June 7, 2006 | Now that I am through the Commotion of my art exhibit, it’s been on my heart to say something more about the intuitive and creative process of making art…

When I was 7 until I was 17, I took private group art lessons with an accomplished artist in my town. There I learned printmaking, collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, you name it. For three hours every Friday afternoon, in an atmosphere of classical music and all the tea and cookies in the world (it seemed), my fellow students and I worked alongside each other, each of us in our worlds. That’s where I discovered that artmaking nurtures a deep, interior space inside of me. Let’s call it a virgin forest. A safe haven from all other commotion. This was and is my modesty zone.

A virgin forest is wild, untouched, unexploited. It’s full of growth, overrun with life and a sense of mystery. Kind of like what has become of my room at my mother’s hands since I moved out three years ago. The often quiet, meditative, passionate place of making art gave me room to express and probe my fantasies and fears during my teenage years. Toward the end of college, it opened up a refuge for me when my mother was diagnosed with cancer – a private place to battle and heal. More recently, bringing my art into the art world, bringing that inner sanctum into the spotlight has been its own rough journey to remain true to the voice God has given me.

What experience do you have of your own “virgin forest”? Do you think young girls and women (and also young men) can better preserve their dignity and modesty when they tap into art or another reflective space?

Read the discussion on the blog

Erin Palazzolo, 26, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Williams College. She is also an exhibiting artist and holds her Master's degree in Art Therapy from The College of New Rochelle, NY.

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