August Woman – Awaken & Dream #ShePersisted

If there is one term people have used to describe me throughout my life, it is, “Free-spirited.”

My siblings used to tell me that meant I was ‘flighty’. My parents said it meant I needed to, “Stop dreaming and get my feet back on the ground.”

My response? “The Wright brothers didn’t keep their feet on the ground and look what they did!”

That was when my father would remind me of Icarus.

“Birds fly. Humans walk,” he said.

Sighing (to be fair, he might have called it ‘sulking’), I’d begrudgingly plant my feet firmly on the ground and tuck away my dreams in the furthest reaches of my heart. Head down, shoulders slumped, I’d walk the road well-travelled.

But not for long.

I couldn’t resist the urge to fly. And so, we’d go through the cycle again and again until eventually, I grew weary of reaching for the stars and learned to accept ‘the truth’. – The stars are beautiful to look at but life is here on Mother Earth. Keep walking.

August’s Woman is a reminder that ‘the truth’ is not found in the mud at our feet. It lives in the air around us. It soars upon the wind. It flows in the seas and shimmers in the stars because, as August Woman reminds us, we are all born of stardust. We are all born to shine.

Every night, when the moon calls the stars to awaken and shine, it is also calling us to awaken and dream. It is calling us to shine so brightly even the darkest night of the soul cannot mute our brilliance because we know, deep within us, nothing can keep us from lighting up the world when we let the beauty of ‘our truth’ shine bright like the stars from which we are born.

August’s woman is a clarion call to stand in the brilliant light of the magnificence of our truth. She is calling us to cast our dreams with wild abandon upon the darkness so that the dark becomes light and the long and winding road becomes a starlit path guiding us home to our dreams come true amongst the stars here on Mother Earth.

Namaste.

July Woman – She Rocks #ShePersisted

Rock the Boat – July Woman #ShePersisted 2021 Calendar – to view more of the series click HERE

When the ship is going in the wrong direction, you can’t change course without making waves.

You gotta rock the boat to stay off the rocks. Especially if those rocks loom closer and closer.

Holding steady when you’re sailing towards the rocks is not a good plan. You gotta rock the boat to stay off the rocks. You gotta change course.

July Woman is a reminder making waves is not about ‘playing safe’. It’s about creating a safer course for all humanity to find calm waters and safe harbor in all kinds of weather.

She’s the Warrioresses cry to stand up, be heard and to let your courage draw you out of fear. Fear will only drown you in its insistence that rocking the boat will cause you to fall overboard. Courage gives you the confidence to know that falling overboard isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Drowning in apathy, ennui, despair and desperation is.

July Woman says, rock away baby! Rock away!

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It’s All About The Fuss! #ShePersisted

N0. 60 #ShePersisted Series – to view more of the series, please visit my website here

The muse had her way with me yesterday.

As I was walking along the river with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, she drifted in and out of my mind whispering words of possibility, encouragement, hope.

As I leaned against a tree and rested my cheek against its gnarled trunk, she cast her spell upon the moment, wrapping me in her magic.

And as I sat down at my studio table, she flittered about like a butterfly in search of nectar, until landing on the canvas before me with a deep sigh and joyful exclamation of, “Here I Am!”

Trusting in her colourful presence, I dripped paint and ink and water onto the page and, as always happens when I let go of ‘making it happen’, what was seeking to appear became visible.

The ‘It’s All About The Fuss?’ woman was only a shimmer of an idea when I began.

When I was finished several hours later, my heart felt light, my pulse beat slow and I fell with joy into the creative field where magic and mystery bring me home to myself. Home to that place where I remember, To be the change I want to see in the world – Let it begin with me.

I was reminded this week that, in the ‘real’ world around me, reports are written, ideas are born, recommendations made which, before the ink is even dry, become shelved. Platitudes like, ‘be patient’, ‘change takes time’ ‘we’re doing our best’ are doled out to appease the oppressed instead of the critical dollars and sense and political will to put real and lasting change into the lives of those who need it most. And all the while those in power, those who hold the purse strings and political currency point, with earnest hearts and righteous indignation, at the report as concrete evidence of all they’ve done to make change happen.

Until, 20 years later, someone writes another report that clearly demonstrates how little anything has changed. How little progress has been made.

The ‘It’s All About The Fuss’ #ShePersisted Woman is my rebellion. My line in the sand. It’s my, ‘I’m putting you on notice” declaration of change! Yes. I will make a fuss. Yes. I will keep pushing back until instead of putting your head in the sand and keeping status quo going, you acknowledge how bad it really is.

Status quo only works for those with enough status to take advantage of its benefits and privileges.

Status quo keeps those it disadvantages in ‘their place’. It keeps them hidden in the margins, scrambling to be heard, to be seen, to be known as worthy of more than just the status quo of the limitations that circumscribe their lives.

As long as there are those who insist status quo is not that bad, we must make a fuss.

For those of us who live within its protective privileges and who have awoken to its demeaning limitations to others, must keep making a fuss so that the fuss of those whose lives have been sorely impacted by injustice and inequities in our legal, social and political systems know they are not wrong to insist on change. They are not wrong to demand action.

It’s all about the fuss!

Namaste.

April Woman – Follow Your Own Path

April Woman #ShePersisted 2021 Calendar – available for sale at – https://etsy.com/ca/shop/DareBoldlyArt

Over the past 3 years of working with this series, I have created a number of stencils of ‘the women’ that I will occasionally reuse .

No. 52 #ShePersisted Series https://louisegallagher.ca/shepersisted

The original of this woman is No. 52 – “They said, You can’t always get what you want. She said, it’s time I got what I’ve always deserved. Equal rights. Equal voice. Equal opportunity.”

I reused the stencil to create the painting that appears as the April Woman in this year’s #ShePersisted Calendar. “They said, You need to follow our path. It’s better for us. She followed her own path and encouraged others to do the same. It was better for everyone.”

The significance of using the same figure, just in a different/altered way is important. We are all the same kind of different. Our human nature desires a sense of belonging. To be part of a ‘tribe’ or gang or community – something that lets us know we’re not alone. We’re not outcasts. We are part of something. We matter.

The challenge however is that, when we follow a path because it’s comfortable, we can lose our way and not see that our staying on the path is keeping those who created it, comfortable in their limited view of the worth and value of every human being.

It is then we must decide what path we want to be on. A path that reflects our belief in the magnificence of every being on this planet or one that limits the possibilities of some because they ‘don’t fit in’ or look the same or present as ‘unequal to’ an invisible measure of success or class or faith or humanness we don’t buy into, but in our silence and presence in the group, uphold.

When we decide to heed the inner calling to spread our wings and create a path where everyone is free to travel and find their belonging in their own unique way, we step off the road more travelled and start creating a world of infinite possibility – for everyone.

In that creation, when we carve our way through life guided by our values, principles and belief in the worth of every human being, we become beacons of light encouraging others to do the same.

It doesn’t mean we’re no longer part of ‘the tribe’. It means we are part of the human race where we are, every one of us, free to journey on our own path that is beautiful in its distinctively unique voice, way, style and perspective.

It is then that our differences turn up in living colour. Full of life. Full of possibility. Full of Love.

And in that multi-hued and multi-faceted world, every path is honoured, every voice recognized worthy and every human being on planet earth gets what every being on this planet deserves – Equal rights. Equal voice. Equal opportunity.

A world where everyone of us is worthy of being part this one, beautiful and magnificent human race.

Namaste.

My North Star

No 1 #ShePersisted Series – They said she had attitude. They said she couldn’t change the world. She Persisted.

When I started the #ShePersisted Series it was my quiet rebellion, my line in the sand, my statement of Enough. The time has come.

It was inspired by reading about how Senator Elizabeth Warren was treated in the Senate and deciding I had to do something.

My something came through creative expression.

No 8. #ShePersisted Series – They said, don’t make waves. She rocked the boat. (August in 2021 calendar)

I began with thinking I’d create a painting that stated in visual-storytelling my position.

One painting. That was all I intended to create.

And then, the muse kept visiting and whispering ideas into my head and I kept creating.

It tapered off over the past year, the compelling need to create more within the series. Not because the world had suddenly decided to rid itself of prejudice and inequality and discrimination and a host of other societal woes that keep people in the places that hurt them, that limit their possibilities and stifle their capacity to speak up and be heard.

That hasn’t happened yet.

For whatever reason it tapered off… it’s back.

No 18. #ShePersisted Series – They said just accept it. You can’t change it. She didn’t accept it and chose instead to transform her world. (March 2021 Calendar)

The purpose to my creative expression.

I have always believed that life is creative by nature. The evolutionary path of our world has been driven by the creative impulse to create better.

In my life, visual and written story-telling has been at the bedrock of my self-expression. It is my pathway to fulfill on my desire to create better. It is my confidence-builder, idea generator and my ballast.

It is my North Star.

There was a time, especially in my 20s, when I tried to ignore my creative-drive. I’d bury it beneath trying to fit in, to be part of the norm, to appear like I was ‘playing the game’ in a way that made me more acceptable to the world around me.

No. 46 #ShePersisted Series – They said, you can’t do that. She said, of course I can. And she did. (December 2021 Calendar)

It wasn’t until my 40s when I accidentally picked up a paintbrush and started to paint with my eldest daughter, who at the time was about 15, that I discovered the lie I’d always told myself (I have no artistic ability. I’m a writer not an artist) just wasn’t true.

I am an artist by nature and design. I am happiest when I am telling stories that inspire, not just verbally but in visual mediums too. And, no matter the medium, I want to tell stories that stir the pot. Stories that awaken us and connect us through our shared humanity to all that is magnificent and beautiful about our world.

And here’s what I realize after spending the past few days with the #ShePersisted Series…

No. 43. #ShePersisted Series – They said, don’t you worry your pretty little head about the state of the world. We’ll take care of it. She made up her mind to make a difference in the world. And she did.

It doesn’t matter if we are going through tough economic times, times of social or political change or the times of Covid or any other remarkable times. What matters is what each of us does, every moment of every day, to create better in the world.

And that’s where the #ShePersisted Series brings me to. That place where I am on fire with purpose and intention to stand up and speak up about what matters to me most.

And from where I sit today, surrounded by love and comfort, I must also acknowledge that the world outside my walls is not full of love and comfort for everyone.

And for my grandchildren to have a better world to grow into, I must not stay silent. I must keep standing up.

My grandchildren deserve the kind of world where everyone has the privilege of being seen and known and treated as magnificent human beings.

It is their birthright.

It is all our birthright.

Namaste

The #ShePersisted Series Calendar is Here!

I did it!

Yesterday, I decided it was time to ‘get real’ with my #ShePersisted Series paintings.

I made a start.

I spent the day creating a desktop calendar and video to go along with it.

And… you know that saying, the devil is in the details?

Well, after spending several hours loading in the photos, smoothing out the page turns, creating graphics and getting the music to sync I read the fine print on Etsy.

Videos are 5 – 15 secs. No sound.

LOL — man those details can be annoying!

Today, I shall create a soundless short video to put up on my Etsy Store a

There is a silver lining. The 1 min video I did create gave me lots of opportunity to stretch my video-editing skills, and, I do have good promotional video for the calendar! Win/Win

It also gave me a chance to use one of my favourite songs by Taylor Cochrane of 36? fame.

So… if you want to hear 1 min 14 seconds of Man at the Door by 36? please do click on the video below.

Full disclosure… Taylor is C.C.’s incredibly talented son. Once you hear him, you’ll understand just how talented.

I have been blessed with Taylor and his partner Laura Hickli’s permission to use any of their music in my videos. It is both a privilege and a gift to be able to share their music and to in some small way support them in their creative endeavours.

And now, Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I are off to walk beneath winter’s soft grey sky and falling snow.

Once I’m back, I shall continue to update the #ShePersisted Series on my website and work on a new painting.

It’s the ‘thing’ I find so inspiring and amazing about the creative process. When I least expect it, ideas drift into my mind calling my imagination to run wild in creative fields of abundance.

The quote that drifted in as I lay between awake and dreaming this morning is:

“They said, it would be easier for everyone if you play by the rules.”

“She said, It’s not about easy. It’s about fairness, justice and dignity for everyone.”

Stay tuned for No. 61 (or is that No 59 or 62? gotta get that numbering fixed! :)) in the #ShePersisted Series.

The full version of The Man at the Door is available on your favourite music-listening site. Or click HERE to listen to it on YouTube.

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They make a great stocking stuffer! 🙂

No. Never. No More. (#ShePersisted Series)

No 60 (something) in #ShePersisted Series – mixed media on watercolour paper.

I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I last created a painting for my #ShePersisted series.

I thought I was done. Finished. Had enough.

The muse had other ideas.

I listened. Because… as No. 57 (or is it 60?) says…

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

They said, you’ve come a long way baby.
Be happy.

She said, there’s still a long way to go.
I’ll be happy when dignity and justice, equality and love
are the way for all humanity.

And here’s how I know how long it’s been since I created No. 60… (which I think is actually No 57 because I seem to have skipped a number here and there in the process – I really need to go back to elementary school and take arithmetic!)

To figure out the No. for this latest painting, I had to go back into my FB feed and check it out.

No. 60 was created in March — of 2019.

And yet, now, more than ever, ensuring every voice is heard, everyone is counted is as important today as its ever been.

We need to do better.

As a human race. As a society. As a collective. As individuals.

We need to do better.

We must.

We can.

Let’s do it.

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PS – I also have to do better at updating my website where all the paintings for the series are displayed. Apparently, I’m still at No. 52.

And another PS… I have had a couple of inquiries about a calendar for the series. For the past two years I have created a small desktop flip calendar with 12 of the paintings.

I’m in the midst of creating a new edition for 2021 with availability by November 30. Just in time for the season of giving!

If you’re interested in possibly getting one, (they’re about $18 +shipping) I’d love to know – especially if you have a ‘fav’ you think should be included. The series (up to #52 but I promise to get the rest uploaded today! 🙂 ) can be viewed HERE. Send me an email or leave a comment.

Thanks!

This was the 2020 version (which was the same as the 2019). 2021 will be 12 different paintings with corresponding messages.

Beauty Lives In All The Seasons

Mother Nature and the Muse conspired to get me outside yesterday and breathe deeply into and with the beauty all around.

I stepped outside my studio door and autumn greeted me with wintery kisses.

The muse wrote words upon my heart and… because I’m working on my video editing skills… I made a video of the muse-inspired poem that fell onto the page.

A Book of Hope

I lost my mind yesterday.

Ok. So not literally. But, for awhile, I was so totally immersed in creativity, I forgot to ‘think’ and settled into the state of ‘being’. with the effortless grace that comes from being Wholly Alive. Present. Connected. At One.

And in the wholeness of being, anxiety, fear, stress, worry, did not stand a chance. They drifted away as fluidly as a leaf floating on the river passing by my studio doors.

I was at One. In the PHLOW as my friend John calls it.

Power  (I also like to think of this one as Presence)
Harmony
Love
Order
Wisdom

In that place, there was no need to push worrisome thoughts away. They were just like that leaf floating by. There was no need to fixate on outcomes – of world events happening right now, or of what was transpiring on the worktable in front of me.

In that moment, all of it and none of it was present with and within me. In that moment I was one with the world outside my studio doors and the world within me.

In that moment, all was in harmony, unfolding just as it was. I was not in charge of the world’s destiny. I was responsible for living mine. Fully. Completely. Wholly.

It was all flowing with grace to the rhythm of the moment flowing past. Dancing joyfully in the circle of Love that surrounds and sustains me. Singing, wild and free to the song of life.

In that moment flowing seamlessly into the next, what mattered most was what I experienced in that moment.

Joy. Gratitude. Acceptance. Appreciation. Love. Peace. Harmony…

There is a song from the late 60s that my brother used to play again and again on my dad’s tape recorder. “Master Jack” by Four Jacks and a Jill.

It has popped into my mind several times the past few days. The lyrics for the first verse and chorus seem apropos to these times in which we live,

It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack / You taught me all I know and I’ll never look back / It’s a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack

You took a colored ribbon from out of the sky / And taught me how to use it as the years went by / To tie up all your problems and make them look neat / And then to sell them to the people in the street.

It’s a strange strange world we live in Master Jack.”

It is a strange strange world we live in.

As it was in 1968 when that song was released, it’s also a big, beautiful, miraculous and magical world full of wonderfully inspired moments that fill me with awe and possibilities for better, for change, for love to grow in the hearts of all humankind. Moments that give me great HOPE.

I am leaning deeper into HOPE today. Allowing the flow to draw me into the mystery, the beauty, the wonder of every moment.

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About A Book of Hope

Yesterday, I finished the little booklet I started working on the day before. A Book of Hope.

The images above are all from that book. The one below are the pages I shard yesterday.

It is small — 2.5 x 4″. 4 x 4 page spreads16 pages.

Each 4 page spread tells a story of HOPE.

Hope is a flower basking in the sun sharing its beauty with everyone.

Hope is the waves crashing [into your dreams] daring you to awaken and set sail towards your dreams.

Hope is a birdsong calling you to spread your wings and fly wild and free.

Hope is the wind whispering to the wildness within to dance like no one is watching.

As I created I wasn’t thinking about ‘the page’, I let my intuition {and the muse] guide me. I let my senses lead me deeper and deeper into the PHLOW.

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And…. here’s Master Jack by Four Jacks and A Jill.