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Paint Mojo with Tracy Verdugo

Paint Mojo Austin

I absolutely am in love with Tracy Verdugo’s Paint Mojo approach to painting.  It is intuitive, based in a love of symbolism, an invitation to stretch yourself and let go of what painting is supposed to look like….it is beautiful and messy all in the same moment.  And sometimes the messies is where the beauty really surprises you!

I wanna share the evolution of my painting so you can get a feel for the way the workshop went.  But realize I can’t boil down a two day workshop into a small post.  So if you want the expanded version, you will have to catch Tracy the next time she comes around or….OR….. Head over and sign up for her upcoming Paint Mojo book.  (Can you say, Santa’s wish list??! I am eagerly awaiting mine!)

Pre-order Paint Mojo by Tracy Verdugo

Wanna dive into my Paint Mojo process with me?  Come on in! 

Tracy had us start our large piece by adding symbols to our painting.  This is the same way she started the first Paint Mojo I attended and I loved the idea so much that I have created a Symbol Journal that I have been filling with interesting symbols for the last year.

Symbol Journal 1

Inside my Symbol Journal, I collect and record personal symbols that have shown up in my  life with deep meaning or that have come in for a day that seem to capture the moment in a certain way.   When I apply them to my paintings, they flesh out a new story for me.

Inside Symbol Journal

Some of the symbols you might see in my painting (and their meanings for me) include a flower (growth), spiral (going inward), doorway (entering another realm), heart with cross at the bottom (neverending love), flaming chalice (sacred woman), female reproductive system (personal healing), and pelvic bone (cradle of creation)… to name a few.

Paint Mojo Austin 1

Next we added color washes.  These have the potential to bring the painting to life and give it cohesion.

Paint Mojo 2

It may take a patient eye to look for differences between these two pics.  At this layer we took small paintings we did as automatic responses to a poem and added them to the painting.  It was a stretch, but added more dimension and interest to the canvas.

Paint Mojo 3

I know it is a big jump from this image to the next.  My camera gave out on me, so some of it will remain a mystery.

Mermaid 500

At the very end, we looked into the mess of colors, symbols, textures, and marks that we had created and attempted to cull something out of it.  I sat with trust and tried to be open.  I felt a twinge of fear that I might not find something or that I might fall into having to force an image out, but in the end, a woman showed herself to me.

The skirt (or waist as it is now) was the first part to peek out.  Then, as I worked with her, she showed me her fabulous mermaid tail.   I was overwhelmed once I got her sketched out.  So much so, that I started to crying.  The image touched something deep inside.

I continued to work with her and soon, the moon over her womb appeared.  It was perfect.  The symbols I had chosen were my way of calling up the feelings and themes that circle around the uterine cancer diagnosis that I got this summer and the upcoming surgery that will ultimate leave me physically unable to have children.  I went to the workshop knowing I wanted to “go there”….knowing I wanted to give myself space to explore what not having a uterus will mean.  I also wished to invite myself to a new understanding of the womb itself.  As I painted, I asked myself, Is the womb a physical thing or could it be more?

The mermaid showing up as she did helped me somehow re-vision myself.  Uterus or not, I am a woman.  Or as the painting whispered to me that day in the circle of my Paint Mojo sisters….I am a Womb-Moon.  From the day I was born until the day I die….I am a creatrix… a supracreative… a spinner of dreams into reality…. a holder of space for the birthing of delicate cries for grand existence.  Take any part of the body away and I am still as much so….and perhaps with the trance-formation, even more.

That’s my mojo….ultimately. 

Paint Mojo Austin

Big thanks to Tracy for unleashing such beauty from each of us, for opening a circle that could hold our inner world as we turned it into an outer work, and for guiding our hands and hearts on the journey to discover our MOJO!   You are a dear friend and a gift!

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

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14 Comments
  1. Stunning and healing! I can’t imagine the cleansing and release you felt after the completion of this beauty!

  2. Beautiful,powerful…tears are in my eyes.

  3. I love that you choose to share this event early in your story telling of your trip Rachel! I have been anxious to see what you created and it is wonderful, beautiful and full of stories, just like I knew it would be. You got so much more mojo out of your experience with Tracy. I went mearly to learn a technique, but you put a spin on it to allow even more to open up inside of you, to discover more, to be open to more. I love that about you. You are so intuned with the Universe and all it’s lessons in a way I would like to emulate. Bravo and well done!

    • Linda…I had a leg up on you. I have been playing with the Paint Mojo process for a year now. This was my second retreat. The first time, I felt like I was just blindly shuffling through the steps. But, that was a good experience too. That kind of painting…that kind of art and creativity just jazzes me up. It is similar to the way I painted before I met her. Her’s is just more of a solid practice. When I have taken dance and theatre classes, that is what really turned me on. Loved going there with the paints.

  4. Rachel, I just did a 1 day mojo last weekend with the Amazing Tracy. I loved the provess & her she is amazing. I would love to do a fly girls mojo class. She won’t be back in the US until 2015 :(. Her daughter is a senior next year and she chooses to be present for her, which is so admirable. I would love the 8 day class in Bali though. August 2014

  5. Rachel, Thank you for sharing your powerful experience of the Paint Mojo weekend I was so fortunate to attend with you. I had no idea all of this was part of your experience and I’m so grateful you shared it. It was a very healing weekend for you…beautiful! My prayers go out into the Universe for complete healing of your physical body. I’m so glad our paths have crossed. I will look forward to hearing more about your successful healing and your journey. ♥

    • Lyn, it was a lovely weekend. So many fun women to sit in circle with. Thank you for your well-wishes. I will soak them in! Looking forward to connecting more. Thank you so much for reaching out!!!

  6. what an awsome journey for you… as you spoke of symbols it stirred the question in me of what is my new intrest in rod iron fences and the stories behind them.. I actually stopped a couple of weeks ago and took pictures of the fence and discovered a beautiful tree with lilly like flowers and thorns on the bark.. I remember just being in auh of the whole experiance… thank you for sharing!

  7. What a beautiful and powerful painting to document a beautiful and powerful experience. It’s always a delight to see how you dig deep and gather the magic.

  8. A wonderful post and reminder of that beautiful process. I was in the workshop the next weekend and loved it too. I love your beautiful mermaid painting and the symbolism. ♥

  9. I’m dying to know what came after the addition of mini pics re: the poem. Going from those first paintings to the last I was mesmerized
    Thank you for this.

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