The Forward Journey: A New Series Begun…

The Forward Journey

 The acknowledgment of divine, positive energy infinitely abundant and available within the universe, and ones willingness to be honest, to learn, to grow and to love, in order to live with ones utmost potential.

   I painted this piece in 2010 for a show called “The Art of Spirituality” which was conceptually based on how art and spirituality are interconnected. This piece titled, “The Forward Journey”, portrays an energetic clearing and release of energy from deep within the grounding roots of one’s self. It is this process of self transformation and awakening that gives rise to the higher self and one’s greater purpose. This piece represents the beginning of that journey and transformation. When I finished this piece I actually asked spirit, ” What should I title this piece?” and what I heard was, “The Forward Journey”. I then asked spirit, “What is the Forward Journey?, What does this mean?” Then I heard and spoke these words, “The acknowledgment of divine, positive energy, infinitely abundant and available within the universe, and ones willingness to be honest, to learn, to grow and to love, in order to live with ones utmost potential.” Since then, I became more open to this truth and went through many self transformative and spiritual journeys. Since then, and in addition to many other experiences, I studied and received my Reiki Master’s level certification. In combination with my artwork, writing, and therapeutic & expressive arts classes, the healing gift of Reiki allows me to share even more of this “Forward Journey” with others.

I am deeply passionate about the work that I do and feel so blessed to share it with you. -Tessa D’Agostino

        The following was written in 2010 and explains the Forward Journey in my life at that time. It is a conclusive view into my artistic and spiritual life and represents how I have arrived at where I stand today.

    The Forward Journey

                 Art has always been a majestic source of wonder in my life, yet I never knew it would lead me to such rich discoveries.  When beginning my artistic career, it was never my goal to use my skill to portray realistic subjects.  I was always more interested in using different mediums to portray the ongoing moments of the intuitive artistic process.  I admire this process because it allows me to uncover what has been hidden within, while bringing something to existence that has not ever been prior.  Understanding different art mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and writing, allows me to create freely; unlimited by my own design.  Realistically, by unbound limitation, everything that surrounds us could become an art medium at any given moment by choice.  In addition, Art is not necessarily represented by the medium, or its skilled use, but rather the artist’s portrayed concept by use of it.  Art is not just the finished product of expression or an audience’s reaction to it, but most importantly and most overlooked, the fruition of its existence.

The act of art making is an intuitive and magical dance from within, represented by form.   In a deep creative process, it is as if the art is pulled from deep within the chasms of the soul. I think of it much as a cleansing. It is a birth of something not seen before, and a reflection not yet experienced.  It often takes quite sometime to understand the meaning behind a new creation.  I find it essential to my being to create in this manner, for it not only accentuates artistic growth but also heightens understanding of the self. This process of working has not only been a source of therapy for much of my life, but has often revealed a connection to something much greater and spiritually significant.

The creative force is an intuitive journey and spiritual path.  It can be difficult to explain to those that have not experienced its power.  It is a manifestation of something divine and magical, intriguing and unexplainable.  Since I primarily work intuitively, I have no idea what I will create until I start and work to a finished piece. It is a process where one must in a sense, let go of physicality and connect the mind to the medium.  Although your movement and choice of material creates the piece, it is as if your hands become the portal to your mind, your subconscious, and ultimately your soul being.  I find this method of creation also exists quite readily in the writing process.

There are many instances while creative writing, where I actually forget I am writing.  It is as if I am completely unaware I have been writing for minutes at a time.  It is like a day-dream; your mind takes you far somewhere else.  When you come to, you don’t have any real recollection of what was happening while you were day dreaming, but your eyes were open.  When this happens in my writing, I am often astonished to realize what I have written.  Often the words are very inspirational and seem like divine messages of guidance. Actually, I sincerely believe that is just what they are.  This also occurs when I intuitively sing and create lyrics instantaneously.  When this happens I forget that I am physically standing in time amongst people or in my home alone.  I will be singing  words intentionally but not realizing the words I speak.  In my mind I will see images, while my words usually describe what I see.  It’s very difficult to explain but it happens quite often when I go deep into a creative zone.

When I create sculpture, paint, or draw, I will reach a level of mind where the process also leads me elsewhere.  I may experience different thoughts than those prior to the work’s beginning. Other times, I begin resolving issues I had not realize still bother me.  At these times, I can ask myself questions and receive answers.  I truly believe when this occurs it is my inner-self, knowledgeable and free from life’s influences.  Occasionally, these sensations are quite powerful and I must believe someone or some spirit is guiding me with kind words and divine knowledge.

When I draw and paint freely with no preconceived direction in mind, mystical experiences arise as well.  The difference with visual representation in contrast to written, is that I must reflect on the piece and internally digest its message.  Mostly, pieces reflect something going on in my life or a struggle of some kind I have been dealing with.  Upon reflecting, visually dissecting the piece and how it makes me feel, I arise to a conclusion or viewpoint I had not considered prior to its creation; a heightened sense of awareness because of the creative process.

The creative process is both mysterious and unpredictable. I once created a drawing where I worked diligently through hours of the night.  It was like being underwater and not coming up for air.  There was a drive inside me I could not explain, a fight I had to win.  When I was finished with the piece and reflected on it, I saw something disturbing within it.  The drawing I now title, The Exiting (can be seen on website), represents a very dominant amount of negative energy that was residing in me.  In the drawing there are demonic type beings in flight around a slumping female figure. The figure sits upon a spinning sphere within this place of torment.  I felt it was a positive release of something negative within me.  I realized it represented something I was holding onto. As I reflected, I recalled some of my thoughts during its creation.  I realized I was thinking quite a bit about a complicated and unresolved issue with a friend.  I hadn’t thought about the issue in sometime, but apparently it was deep within me and forced its way out into the drawing.  In this way the artistic process is very therapeutic and meditative.  One can learn much about the inner-self not only through the creative process but also through reflection of finished work.

Through my studio art studies and independent focus on therapeutic art processes at the Museum School of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University, I have grown to understand the values of the creative process not only in spiritual and personal significance, but also psychologically and therapeutically.  Through my own life struggles I have learned the extreme benefits of the creative process and live a healthier life because of it.  It is also through my education, art experience, and heightened intuition, I was able to realized my purpose in life; to teach and aid others in growth and understanding of the self through the artistic process. I can proudly say I began that dream in the year of 2008, and I am still exercising those gifts.  Currently I teach studio arts at various galleries, as well as therapeutic and expressive arts at a variety of residential facilities and organizations.  Working with my students is a blessing.   Each day they share their discoveries, new ideas, and admiration of fellow artists.  It is a gift to teach the benefits of art making.  The experience is always unique and always rewarding.  Each class I learn more, not only about the students but also about myself.  They teach me to smile more often and to laugh.  They teach me to challenge what has not been done before, and I teach them artistic confidence, creative reflection, and artistic freedom.

My latest painting, The Forward Journey 5’x 4’ acrylic is both spiritually and personally rooted.  As I write this I am still not finished with it, but as you hold this piece of writing in your hand it exists in full.  Time will only reveal its true meaning.  As I close this written piece I leave you with words of my most recent reflection upon it…

The Forward Journey

The acknowledgment of divine, positive energy infinitely abundant and available within the universe, and ones willingness to be honest, to learn, to grow and to love, in order to live with ones utmost potential.

Tessa D’Agostino

BFA Tufts University

Published on February 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful! I am finding a connection through art and I have no art training – I simply use it as a connection to my inner being and releasing both positive and negative energy.

    I am amazed how painting with acrylics have given me a different awareness of myself spiritually and how it frees my mind of all the static.

    Peace, Love, Light

  2. Hi Tessa,
    Your art and your mind connect in unique images. They make visual something ancient, yet remembered in our thoughts . I love to look at them.

    Reading your comments regarding personal creative experience is interesting and thought provoking.


    • Thanks Marlene!!! I truly appreciate your feedback! I was just thinking of you the other day!! I hope all is well with you and that your creating more beautiful paintings! Your style and interest in women in history is a beautiful concept I hope you continue. Thanks for checking in. Perhaps we will cross paths soon. I will have work up for a month at the Cultural Center in Dennis for the month of June and a recpetion on June 3rd. I will keep you posted 😉

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