Art of Reckoning

"Scorched," mixed media collage by Courtney Putnam

Tonight I created an art piece of reckoning, which is what I also call “the art of dealing with something.” When I create art of reckoning, the pieces tend to be intense, darker, and somewhat disturbing. As you can see from this piece, there are no sweet birds or calm-faced Buddhas here. What is here is a slice of my healing process — my reckoning with my melanoma diagnosis in June and my reconciling with the sun.  In a summer as beautiful as it has been here in Seattle, how does one who is no longer able to be in the sun celebrate in the gorgeous rays, penetrating heat, and vitamin D infusing qualities?  How do I enjoy summer without swimming? (My wound is still healing.)  And how do I express the shadow side of my process — the part that isn’t very positive, isn’t a cheerleader, and well, isn’t full of cheer?

Everyone one of us has things we reckon with — things we are dealing with (however big or small).  And sometimes we don’t feel like smiling or putting a positive spin on our condition. Sometimes, we need to make art out of pain and just let our feelings be before we return to our path of positive affirmations and healing intentions.

Sometimes we need to focus into the deep caverns of our “stuff” before rising back up and gaining perspective again. Feelings of Ah, things aren’t so bad! and I am whole and healthy! will come again. For now, though, get messy. It’s like splashing in the mud and showing the muck underneath our efforts to try so diligently to put on a face of strength, peace, and calm.  Reckoning art allows us to grimace, growl, and complain. It gives room for self-pity, loathing, grief, depression, and even anger.

I think it’s important to allow this reckoning side out; it’s human to express it.  I’ll get back to my Buddhas and birds in a bit, but for now, I need some time to splatter myself with mud. Care to join me?

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About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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5 Responses to Art of Reckoning

  1. bridgette says:

    “Art of Reckoning”- that is a perfect phrase. Powerful piece, Courtney.

  2. I hear you, Courtney. And this work speaks to me. You might find the June 2nd entry on my blog helpful as well.
    hugs cj

  3. Binky says:

    I LOVE this piece Courtney. It’s genuine and real, muddy or not.

  4. The sun and I parted ways many years ago. There is reason to rejoice in the shade. 🙂

    Your artwork is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  5. Thank you for your lovely and supportive comments, everyone. May we all enjoy our muddy, shady, messy places for they help us grow. Peace, Courtney

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