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"In The Flow" by Melissa Alley and Rachel Davies

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Rachel Davies and Melissa Alley's entry into the 2019 Raw Vision short film competition.

"In 2006, I lost my son to cot death. In my grief, I turned to my painting as a vehicle to process my deep feelings of loss and separation. The paintings became very loose and fluid and as I studied them, I observed faces, shapes and relationships playing out dramas I wasn’t conscious of, but somehow parallel to what I was going through and it gave me solace.

The medical profession couldn't explain why Dylan died so I sought answers through a medium. I began to train in her “circle” and over time I was encouraged to make drawings for visitors. I found that I would intuitively know what colour to pick up and what mark to put down. It was clear that the drawings were rich in information about the person's life and I learned how to read them and discovered my own vocabulary. I began to read more into the work and find faces of family members, particular scenarios and articulate family dynamics that resonated with the sitter and gave them clarity.

This film shows me making a drawing for a young woman who I knew nothing about beforehand. When I’m in my flow, I just go from chalk to chalk, colour to colour, mark to mark and it spills out on to the paper without my conscious interference. Every now and then I pause and can see what is emerging but the act of making and the reading are two separate things and I don’t let them overlap. The interaction between the sitter and myself is often deeply rewarding. The pictures reveal the past, present and future as well as the physical, emotional and spiritual. Sometimes, they contain clear visions of the future."

Film submission ID: 185