Been painting up a storm for my Year of Painting classes and these are my current favorite color combinations. I love how color can cause us to think outside of our creative box! I have been really trying to push my typical color range into new hue fields and relationships.
The gorgeous work created in my Year of Painting class, starting with Jennifer Sheffield Currie (top), Cathrin Gressieker and Tara Francesca (just above). These two created by the wondrous Julia Godden in our Co-Lab offering.
My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the absolutely amazing women I get to interact with daily through my online classes. They are virtuous, dedicated, and dive deep into their unique gift they carry within. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask: my goodness, how on Earth did I get here? I feel so fortunate… humbled… by their greatness, generosity, and openness. They have become my foundation, my backbone, my muses, and so much more. Do what you love and never work a day in your life again. This is my heart’s mantra and prayer come true.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Creations of an expressive heart: combining iPhone and Paint is ridiculously fun! This was made in my latest offering Co-Lab.
Lately I’ve been reflecting upon what is it that truly fills the heart… and how, whenever our hearts feel that flutter of fulfillment, that is where our treasure lies. I’m reaching a point in my life where in terms of my relations it’s quite simple really: those who are kind, honest, and sincere get my attention– and attention is love. So where our focus lies, that tends to grow in our lives, we are fanning it’s flames, so to speak. No longer do I have time for the insincere, dishonest, or manipulative sort– life is too short and too precious. My love goes to those who move my heart, to experiences that enrich my being, where kindness is both King and Queen. Ahhh, and lately, yet despite all the trials and tribulations that life can bring, my cup doth runneth over more often than I think it ever has. Thank goodness life’s constant is change and that we can all grow more comfortably within ourselves… that is a true gift about growing older. Less and less I care what others may think… I want to live a life for what feels true within me. Sweet liberation indeed.
And onto some more good news . . . Today I have a *wonderful giveaway* for you all. I am a part of Life Book 2015, where the darling and lovely Tam (organizer and artist) has formed a stellar group of teachers who will each give their own unique lesson on making art and the creative process. Each of these teachers in Life Book will share their own mixed media techniques, tips and tricks with you. This course is themed around self-development and healing, where you’ll be creating several loose mixed media art journal pages per month which by the end of the year you will bind into a glorious journal (a Life Book)! You will have a wonderful keepsake that you can treasure for the rest of your life . . . how sweet is that?
*To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below on what truly fills your heart’s cup — and/or why you love to make art.
*To enter the giveaway *two whole times and increase your winning chances by double*, sign up for my artful muse newsletter right here (+ receive a free gift from yours truly, you really can’t go wrong)! I do not send out more that 2x a month usually… and always like to include some artful musing gems.
I will be taking entries until the blog hop is done on October 3rd. All the best of luck to you and happy hopping!
… and here is the gorgeous blogroll, with many of my favorite art buddies included:
8th September 2014 – Tamara Laporte – http://www.willowing.org/
9th September 2014 – Jane Davenport – http://janedavenport.com/
10th September 2014 – Joanne Sharpe – http://joannezsharpe.blogspot.
11th September 2014 - Jenny Lee Wentworth – http://jennyleewentworth.
12th September 2014 - Violette Clark – http://www.violette.ca/
13th September 2014 – Chris Zydel – http://creativejuicesarts.com/
14th September 2014 – Danielle Donaldson – http://danielledonaldson.com/
15th September 2014 – Effy Wild – http://effywild.com/
16th September 2014 – Flora Bowley – http://braveintuitiveyou.com/
17th September 2014 – Alisa Burke – http://alisaburke.blogspot.co.
18th September 2014 - Rachael Rice – http://rachaelrice.com/
19th September 2014 - Jeanne Oliver – http://www.
20th September 2014 - Andrea Gomoll – http://andrea-gomoll.de/
21st September 2014 – Kristin van Valkenburgh – http://www.
22nd September 2014 – Jill K. Berry – http://jillberrydesign.com/
23rd September 2014 - Alena Hennessy – http://www.alenahennessy.com/ <- YOU ARE HERE
24th September 2014 – Juliette Crane – http://www.juliettecrane.com/
25th September 2014 - Jenny Doh – http://blog.crescendoh.com/
26th September 2014 – Mati Rose McDonough – http://www.matirose.com/
27th September 2014 - Patti Ballard – http://www.pbsartstudio.com
28th September 2014 – Lynzee Lynx – http://lynzeelynx.com/
29th September 2014 – Roben Marie Smith – http://www.robenmarie.com/
30th September 2014 - Andrea Schroeder – http://www.
1st October 2014 – Lynn Whipple – http://www.lynnwhipple.com/
2nd October 2014 - Donna Downey – http://www.donnadowney.com/
This mixed media photo painting was one of the most fulfilling projects I have taken on in a very long time. Learn how to create dynamic work such as this in Co-Lab.
There has been a very special project I have been involved with all year that I have kept pretty mum about… until today. So with a thrilled heart I present to you Co-Lab: Paint, Paper, and iPhoneography Magic. This is a brand new online class created by myself and the brilliant Susan Tuttle, where we bring the world of paint, paper, and photo (plus so much more) together in one brilliant virtual experience! For those of you that don’t know Susan, she is a lovely human being and Mother living up in the woods of Maine, author of several books, and one incredibly gifted photographer and editor.
I grew so much from working with her, not only as an artist but also as a person. The contagious spirit of collaboration ended up being one of the biggest gifts I could have asked for this year. Susan’s work has literally blown me away and left me speechless– and it all can be done with a smart phone (iPhone, iPad, iPod, or other smart phone).
Imagine being able to capture imagery of yourself or others in this way! Within this course we share so many beloved tools from our artist toolbox. Now only can you learn to ground and enhance your painting by creating expressive still life, landscapes, and portraits, but you also get to learn how to edit and enhance your imagery in brilliant new ways… so necessary for artists these days to know these tools!
Learn to take macro-photos of flowers and then paint abstractly from them, along with mixed media photo-paint works that ignite the spark into new worlds of creating thinking. Plus the latest in all the apps, along with blending and editing your art imagery in new ways never known before. This beauty above was created by artist Cheryl Greene in our class.
This course has many foundational guidelines for understanding art and design, as well as how to present and create work. By combining these powerful mediums, you will learn the basics of creating rich backgrounds, color harmony and theory, freeing your inner critic, unleashing the muse, painting from intuition, and understanding composition and more. As an extraordinary bonus, you will also learn how to take breathtaking photos through some of the best apps out there (Susan is in the know), which will also help present yourself, your work, and your offerings out into the world in a striking and exceptional way that rises above the masses. We will also show you how to collaborate and synthesize paint, print, and iPhone photo work in a way that dazzles and broadens your visual language.
I can’t emphasize how enough invaluable it is for artists today to be able to incorporate and understand simple digital imagery and photo work. It is perfect for beginners who are wishing to create a stronger base and understanding, as well as experienced artists, who desire to expand their visual scope. Susan and I have been teaching online classes for years now, both with several best-selling books under our belt, and are honored to be asked to synthesize our knowledge together. It’s like having two courses in one! Making this course was truly such a joy for me, as it stretched me just where I needed to go.Paint a landscape from your wildest imagination and place an image of yourself or loved ones within it, then creating a simple yet captivating frame to enhance it. This is the stuff dreams are made of! Learn this plus so much more in this compelling course.
Feeling the yes? Sign up here and save *HALF OFF* (for a limited time with simple payment plan options). You will receive immediate access, along with being able to go back and touch in to this course for a lifetime. Walk away from this class with more knowledge and inspired juju than ever before, to be able to expand your portfolio in ways you never knew you could. You can work at your own pace and revisit it whenever you feel like. I am sure the artist within you will thank you for years to come…
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allen Poe
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Lately I’ve been writing up a storm for my ArtBiz course, where I have been having little light bulbs go off, or the ‘golden download’ as sometimes like to call it, to assist others with bringing their dreams to fruition. This has caused me to reflect back some 9 years ago when things started moving and shaking for me in regards to my art career. It’s made me again realize the value of dreaming, how dreaming is just another form of making plans. It is dreaming that allows us to become moved to take action, to ask for what we need, to be at times vulnerable (there is a power in that), and to build courage to make real change in our lives. That courage and risk is how good things happen. If we don’t put ourselves out there, how can it ever be? This life is not about sitting and waiting for it to come to you. Life just does not work that way. It reminds me of one of my favorite love songs, “True Love Will Find You in the End” covered by Beck, the original by Daniel Johnston. One of the lines reads:
This is a promise with a catch…
Only if you are looking will it find you
Because true love is searching too
How can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
So here is my request for you: it’s time to claim it here. Name your dream. Name one or two or three or…. share it with the world, starting right now. Come from an easy place, from a place of longing, or from a place where you are that child again wishing upon a star. Let us move and motivate one another in living our best life, one that is fulfilled by what the heart longs for, one that is true to each one of us, unique in our ways of being, honoring the gifts we have been given, willing to be brave enough to shift from the inside out. That is the only way it works and it can work. I look forward to reading what your heart has to say. It deserves that attention, its good practice and good medicine. So go ahead and share a dream by leaving a comment. That star somewhere up above you is waiting.
It’s here! It’s here! I am over the moon thrilled. The pre-order price is unbelievable (only $11.35 at the last time I checked) and it begins shipping early next month. Several of you have been asking for a sneak peak inside, and it just so happens that I have the only copy available. So here’s a little peek-a-boo. This book contains over 170 paintings, 52 prompt ideas/exercises, and selected mini-workshops for a how-to portion. I poured myself into this title to think about what everyone would need to be inspired, think of new ways of creating, deepen their own expressive voice, learn more about the medium, and some lessons on painting and mixed media. Thank you all endlessly for your support. This book is dedicated to all my fans. I appreciate you so much. Order it now to save and get it first (plus I have a LOVELY opportunity for everyone that buys it first… more on that later).
Nothing quite like a freshly organized new studio…
New licensing deals happening at Uncommon Goods (they are such a great company to work with!)
Taking time to heal and become more whole again after some serious setbacks.
Planning gatherings for next year to create and circle round with brilliant and amazing women…
More color please, more freedom… always evolving on the artist path.
Lately I’ve been pondering just how much art making, painting, and active creative pursuits have impacted my life. I began to realize that it’s influenced so much…perhaps everything. For this, I am endlessly thankful, in fact I often tag my Insta photos with #thankfulartistgirl. It just fits. So I thought I’d write a simple post on just how art can change a life, or mold it from a slab of clay into a beautiful vase that holds life-giving water and fragrant blossoms.
Art teaches you to let go.
“Last night I lost the world and gained the universe.” – C. Joybell C.
We are human beings, creatures… not machines. We are organic in our shape, not angular. So when we create we can seek to achieve our own ideas of perfectionism, balance, harmony, unity, and so forth…. yet we must also learn to let go. What a valuable lesson this is. We must begin to trust and allow what naturally wants to come though, come through. Surprises are the biggest gift in art making. This is how I teach others to create, anyway. I have found something magical happens when we let go further, we begin to gain more. When we are freer from our personal attachments to outcomes and expectations we have set for ourselves, we create from a place of more grace and ease. When we are in that state of grace, we become delighted by what we discover, the inner clicking rings more clearly. We create from a place of authenticity and what feels true, rather than from a concept or idea on what is beautiful or ‘good art’. I happen to believe there is no good or bad art – that it is beyond that state of right or wrong. I just want my students to feel they have honored where they are and who they are in that moment of creating.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Art subsequently quenches and expresses your soul-longing at the same time.
During my quiet-hour(s) of painting, I find that my soul gets to sometimes rest, explore, or express its deep longing. That time when I sit down and create with my heart is sacred. It’s simply your time with you, no one else’s. Something within gets satisfied, something within gets fulfilled. It is a practice and meditation. Something within also got to express something that it needs to get out, let go of, or made seen. It is a dance between these sacred intrinsic needs.
Art brings you community.
And what an unexpected gift this has been. I’ve been saying for many years now that the friendships born in creative spirit are like no other. It’s a tribal sisterhood for me. Not only does art begin to transform and fulfill the soul within, it brings you more like-minded beings into your life. Sharing your work, forming exhibitions together, taking part in collaborations or business projects with other artists, is incredibly satisfying and innately human. Doing creative work with a family member or beloved creates bonding in the purest way. It is a shared experience, a gift that allows each person to express and take part in the greater whole of something.
Art allows you to express what is beyond words.
Through art forms like painting, drawing, photography, dance, and such we get to express that which is beyond words but still contains feeling, emotion, nuance, story, and subtlety. This is a wondrous reprieve. When I paint, I strive to express the mystery, although oftentimes words can fall short when I begin to reflect on just what that mystery is. This is where the language of color, line, shape, form, rhythm, balance, chaos, and more come in. An infinite language that is my own language: it does not always need explanation it just needs to be made real.
Art impacts others.
Make no doubt about it; taking a great piece of art in can stir the soul like no other and at times have more impact then flat out sharing it by a more direct means. It can stir the unconsciousness and bring feelings and thoughts into the forefront, or our own awareness. Art can be political through a unique lens that can move the senses and thus change perspective or inspire change within, and thus change the actions we take in our own lives.
Art is a practice that you can have until the end of your days.
Cultivating your creative self is an endless exploration or thirst that never runs dry, but that which only deepens with time. Matisse was said to have painted on his hospital bed with a long extended paintbrush, making brush strokes on the ceiling overhead. Dedicating a life to one or more practices of expression is a gift that will serve your golden years well, something you can keep intimate company with though out your years. Embracing your own evolution through a visual or other documented means is leaving traces of each phase of your life behind for generations to come.
Art can support you through monetary means.
And what a gift this is. To do what you love, that which comes most naturally to you, and be supported financially through this process and offering. I have found that passion is a contagious energy, when it is true, not forced, and done repeatedly, or an act of disciplined love. Attention is love, so give your art your undivided focus. Be open and take the steps to receive from it. This is also a learning and a process, but in infinitely ways possible: to make a good living as an artist.
“I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Translations from the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
Photography by Russian artist Katerina Plotnikova.
The above text by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves.
“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”–Henry David Thoreau
The following photos are from a recent trip to Cumberland Island.
I happen to believe we have kindred spirits all over this Earth, which for me, is most delightful especially when they are of the creative kind. These kindred beloveds can also be countries, or certain parts of the world. Fifteen years ago when I was the ripe age of 22, I discovered my first true love… and her name is Italy. She blew me away with her warmth, sweetness, light, delicious treats, songs, ridiculous fashion, red wine that flows lightly as water, and rich history under dramatic painting and over narrow cobblestones streets. These above photos are of the studio of the amazing Louise Beckinsale, a newly discovered kindred artist. Louise took my 30 Days of Grace class (which is now back open for registration) and created work that made my heart flutter with pure elation. How divine it was to find out that she resided in Cara Italia and had her own art studio called Bliss Base where she paints and teaches! Louise and I are going to be working on some delicious things together, such as: live painting, an exhibition, collaborations, and film projects. However, I will also be gallivanting about in Italy for the first week of September or so, and am planning on doing a little mentoring, teaching, and other magic making all in the name of art, of course! I have a few spots available for this special trip, for any of you who may want to paint with us. I will be making a trip to the most beautiful place in the world to me, Cinque Terre (see pics below — SWOOOON!), with art media in hand. Painting in these maritime courtyards while sipping a little vino rosso can only fulfill the soul and allow it to blossom open even more. If this at all calls to you simply get in touch and I will fill you in with all the details. (Note: this opportunity is now FULL). Italy is where I found my voice as an artist, where things in my life began to change quickly, into glorious new horizons of love and adventure. For this reason I will always be loyal to her… she was my first true love. Her magic is like nothing else I have ever experienced. Did you also know I am teaching some completely original workshops in the magnificent Magdalen in Oxford, UK?! This late Summer/early Autumn trip is going to life changing for me… I can feel it. Perhaps you will feel the call too. I want to gently remind you that the purpose of a ship is not to stay close to the shore, but to adventure out into the sea: the unknown, the deep blue, a whole world underneath that is a mystery. We do not fully live unless we risk, for if we do not risk, how will our lives truly change? To love is to risk. To adventure is to risk. To try new things is to risk… this is how magic happens in our life. This is my invitation for you. Choose it from your heart and see what begins to happen.
The charming private BnB where we will be staying and magic making Dolce Vita style. Pinch me now please… this really is a total dream come true.
(as well as graceful and utterly blissful — especially when paint is involved)!
Registration is now open! Read all the details here.
Let it come to move you. The sounds, colors, lines, rhythmic patterns, shapes of new growth… Let this Season of Spring, the soft buzzing, delicious blossoms dripping with nectar, hues so fresh and alive, make your way into your creation. Any creation. Take a walk: get down and become small. Notice the tiny details, the little points of life. Expand out big: look at the vast sky, the way the light hits leaves, the way birds swoop through the expansive air. How can the Season move you? Let it come from you. Paint your days into the night. There is much music happening outside in this new season of love. Let those notes hit your canvas like the delicate and bold blossoms unfolding forth.
Let it come to move you.
I just returned from teaching a series of workshops out on the West Coast. The first week of teaching proved rather challenging, with me catching one of the worst bugs I have ever had. The second week I came back to life and rocked 3 workshops in a row. I keep learning more of what each participant needs each time as my lessons grow deeper, richer, as well as more light. As I grow and evolve as a facilitator I notice my students’ work deepens as well. They were amazing. I feel in love with SO many pieces. I flew back to the East Coast with a full heart, so thrilled for them, so content on the many exercises and processes we explored.
Have art media will travel: one of three suitcases that I brought along this 2-week workshop journey. This large hard-shelled case is filled to the brim with art supplies. One of the more not-so-glamorous parts of the job.
One exercise I had students do was two Quick, Affirmative, and Intuitive paintings. They can only work for 20 minutes on the first and then 10 minutes on the second one. They must work completely by instinct, play, and trust. It is pure delight to do this! Takes us back to our inner child when we made art without involving the ego.
Another student example, the 10 minute painting. I love her whimsical lines, her carefree way of being. It is perfectly imperfect: the wabi sabi style of painting. I emphasize this concept to my students repeatedly.
The above photo are some of the delicious materials that I have my students work with. Sometimes I have them paint their own paper pieces that they then collage into a painting. It is so rewarding and teaches them how to make the elements and principles come alive in a work.
After the long journey on the road, it is so rewarding to come back home. There is no place more special in this country to me then my darling home town of Asheville, NC. My love and I took a hike to see numerous waterfalls. The water and warm/cool rocks restored my being. Connecting to this source of life, the Natural world, is imperative for my being and peace of mind.
Of course it’s always nice to receive a beautiful bouquet when you return home as well! He knows my favorite flowers. Feeling so blessed and under a magic star these days. I am grateful in so many ways. I thank you sincerely for being here. Never give up… dreams held close to the heart do come true. Stay on the path, both feet on the ground, trusting and surrendered. Let it unfold for you. Love all of creation.
Last night I facilitated a live web chat with an opening meditation followed by Q + A session from some of my students. Many great questions were asked, related to business, staying inspired, and making it happen for yourself. Enjoy!
Here is a 30 minute clip during the heart of the Q + A:
To watch the rest of the Spreecast in its entirety click here.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child–our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.” –Robert A. Heinlin
“The fires of suffering become the light of consciousness.” — Eckhart Tolle
Definition of grace:
1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
4. Graces Greek & Roman Mythology. Three sister goddesses, known in Greek mythology as Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, who dispense charm and beauty.
5. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
tr.v. graced, grac·ing, grac·es
1. To honor or favor: you grace us with your presence.
2. To give beauty, elegance, or charm to.
My next online offering is one that holds close to my heart. The lessons within it will be rich with the many paths that have brought me here today, along with, or most importantly, the value of love and care for one’s soul and self.
Topics of exploration include:
1. Automatic/intuitive drawing.
2. Plant Spirit Allies for self-care and beauty.
3. Chakra meditation: expanding your field, letting go, and fortifying.
4. Divine feminine soul collage, connecting to your Goddess archetypes.
5. Self-love self portraiture.
6. Nature photo walks.
7. Flower essences for healing and transformation.
8. Luscious thick floral paintings.
9. Bless your mess art process.
10. Finding your magic and calling.
Those above sweet nuggets of truth have been gifts for my soul and now I want to pass them on, you see. There is so much magic we can uncover when we do this together.
So, if you are feeling even a little tug or yes, this is your invitation to sign up and journey in this experience with me. Currently, there are just about 10 spots left, (I am keeping enrollment on the smaller side so I can give more attention to each participant and hold sacred space).
*May grace light your path and unfold your many gifts within, like self-propelled butterflies out into this world.*
This was such an awesome experience for so many reasons. Bright fluid movements with paint, ink, and other materials used as a medium to come together in the spirit of passionate collaboration. The themes of ease, flow, letting go, trusting yourself and learning/unlearning all took place. Flora Bowley hosted this delicious occurrence. What a treat to work with her and beloved Anahata Katkin of PaPaYa! So. much. FUN.
What truly turns me on?
What makes me come alive?
Where do I find real joy?
Such simple questions, but when we take the time to sit with them, honor them, nourish them, unfold them… we may be surprised as to what comes up.I’d like you to invite you to be exactly the woman you want to be, no apologies. I’d like to invite you to wear bright colors on your nails, to put a tiara or flowers on your head, to sing out loud or to recite a line from your favorite poem to a stranger. I’d like to invite you to be entirely you: authentic, bold, beautiful, outlandish you. Even if at times that feels discordant, that’s OK. More than ok. You are a brilliant multitude: complex, simple, and light-filled. Trust me, you are. This I know to be true. I believe this is how we start unleashing our creativity. We become true. We make no excuses. We travel lightly and freely. We wake up one morning and say “I really don’t give a ____ about what they think anymore, this is just how its going to be.” We live true to our insides. Its scary at first, but very liberating. That liberation is a damn good thing. It brings all sorts of goodies. Welcome it. Start by making a list: let it come uncensored, let it be unleashed. Let it contain all the simple things that you love, all the big things too. Dream big, dream sweetly…
And Happy New Year dear ones.
Photo to the left by Danielle Cohen, creatrix of Amulet magazine. The other night I was having dinner with a friend when she told me about a powerful grief ritual she attended. She shared what a profound influence it had on her and how much her soul needed it, even years after experiencing a deep loss. I had heard once before of this woman’s gifted work and was sorry I was not in town to attend. In the past two to three years, I have been sitting with the meaning of loss, its impact on our lives, and what it means to grieve. It is such a mystery, really. When deep loss hits another human’s life are there enough ways to support it in our culture? Is it the type of grief that is socially acceptable to receive waves of support or is it just too private or personal to share? I was sitting with this the other day after receiving some sad news about a family member, along with some other personal circumstance that seemed unfair it its timeliness (aka, an emotional trigger that related on several levels), when serendipitously I came upon this post from the Good Life Project. About three years ago I was in deep period of sadness, a particular shade of that feeling that was completely new to me. I was waking up to how unexpected and truly hard divorce is and remember not feeling the support my soul was crying out for. I did have several friends I could call on, but none of them had a married partner for almost a decade so they could only understand so much. Also its hard to ask for support when you yourself aren’t totally clear on what you’re needing to begin with. Although, many of my friends were well-intended, it was no way near enough. My dear Mother could only say so much as well, for truly what are you to do when a person is experiencing so much pain. The pain is just there. It exists and you cannot ignore it. For almost one year it felt at times like my solar plexus was in big knot as I drifted off to sleep. My body was experiencing it whether I wanted to or not: its as if it had its own message for me. One way to describe it was that it was like being pulled down to the underworld, or underwater, murky, unclear, deep, slippery, dark, just able to only take the step in front of me. The guilt and shame I was feeling from losing my best friend, who also could no longer could be my best friend, because it threatened his current partnership, was unfathomable at the time. All my childhood sh** was up. My fur was raised and I was heated. There was more than one loss happening too, I should share. There was a multitude of identities within myself, many related to security, along with several relationships of the heart, that I had also pushed away. I needed to push them away, for my soul had to be alone for a while. I did not know where to go but to take flight. And yet, slowly, slowly… like a door opening or window beginning to crack, the light started making its way back in. Little by little I made my way back up to the surface. After spending about five months with some Nepalese Buddhists, doing contact improv (and dropping art for a little while), along with a whole lot of solitude, I felt my hopefulness again. I was still in the waiting room although, or in between two worlds, as Christina Rasumssen so aptly puts it, but at least I could feel the sun rays beginning to cross my face. The warmth was building. The pieces were being put together. Little pearls were being discovered at the bottom of the shore. It could take me paragraphs to describe what those pearls are and I’m not even sure words could do them justice. It was the gift of humility, of building courage, or realizing and understanding the heat I had stored up within me for many many years. It was learning what a good man looked and felt like, or why a man living through the protective armor of his own narcissism was dangerous for the soul. It was so many things. But it was transformational.I feel there are often points in life when you come to a spiritual crossroads, where you either give it your surrendering yes and start dancing again, or duck back under and hide. I am grateful for my ability to step back out on the dance floor, along with the many human angels that helped make that happen whether they realized it or not. There is a grace, unwavering, silent, and flowing. This grace is my muse. It flourishes the well after its deepening through grief. It breathes compassion into understanding the lives of others. It calms the soul after a long arduous journey. Sometimes losses are pearls in disguise, it just takes the act of opening further to feel and see them. It’s not that you do not know about that loss anymore, it still resides there, it has just taken up less room in your soul-house. The fulfillment of your soul is your calling, even more so when risen above its ashes of the past.
Why is it that something sacred happens when we gather with a shared intention? What is that exactly? Why does creative process challenge, thrill, and fill us so much?
Colors, textures, lines, patterns… this visual language: unspoken and silent, yet it speaks in volumes; gently, passionately, richly. Its up to you decide: do you want to push it all the way to the edge with quick movements, layers, stories, repetition, a dance between the contrasts? Or do you want to draw it all in within simple refinement, balance, symmetry, calm? Of course there are many more choices from there and in between those two, yet the truth of the matter is, it’s your choice. Here Lindi is in the flow of her process; letting go and becoming moved, responding to what she creates, and allowing the inks and movement of water to guide her. She pastes down colors and textures that she is drawn to. It is an attraction, a deep and sweet pull, a dance back and forth within yourself…a meditation and act of trust. So in this we find not only complexity but also simplicity. This sweet little magic painting is by Jenny Messerle. Watching my students work like Jenny is such a gift to me, sometimes they chatter away with intermittent gingles and coos, other times silent with serene and intent focus, a little fierce, but nonethleless a softening always takes place at the end during our final share. Here we can accept and relish in how we are able to seize the day, through these elements and principles of art, in a knowing, playful, or intrinsic fashion, where we are able to gather together these moments in time. So yes, something sacred happens when we gather. We will be doing this virtually here (only a handful spots left until 200 spots are full for the second tier) and here in the Spring (with limited spots to keep it intimate) and through out next year in person (with a few more to come). Perhaps you will feel the call too and join me in this loving adventure.