What's Underneath
Written by
Courtney Putnam
August 2009
Written by
Courtney Putnam
August 2009

Undercurrent, encaustic w/coffee grounds, 10" x 12" In college I had a writing professor, who, knowing my self-consciousness about my quietude, said to me, "Courtney, still water runs deep. That's how you are." It was such a gift for her to re-frame something that I used to agonize over. (I even created a performance art piece about my being quiet, which ended up becoming a "coming out" of sorts for my quietude. In a way, during the performance, I was the loudest I had ever been, and it was quite the breakthrough). So this piece honors the depths of me, the undercurrent of my life, the things that I hold deep inside and show the world when I feel safe and sure. What do you hold in your own personal undercurrent? What depths do you hold within you? And when do you feel you are able to show these depths--these gifts to the world? What symbols represent what runs deep with in you? When do you feel free to reveal what's underneath?

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  • Courtney Putnam

    Thank you for your words Judaye! Yes, being quiet can be a conscious choice and a positive practice! And I find that feeling safe is a must in terms of my feeling free to speak my truth.


  • Judaye Streett

    Dear Courtney,
    I thank you so much for sharing this insight because you have re-framed my habitual silence for me. My hesitation at speaking has always been interpreted as timidity rather than my choice of self protection. I think I am able to show the depths of my true thoughts and feelings to those who see me, respect and listen to me. Love of family and home is symbolized for me throughs cooking, family dinners, car trips and laughing together about all the crazy things we have been through together.