“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.” ― William Blake

Art about Liminal Experience:

I watch pigments drip, float, and slide across my canvas. I see many shades of color. I see blues and purples mixing and sloshing. I see white bursting. There are so many possibilities. I know that, in the space outside this space, there is another reality. There, time moves, people are doing, and things are happening.  I hover here instead. 

Liminal Space Painting with Purple Acrylic and Collage Elements
Liminal Painting

Nothing important is happening here at all. Sand is being poured into paint and then scraped onto white linen. Fabric is cut, arranged, and adhered to a 2-D plane. Found objects are thumbed, stroked, and then carefully considered as the next choice. In all of this, I sometimes have a sudden urge to stop and re-enter “reality.” I suddenly feel strange and uncomfortable: as though I have lost touch with real life. 

I feel a surge of strange and unexpected hope......

I battle the urge to leave, and I win. Eventually, I find closure, and I am done creating for the day. I give myself time to leave the world I’ve been floating in, above, and through. Slowly, I cap my paints, wash my brushes, and cross the threshold back to now. Upon re-entry, I look at what I’ve made, and I’m pleased that I lingered for so long in the “In-Between.” Fleetingly, I have captured something I can’t even articulate. In a liminal space, I created on a flat plane, grabbed a piece of a moment in time, and got it to stay. I feel a surge of strange and unexpected hope.

Art, Liminality, and Hope

Thoughts on Creating in Liminal Space

It is disquieting to wait. Sometimes, we want to get to the next thing, but we find ourselves delayed for a minute or two. Other times, we are long-stuck facing an undertaking. Moments might leave us held in place for reasons we don’t understand. Things seem off—something is not quite right while we wait. We might notice and odd quality of light, a strange smell, or still silence when we linger in some sort of passage from one place to the next. Places that come to mind are empty hospital rooms, the home of a deceased person, an airport, stairwell, or elevator: all liminal physical spaces. Empty houses are liminal spaces that I find most unsettling. I can almost feel that life is missing. I’m cold, the space feels lonely, and I want to leave. I want to open windows, let light in, play music, and invite people inside: anything to make the place move from stillness to life. I want to transform it before the space is ready to be transformed.

This is a colorful, abstract painting about joy.

Liminal Experience Takes Form

My mother had charisma, unique tastes, and a sophisticated, Victorian flare. She’d love this lamp and the ways it shows that I have inherited her creative spirit. It would have been front and center in our home. She would have told everyone how beautiful it was. I sense how proud she is of me. I am also mindful of how the past shapes my experiences in the present. I see how my creative process is influenced by my experiences. Creating art is an opportunity for me to notice things and then express new awareness in tangible forms. I give form to “Yesterday” and “Right Now” as well as “What’s Next.” I examine my process and find myself floating, drifting, and recreating what I remember, realize, and anticipate. Creating is, for me, like meditation. My mind is often quiet. Sometimes, my mind drifts: gently noticing and wondering about my world. In this space, I am often fully present, and I realize that I am more peaceful in artmaking than anywhere else.

Drifting in a Liminal Space

There are physical liminial spaces all around us. We also have spiritual and emotional liminal spaces. You can be affected by certain spaces while others may not influence you at all. In my experience, there is some kind of trigger that pulls the individual into the in-between. Certain songs stop me in my tracks and stir my spirit. No matter what I’m doing, I stop everything, close my eyes, and take it in. Five or ten minutes passes, though it seems like an hour, but in a good way. When I transition back to the moment at hand, I am restored. Certain smells wake up my emotions. Lilac brings me to a standstill. I breathe in and out deeply, pausing for a time to take in the scent. What was chaotic all around me is suddenly calm. I am drifting in a liminal space that heals and brings respite.

I don’t know how other people experience liminality. This is not a popular topic, and we all have trouble verbalizing liminal experiences. I do know that some people don’t connect liminal places with positive experience as I often do. The artist in me finds refuge in the echo of an empty space or in the strange and disquieting cessation of time. Painting serves as my portal into these spaces……

Painting serves as my portal into these spaces....

I am suddenly not where I was five minutes ago, and I am not where I’ll be when I put my paintbrushes down. I am lost somewhere, and I do my best to seize and describe this “Somewhere” in my paintings. Even if you believe you lack all talent and skill, it does not matter. You can still seize these moments as I seize them. Find a creative channel that can quiet the disquieting “In-Betweens”: a channel that will offer you clarity in both the fleeting and unyielding moments anchored in time. Creative expression offers you calming, quieting, and soothing in the otherwise unsettling liminal spaces where we all find ourselves in waiting.

Art to Music: Liminal Space Alive Through Paintings and a Piano

Composer and pianist, Margin Alexander, interprets Alisa E. Clark’s liminal painting, Funny Little Birds with “harmonies of birds singing” on his piano keys. These birds are (in his words) “sometimes pleasant and sometimes strange.” The combination of image and sound takes the participant on a strange voyage where time is elusive and curious. View this performance to see Margin play an interpretation of Alisa’s work through passionate and thoughtful musical expressions. This fine blend of creative processes evokes deep emotion and reveals the power of different art forms to move the soul, transcend time, and capture the essence of the liminal experience.

Alisa Floating in a Liminal Space!

A collage with the words "Hope is Here."

Credit and great thanks to www.SteveMartinGallery.com for adding me to my painting, Hope is Here.

Liminal Self Portrait

Liminality and Encouragement for You

www.LiminalSpaceArt.com is here to encourage you to find a creative channel for better embracing your “In-Betweens.” May you better understand creative expression’s unexpected gifts as you wait inside life’s in-between places and spaces. May you discover how art can be your great companion as you look towards “What’s Next” for you. Trust how liminality and creative expression are your partners. See how they can lead you to a new day that brings the transformation that we all so deeply desire at Liminal Space Art.

Time and Space, 2019