I accept my sudden paintings and music as personal proof that we can spend an entire lifetime without once tapping into our brain’s hidden universe.
I was already 59 when I first experienced the overwhelming compulsion of a sudden artistic output that erupted into my life.
Spontaneous paintings and piano compositions began pouring out of me in fantastical flows.
The eruption was especially astonishing because I have no study or training whatsoever in either painting or the piano, and throughout my life have never shown the slightest interest in either.
I do not draw, sketch or paint, and there has never been a piano in my house.
At the surface level I know absolutely nothing about painting or piano techniques.
Within the hidden universe of the brain, however, I clearly do know and I clearly do understand, all that I need to about how to paint and how to play the piano.READ MORE
I now have direct access to a new consciousness I could not readily tap before my sudden savant eruption in 2013.
More and more, that’s what my being a sudden artist actually means.
And one astonishment after another emerges.
A few months ago, I took a closer look at From Source No.74, an acrylic on canvas I spontaneously painted last November.READ MORE
In 2013, I experienced a sudden artistic eruption – the first in July and the second in October – that unleashed astonishing new abilities to instantaneously paint and play the piano.
Now, just over a year later, as clarity about what happened emerges, I am able to think more coherently about my sudden eruption, and to express it better to myself and others.
Researching sudden and remarkable creativity, I came across “sudden savant” phenomenon.
This led me to Darold Treffert, a Wisconsin psychiatrist who has been studying Savant Syndrome for over 40 years and is considered the world’s leading expert on this rare condition.
The author of Islands of Genius:The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant, Dr. Treffert was also a consultant to the movie, Rain Man, which helped bring the world of the savant into public awareness.
I wrote to Dr. Treffert and we have been corresponding about my situation.
His insights and writings have greatly increased my understanding.
I am now delighted to call myself a Sudden Artist.
My sudden artistic eruption revealed that I know things I have never learned about painting and the piano.
I have no study or training in painting or the piano and before my sudden artistic eruption had zero interest in either.
Yet my paintings flow forth in radiant colors and are effortlessly completed in minutes.
My piano pieces also flow forth effortlessly and are recorded live as they erupt.
Live recording is essential because, mysteriously, each piece erupts once only – it is a one-time phenomenon I do not repeat.
By autumn 2014, I had erupted more than 170 original acrylic on canvas paintings and over 50 instantaneous piano pieces.
I have many questions about my sudden artistic eruption, especially the phenomenon of knowing things I have never learned and the sudden ability to confidently express this knowing.
Dr. Treffert talks of ancestral memory, genetic memory.
Does this mean my very mixed bag of genes might play a role?
I was born in Jakarta to a Scots father and Dutch-Indonesian mother and my heritage reveals I carry the genes of seven different countries.
But why did it take close to six decades for my sudden artistic eruption to manifest?
Does my spiritual bent or my life close to nature provide ideal conditions to nurture a sudden artistic eruption?
Could it be that my sudden artistic eruption is not so much a savant phenomenon as a mystical awakening?
In Japan I encountered a long period of Japanese family trauma and stress, during which I might have had a slight head injury.
Was the physical structure of my brain affected?
There is evidence that left brain changes can affect the left brain’s ability to exert control.
When this happens the right brain is able to release more of its innate creative power.
Was I suddenly freed from the “tyranny” of my left brain?
Is my sudden artistic eruption a phenomenon accessible to anyone at any point in life?
If so, what conditions might help spark this creative explosion within us?
How did I awaken what Dr. Treffert calls, “the little Rain Man within each of us”?
While the writer in me enjoys posing these questions, I am quite happy to let others debate and decide how to describe my phenomenon.
My life since my sudden artistic eruption is fully and unabashedly being the continuing mystery of my instantaneous art and music.
I can only be and live this personal truth.
My sudden artistic eruption granted me access to new and wondrous worlds of color, composition, harmony, as well as incredible joy and continuously evolving creativity.
I am grateful each day for this unlocking of the sudden artist within.
Dr. Johann Gottlieb Laetz – “Hans” to me – died on September 23, 2014.
“Remembering Hans” is my first memorial art for him, with love.
Gold dances upward on the canvas, exulting in Hans’ joy in life.
Lush greens and blues sculpt his optimism, generosity, and lifelong love of gardening.
Violet-purple accents echo his memories of poetry and song.
“Remembering Hans” recalls his dynamism – Hans was a funny, interesting man who loved telling stories about his childhood in Ortenburg, a little German village.
In the book we published together in 2009, Hans cites his enduring connection with Nature.
He tells how he grew up revering the Bavarian forests, the flow of rivers, the reassuring power of the seasons.
Hans believed that planting a tree is a deeply spiritual act.
In our 22 years of married life together, he planted so many trees.
When my own spiritual calling took me alone to Japan, we remained unfailingly close, loving one another through 38 years, until his death.
Hans visited me in Japan twice recently, intending to move here for the last phase of his long life and so excited about his new adventure.
He reveled in the beauty of my mountain minka and especially the ancient ginkgo tree that sheltered him as he sat.
His magnanimous energy continues to enrich my painting and my heart.
“Remembering Hans” delights in the love we cherished and thanks Hans for loving me so long and so well.
Goodbye, Hans – I am missing you, missing you. With Love Always, Catrien.
“Remembering Hans” will be shown November 13-17, 2104, in Catrien Ross Solo Art Show #3, titled “Energy of the Universe” at Honkohji Temple, in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka, Japan. Details
A Buddhist temple in Japan’s heartland will present Catrien Ross paintings in a solo art exhibition titled, Soul Journeys (in Japanese, Tamashii no Tabi).
Honkohji is a Nichiren Buddhist temple in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture.
With some 1,600 years of history, its current head monk is Saito Bunyo, written about in my blog post, How My Intuition Painted the Perfect Gift for Bunyo.READ MORE
From the deep hush of a record 120-year snow, new facets of my creative flow emerge.
A series of twelve small paintings infused with vibrant color.
Each richly textured canvas reveals some hidden essence.READ MORE
I painted From Source No.6 on the fifth day of the sudden and stunning eruption that shapes the continuing mystery of my art and music.
My brushstrokes release the hidden heart of the rainbow, defining and expanding its inner radiance.
Someone with many works of art throughout her home happened to view this painting two days after I signed it.READ MORE
From Source No.7 is an acrylic on canvas artwork I painted as a gift for Bunyo, calling it “Bunyo’s Blue.”
Bunyo is the head monk of a Buddhist temple in Shizuoka, Japan.
He has been bedridden for some four years after an operation to remove a kidney.
Now 85, he almost never opens his eyes and rarely speaks.READ MORE
In the Chinese calendar 2014 is the year of wood, or green, horse.
At Catrien Ross studio-sanctuary in Japan, horse energy gallops ahead.
My first painting of 2014 intuitively surges with greens: The second rushes into reds.
Complementary Yin-Yang pulsation resonating within me.READ MORE