I Have to Paint


When I paint, time and space disappear. I disappear.

I paint to lose myself. Even more so, I paint to find myself, to truly reconnect to center. When I paint, I am at peace. By being with the raw energy and emotion in my body, my relationship to the world around me is lost. Hours can pass effortlessly.

For me, painting is pure freedom. I never know what is going to happen. There is nothing pre-meditated about my process. Merely a meditation in motion: an exploration of feeling, manifest into form. Time stops. The heart talks. Sensation stimulates the selection of color, and the action of applying paint (or other medium) to the canvas happens the way the body wants.

It’s about deep listening: listening and responding. Listening to the canvas and the paint. Although I occasionally use a brush, more often  I prefer a pour, a splatter, a palette scraper, or a butter knife, perhaps a spoon to scoop gold dust off the moon. The free-flow, organic dance of color, texture and form fascinates.  My body, simply a tool for transportation as the acrylic, polymer, liquid love does the rest.

The exhilaration of applying paint to canvas is bliss. It’s the spontaneous, serendipitous, synchronistic, abstract expressionistic, let-it-rip moments of cathartic self-care taking me there….where the chills ripple goose bumps up the spine and down appendage to finger tip and that’s it.



Ross Holzman is a San Francisco Bay Area, CA based artist, social entrepreneur and peace activist. He is the founder and executive director of the Create Peace Project. Ross’ passion for facilitating collaborative arts experiences and empowering positive feelings through creativity has lead him to launch numerous art-for-peace projects. Ross employs his philosophy that the cultivation of self-awareness through self-expression is one of the most powerful tools for strengthening our connection to our self, to others, and the world around us and thus creating peace.  Ross is a published author, accomplished public speaker, and arts facilitator; having worked with more than 25,000 youth leading more than 250 arts workshops and 40+ murals, both painted and mosaic.  

Most of the paintings have been painted in the past couple years. 

For more information on the arts-education non-profit Create Peace Project: