Dark Night of the Soul

Greetings Friends,

Do you sometimes feel like your life is falling apart? Welcome to my world! I have a lot of stuff going on right now, and it’s challenging to find time for my art.

Amongst other things, my cat Luci is not feeling well. She’s having digestive issues, and I worry about her. I can’t be creative when my cat is sick.

I did manage to get a couple of days in the studio last week. I hadn’t painted at all for a month, and it’s always a bit tricky to get back into it after a hiatus. It’s hard to pick up where I left off, and I feel tentative and unsure.

I started off with two paintings on natural linen that I had been thinking about for a while. They turned out awful — see picture below. The raw linen soaked up the paint like a sponge, which didn’t allow it to move or blend. They look boring and ugly

Cassandra Tondro, ugly paintings

It was only after I got these two “failures” out of the way that I was able to let go of control and paint something more interesting and new. I was fueled by anger and disgust with myself for creating such appalling art. My emotions allowed me to take risks with my colors, marks and design.

The painting below is the result. It’s titled “Dark Night of the Soul,” which is what my life feels like right now. Old things have fallen away, but new things haven’t yet arrived to take their place. I’m in a limbo state of not quite knowing who I am or what it is that I’m supposed to be doing.

This piece depicts the uncertainty and fear of the dark night, as well as the excitement of a potential fresh start brewing underneath.

Click on the images for more information about this painting.

Cassandra Tondro, "Dark Night of the Soul," abstract art

“Dark Night of the Soul,” 30 x 40 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Detail images of the painting:

Cassandra Tondro, "Dark Night of the Soul," abstract art

Cassandra Tondro, "Dark Night of the Soul," abstract art

Cassandra Tondro, "Dark Night of the Soul," abstract art

Cassandra Tondro, "Dark Night of the Soul," abstract art

I like the way the texture turned out on this piece. It looks like sgraffito with the black scratched back to reveal a design underneath, but it’s not. The vertical and horizontal lines give it a rich tapestry feel.

What has your experience been with things falling apart, and what was the outcome? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

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11 Comments

  1. Cassandra,
    I think we are our worst critic. I actually liked the grey pieces. My daughter told me once, that you will not always like what you create, but someone will come along and love a piece you don’t like. I have found this to be true. Yeh to you for continuing with your creations.

  2. Hi Cassandra, the paintings on linen are actually really lovely, they have a feeling of fragility and are a subtle dance of colours. İn contrast, Dark night of the soul is a strong statement piece of undercurrents beginning to surface. Different pieces of art created within different moments.

  3. Dear Friend,

    You are being far too critical of yourself and your feelings. I have 87 years under my belt and some of those years were not too enjoyable. My conclusion at this time is that I am more content than happy, far easier on my soul. I do enjoy your musings, especially the one about the cake mixes.

    Also,the linen paintings are truly lovely, gentle and calming. Funny how we all see things with different eyes.

    Hope it goes well with your kitty, I know you will do your best with her condition.

    Mary Ellen

    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Mary Ellen. My cat is starting to improve with an intense protocol of homeopathics, supplements and flower essences. It’s been a real struggle to get her to be able to eat again. I think she’s on the mend.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Linda and Sandra. How funny that you like the linen pieces! I guess you’re right, that we all have different aesthetics. What appeals to one doesn’t appeal to another.

  5. I think you are so wonderful to have the strength to be so honest.I believe we all have these feelings but hide when we have them.It is one of the reasons I like you so much.The thing that helps me more than anything is to make my self write all the fears,angers ,doubts in long streams of consciousness.It helps me realize what Is going on and what you are doing by sharing with us.My little my dog is my constant companion so I can imagine how you feel,hope your baby is well soon.You are not alone and I love your black piece.I think the pieces that touch people’s heart are the ones that come from the soul.A very strong piece!You are not alone with what you are feeling.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Donna. You’re right — we’re not encouraged to share anything negative. Everything is supposed to be fine, and when someone asks, we usually say that we are fine, even when we’re not. It’s sad. I finally came to the conclusion that I don’t really have anything to lose by telling the truth, especially here, in this newsletter. I hope that my authenticity allows others to be more open as well. I appreciate you reminding me that I’m not alone. It helps to hear that.

  6. I have kept a journal, especially when life just seemed to be a struggle. The other night I was cleaning and found one of my journal and started reading. It was amazing; I couldn’t believe I was reading about myself. It was also an eye opener to my many ” dark nights of the soul”. I’m on the other side of that now and hope I never return there! Well, I know I my heart there will be other dark nights, but I’ll just pull out my journal and start writing!!! I wish you peace. With love, Susan

    1. Lovely story, Susan. No one wants to go through a dark night, but the good part of it is that there’s often big changes and transformation on the other side. And I think the dark night is necessary for that transformation to occur.

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