Chapter 4 begins her second section of the book, dedicated toward the witnessing within the studio practice. She calls the reader’s attention toward the social change of system structures such as governments, churches, schools, families. These rigid structures of “good vs. evil,” provided sufficient distractions to promote one’s survival. Another of more humanist approach melds a peacefulness within a chaotic world. The author’s remaining chapters are devoted to the communal direction she offers toward building one’s spiritual path. Witnessing another’s creation, begins awareness to the appreciation of differences. Here begins her reader’s task of understanding life by relaxing old judgments of self or others. She writes, “the studio plays a part in the subversive process of learning to trust our inner authority and to question all received ideas.” Allen shares her experiences of having a student within her studio, experiencing the witnessing of others’ images. She had a facilitator instruct the students with the use of paints and materials, and give the direction for her workshop. The instruction was to make some marks on a piece of paper with directed questions such as “choose a color. what sound does the crayon make as it goes across the piece of paper.” The idea is to become aware of all sensations in the making of an image and to be mindful of their energy within themselves. When the artist believes their image is complete, they tape it to the wall. At this time, the students are instructed to write their observances about the process they were witness to - for themselves, seeing others images, the sounds, the energy, etc. Dialog, another method, is where the student asks questions of the image. The author ends the chapter with her discoveries about witnessing. As one re-creates their world over and over, their divine image is part of a larger whole. “When re-creating became recreation, creative activity began to be increasingly mediated by commerce.” In other words, what’s the product, and how good or bad is it. Allen shares her joy in being witness to her students, re-creating themselves as well as having the dialog with image to regain a sense of wholeness.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art is a Spiritual Path for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.