Yvette Swan on Waking Up and Awareness

Now more than ever before has the process of painting turned away from end goals and attachment to outcome. In its place, art is fast becoming a key complement to therapy and meditative practices. The abstract, intuitive work of Yvette Swan is a clear indication of this, with painting being just one of the media used to open up to a heightened sense of awareness, and ask some of the bigger questions in life. In a year flooded with unpredictability, Yvette’s journey exploring consciousness has paved a gentle approach to embracing the times we’re in and seeing a sense of hope for the future.

Yvette Swan at the canvas.

Have there been any key moments that have influenced your artistic journey to where you are now?

Yes – being deeply interested in discovering who we truly are and what is our purpose for being. The discovery of truth, awareness, and that there is a much bigger purpose for being here has been integral. This on-going discovery gives life and purpose to my creative avenues. I find any paths I create within, which includes painting, is simply an extension to express this discovery.

Within each painting is some kind of insight, love, awareness that I wish to share with people. This may or may not be obvious to the person viewing the artwork, but somewhere, they are realising the message. Our ability in what we realise is way more vast than we are necessarily conscious of. This is why I don’t use my painting as a platform to criticise and react to the world, but rather convey a beautiful message of our true nature as beings in a temporary human form. We are more than a body and mind. That is just a function while in this world. But what I’m interested in is who is the source of this form? Who is here whether a body is born and a body dies? Who is it that never dies? This self-realisation of our true self has deeply influenced my artistic journey.

The Discovery expresses our internal exploration of our true nature.

Do you have a particular way of working when it’s just you alone in your studio?

It’s a funny thing when working alone in the studio: when I am completely in the zone of creativity, I don’t feel alone! When opened to this space, I do not notice whether I am physically alone or not – it fades into the background. This is a deep discovery for any person. When the mind surrenders and rests in the background one has the opportunity to realise we are never alone. Even that word can indicate what is deeper, “al-one” (all one!) This is where every human has the ability to open their awareness and realise we are never alone and emotions like loneliness, sadness, and so on, are a trick of the mind.

Music and film encourage creativity for Yvette Swan as well. This piece Sahara, for instance, was inspired by the camera work of The English Patient.

Have there been any key moments that have influenced your artistic journey to where you are now?

Yes, I notice this happens when in life I become too stuck in the mind. It jams up the artistic creative flow. Identifying with the mind way of living too much can reduce the freedom in expressing creatively. There are no rules to what shifts this, it can be different each time. But essentially letting go into the unknown helps very much! If I’m face to face with a canvas and it is not where I wish it to go then it’s great to just let go and let fast energy make marks on the canvas versus standing back and plotting it out too much. Sometimes this unknown expression then opens a certain look and it’s wonderful, and I wouldn’t have created that unless I had let go! A new style can reveal itself. So beautiful.

What does The Sound of Night Skies look like to you? Here, Yvette Swan gives her abstract interpretation.

I also love being inspired by others, whether that is looking through art books, seeing exhibitions, watching films, and feeling that creative energy. I’m also deeply inspired by attending awareness teaching live events. It’s such an amazing and heartfelt experience when a group of people come together who are interested in truth. This opens the space within myself very deeply and supports my creativity very much.

Your solo and group exhibitions include the Wynne at AGNSW and the Fleurieu Peninsula Biennale, among others. How did it feel being a finalist in these prizes?

It’s always wonderful to open to bigger arenas and experiences. I was very excited and happy to be a part of these art prizes. It’s great to be part of the art world, come out of the studio and paint clothes for a moment and dress up to meet people who also share a love of art! It becomes a complete experience and brings joy and passion to the forefront which is great fuel to take back into the studio to create the next works or exhibition.

Yvette Swan in the studio.

Have you noticed a transition in what you are communicating through your art? What’s currently on the easel?

In my first exhibition I was communicating more the day-to-day walkings of a human being and how I perceived life, the world, myself, and relationships back then. After that first exhibition I felt like I completed something around talking about “relationship”. I did not need to discuss it further in that way from my limited perception. I felt a yearning for something bigger. This is when I started to read awareness books and go to Buddhist meditation classes.

It was very inspiring because that deep longing inside that can never be fulfilled through other people or events was spoken to. That deep longing was a signal that awareness was trying to get my attention to discover something deeper that was here. It’s been a discovery ever since. As I open to my true aware self this supports any challenges I have in life or with people. It is all a reflection and a moment to surrender.

Working on Closer Than the Night Breeze. Click here to see the finished piece!

Currently I am painting works that speak of the awakening that is occurring now on the planet. It’s so wonderful. People are realising who they are, or are starting to realise this. It’s quicker than ever that people are having awareness realised. In the past it was very slow but everything in the universe has sped up so our awakening has hit the accelerator! Massive challenges are occurring for the people of the world but in these challenges lies truth and this is the actual driving force that is supporting us to realise the truth of ourselves. We are coming home to love. It’s extraordinary.

2020 has been an unpredictable rollercoaster of a year. How has this affected your practice?

Actually I have created some of my best work! This year is certainly not what it seems. I feel it has given many people a lot of space to open to their creativity and to also open to something deeper within. For me this year has given me an opportunity to dedicate my time to completing my Advanced Psychotherapist course and to create a large body of paintings. I have worked with people through one-to-one awareness sessions and now being an Advanced Psychotherapist I have even more depth and skills to support people in this. I also have created a series of Wellbeing classes and retreats for adults and art & wellbeing classes for children and young people. These will be starting towards the end of October. I’m looking forward to supporting people of all ages discover who they are. Such a joy.

So yes, 2020 for me has opened more creativity and awareness and now it’s coming together in ways where I am able to support others in this. I feel next year onwards many things will blossom for people and old systems and old ways of mind identification will fall away. The aware human is opening and from this awareness the look of the world will follow. True change comes from within then the outside starts to reflect this. We have spent so much effort trying to change the outside world but that is like having things back to front. The world is the macro of the micro. Through our own awakening we as one affect the whole. It’s very exciting times we are in…watch this space called planet earth!

“There is balance in a seemingly imbalanced way. Isn’t that the flow of life here on earth? Everything looks imbalanced and chaotic at times, but beyond all that there is a purpose to it.” Featured: Within the Stillness

Given the uncertainty of what’s ahead, do you have any small goals over the next chapter of your practice?

Hopefully if all opens back up in the world, next March I have an art expo in Sydney. I’d also love to take my awareness work to the world in some shape or form. It’s great having Zoom available now so the world and I can easily come together. It would also be wonderful to travel overseas at some stage to support people with what I offer through sessions, classes, retreats – I would love that. I’d also love to show my artwork overseas as well. I have ideas percolating!

Trust the Space is a reminder to slow down and observe the stillness and space in between fluctuations of emotions and actions.

Information on Yvette’s upcoming retreats and sessions is available through her website, Aware Love. Discover more of her creations through her Bluethumb profile here.

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  1. Sandra Messner. says:

    What a fabulous interview. Such amazing work from her heart straight to the canvas. Loved reading it all. Sandra Messner.

  2. merril thompson says:

    the comments about this year and how it affecting the world are so much like mine! great to have some confirmation.

  3. Grace says:

    Love the art and amazing interview

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