I am one of those who are called amateur artists. Of course, I loved to draw in my childhood, but I got serious about it much later in life, precisely when my normal, comfortable and settled existence came to an end.
This idea of drawing something started as opposition to my main job activities – I worked for a newspaper then. It seemed like years spent in mass media almost wiped out my personality. The absolute primacy of the outer world was killing me as an individual. It was rather hard to start – I had no academic skills, just a keen desire. I did not want to draw from nature. Artists like Dali didn’t interest me either: their undisguised wish to shock the public annoyed me. I recall trying to draw my impressions from Boris Pasternak’s poetry. I was drawing and crying – nothing was even close to what I had in mind. I was infuriated by my own ineradicable tendency to “design”, “to embroider”, as I called it, to make the drawing beautiful at any cost. My creations came out weak and superficial.
Finally, the day came when I realized – I could do nothing. I plunged into a severe depression. For hours, I was lying in bed with my eyes shut, doing absolutely nothing. After a while, staring into my inner darkness, with my eyes shut, I started seeing something. I saw floral patterns, bright and beautiful, perfectly color coordinated too. I decided to reproduce these visions, diligently copying what I saw. After floral designs, came human faces and landscapes…
This type of drawing absorbed me to such extent that one day I asked myself – where are they coming from? Are they mine or were they sent to me? What are they, in general? It so happened that at that time I met a good psychologist who helped me to come to some very important revelations. I attended his seminars, and started reading books on psychology.
It was then that I discovered Carl Jung and his teachings. I studied his works, and, to my greatest amazement and joy, I realized that some of his revelations sounded just like mine. I studied his method of active imagination, and that changed me forever. Jung was the genius who showed me that creative work and self-study are interrelated. Jung thought dreams and fantasies could be meaningful. He asked his patients to draw their dreams and fantasies.
That’s what he wrote about it in his work “Aims of Psychotherapy”: “It is done to produce an impact. The process of materialization of the image forces a long and detailed consideration, due to which its impact is revealed. This method makes a person independent in his creative work. Drawing himself he also becomes able to form himself. In endless images, he tries to exhaustively picture what acts in him – in order to find something always unknown and always strange – the deepest fundamentals of our own soul. Due to this, such changes of positions and values, such removal of the center of gravity take place, which I am unable to describe. One may liken it to the Earth’s discovery of the Sun as a center of the other planets’ orbits and its own terrestrial as well”.
Drawing images which emerge from within often reveals archetypal content. “This way her (the primitive psyche’s) claims which disturb conscious are being dissolved or satisfied. Painting alone is not sufficient, however. In addition to this, emotional and intellectual comprehension of images is necessary due to which they not only become understandable, but can be also morally integrated by conscious. Moreover, they must be interpreted synthetically”.
Following Jung’s advice and using his method of dream analysis, I started studying symbols of my dreams. The results were shocking. I came to the conclusion that there was something (or rather Somebody) inside me whose life and opinions did not necessarily coincide with mine. I seemed that this Somebody has been living his own life and has his own goals.
I felt strongly that my most important task was to establish a contact with this Somebody. I think that psychological approach to the creative process promotes maturing of an artist’s personality. The more we grow, the more light comes to our souls. Carl Jung said: “It’s no use to praise and to preach light when nobody can see it. It would be much more useful to cultivate the art of seeing. Because it’s obvious that many cannot establish the connection between sacred figures and their own souls; they cannot see what correlating images and in what extent exist in their own unconscious. In order to make those images visible, it is necessary to clear the way for the ability to see. Frankly speaking, it is a mystery for me how it is possible to attain it without psychology, without touching a soul”.
As I have connected to my inner world, I was able to see things more clearly in my normal life. Some of the old beliefs died, some became less important. It’s like going through a purge and getting rid of trash. No, the process is not over yet. As matter of fact, it will probably end when I leave this world. Until then – I am on a mission to learn, to grow, and to create.