Life, Paint & Passion

Life, Paint & Passion: Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression
Michelle Cassou & Stewart Cubley

“Our experience, after working with many different types of people, is that a hidden wave of passion lies just below the surface of most people’s lives, a passion yearning to be liberated from the paralyzing myths of talent, skill, inspiration, accomplishment, success and failure, and just plain not being good enough. This book is about daring to let that passion speak. It is time to throw off the shackles, to reclaim that which every child knows and is taught to forget: the essential right to create without interference or shame.”

A Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam Book published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons ISBN 0-87477-810-7

Read what author Natalie Goldberg says about The Painting Experience in her Forward to Life, Paint and Passion below.

A note from the authors:

“It is our hope that as the chapters unfold, you will discover a growing excitement about painting, an instinctual urge to play with color and form as you did when you were a child. Play is one of the most basic and primitive elements of the human psyche, and ultimately art is simply a deep and essential play.

Table of Contents

  1. To Create is to Be Lost
  2. The Body Knows
  3. Resistance
  4. Is It Therapy?
  5. The Myth of Inspiration
  6. You Are Not Your Painting
  7. Creative Destruction
  8. Art Process as Spiritual Practice
  9. Chaos, The Soil of Creation
  10. Awaken Your Image Maker
  11. Feeling and Painting
  12. Levels of Completion
  13. You are Lucky  if You Don’t Know How to Paint!
  14. Do I Have Talent?

Forward by Natalie Goldberg

In working with Stewart and Michell, I found I had to give up my idea of what a painting should be: portraying a beautiful scene in a pleasing way. Instead, it is about the alive act of moment-by-moment listening to the flashes of thought at the periphery of perception, and responding in color and form. They taught me what I knew to be true in writing but now had to learn in another medium: that creativity is a process, that it takes practice and intuition, that it is full of surprise and discovery and cannot be known ahead of time.

Anyone with the desire to create should read this book, for what is written here reaches far into the psyche and the realm of human suffering and delight. It cannot be digested at one sitting, but that is the great luxury of books. This one can and should be read again and again: the first time, perhaps, with surprise; the fourth time maybe for serious study. Life, Paint and Passion provides what every creative spirit thirsts for; a long, slow drink of the experience of the imagination.”

Natalie Goldberg

This book is an extended deep meditation on what it means to be alive and to express one’s true being. It is about mining the uncensored self, that part of us that is our life’s blood, the true foundation of creativity. I am moved by the writing, which is full of urgency and dedication; Michell and Stewart want share what they know. And they know a lot! This book is thorough, detailed, and leaves no aspect of the force of inspiration and vision untouched. I almost envy them their medium—painting seems so delicious, lush, exuberant. Color seems the gateway to the place where words falter.

“I have learned much about painting from Stewart and Michell. But learning is not limited to the physical act of applying paint to paper. Through The Painting Experience, I have located crannies of resistance in my mind and opened them up. I’ve been freed from concepts of inadequacy, from limiting opinions of what’s beautiful, from censoring emotions and desires. At one point I bolted from the workshop to finish writing a chapter that had been giving me much difficulty and was suddenly revealed as my brush stroked the paper.

~ Natalie Goldberg