LOVE is not linear, it is upside down, backwards, sideways, crooked, but when it is real, it is pure and simple. It is simple lines and simple colors, that when combined, form something extraordinary and beautiful... just simply love. It is omnipresent and radiates joy.
I am continually working with the letters L-O-V-E to explore the lines, shapes, colors, and new meanings I can create from them, and to feel the energy they bring me and those with whom I have shared this journey.
This exercise has helped to heal. It has given me hope in a time of darkness for which I am eternally grateful. Without the darkness I have experienced, I would not have found this light that guides me every day. It is my hope to help others heal from trauma, with art therapy techniques, articles, daily reminders and encouragement. Loving and evolving are two of the most freeing exercises in life…..enjoy your journey of loving deeply and unconditionally, watching how love truly is limitless.
As this work has evolved, each time I create and share the story I am reminded how special LOVE is…and when someone wants you and makes you feel loved, how priceless this is.
To give back we donate annually to The ONE LOVE foundation. One Love is on a mission to educate young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships, empowering them to identify and avoid abuse and learn how to love better. https://www.joinonelove.org
We are also acutely aware of the foster care crisis in the United States. We would like to raise awareness for Virginia Kids Belong, and it’s umbrella Americas Kids Belong.
I am a conduit for this work, and truly believe its purpose is to give back and create a daily reminder that we all deserve LOVE.
-Sunny Stack Goode