In the Weeds

10" x 30"

stretched canvas

acrylic paint, collage, Sharpie, heavy body matte gel medium, texture paste, acrylic ink, paint marker, clarinet rods, varnish

In June 2022, I tried to create a freeform painting centered on ‘rest,’ as I was on my annual personal retreat, and that’s what I was trying to do. I completed the first layer, unsure of where it needed to go, took it home, and let it sit in my studio for a year while things unraveled.

In May 2023, as I was preparing for the next personal retreat, I looked at this painting and finally understood what it had been trying to tell me. I took it to my retreat for a second time and finished it. This was the result.

Top (Weeds): the top third of the painting represents being “in the weeds,” a reference to a term often used with my agency friends about getting sucked into the minutia of the work, particularly in regards to development, troubleshooting, etc. The collage is actually created from software documentation that I spent hours poring over, a primary example of this tendency.

Middle (Blue Epicenter): this is the epicenter of being, stillness, quiet knowing. The place you go when you sit with yourself. It’s always there, it always knows, it’s separate, untouched, but easily forgotten when life gets chaotic; and that’s when returning here matters the most.

Bottom (Murky Water): there’s debris below the surface, a warning of what happens when ego is the driver, when there is no epicenter.

I wrote about the complicated, crazy path that led to this painting in the essay: The Wisdom of Paint and Intuition.

Weeds mixed media painting by Sarah M. Schumacher