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Let Life Flow

Two Black Fluid Paintings

I’ve tackled my next series of paintings by storm, fueled by my excitement to work on birch wood boards rather than canvas for the first time. The process is slower, as the boards need to be cut, sanded, and primed with care, but the extra work makes me feel closer to each painting. There’s something intimate about witnessing each piece evolve from a gigantic, rectangular slab of wood.

The paint often flows against my intentions, challenging my will to balance vision and fate. Usually, the more I fight and manipulate the paint, the more accidental the entire piece looks. It’s taken me four paintings from this birch wood series to really get back in the saddle and understand my role in the process.

If I make large adjustments, the painting struggles. I’ve unfortunately proven this point many times over, but still chant this mantra to keep myself from repeating the same mistakes with every swipe of my hand. After all, my favorite pieces emerge when I listen to what the painting wants to become. I mix, pour, and wait, watching to see the direction she wants to wander. Only then do I use my tools to make tiny suggestions here and there.

#1, #2, and #3 from this series may find themselves stripped and redone. (#2 and #3 are pictured above). I first experimented with blacks and soft pinks, joined by bright whites and glittering gold. These pieces reflect a certain part of me, but feel more like pieces to contemplate, rather than enjoy. I wasn’t satisfied.

Painting #4, however, landed home and will be the inspiration for the entire birch board series. For this one, I chose both deep and icy shades of blue. The outcome perfectly aligns with emotions I’m trying to capture, and appears suggestive of melting glaciers. To me, this painting is soothing and confident. Soft and daring. And as it will be the inspiration for paintings to come, I’m keeping her a secret until more finished works stand by her side.

As is my (sometimes tiring) tendency, I’m tempted to draw a comparison between life and learning to let go while painting. This lesson however feels like one best viewed through the peripherals—as though to truly grasp the lesson I’m learning and apply it elsewhere in life, I’m better off allowing its essence to seep through the cracks of my subconscious rather than diving deep to analyze.

So, I leave you today with a simple affirmation open to your own interpretation: let life flow.


  • Nicole Smith
    January 2, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    I love in your bio where you say, expert dabbler. It spoke to my soul. I love the birch wood paintings.

    • Samantha Burgett
      January 2, 2023 at 8:29 pm

      Ohh I’m so glad! Sometimes the endless hobbies/interests can feel like a curse, so I like to think of it as our super power instead, ha. And thank you! After writing this, I think I’ve decided to keep these two paintings as they are. 🙂 Have a lovely day Nicole!

  • […] Click here to view paintings from my first collection, “Fluidity”. Read about my upcoming series, made on birch wood boards, here. […]

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