Tag Archives: art and creativity

Looking Forward…

Looking forward, there is only love – inside back page of Sheltered Wonder Art Journal

I completed the back inside page of my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal yesterday.

I played and experimented and let it be what it is without fussing over my thoughts of – “Oh no, I could have…”. “I wished I’d…”. “Why didn’t I…”

Like the river, I flow forward. There is no going back to the moment that just passed.

Looking forward, there is only Love.

One discovery I carry with me out of the journey of creating this page, and ultimately the journal, is the one where I choose to recognize my power to choose. Love. Always.

When I see this moment as a portal into the next, Love invites me to cross-over, leaving all my fears, worries, insecurities, doubts, behind. Being human, I struggle to let them go and so, they cloud the present moment leading to the next. They obscure the Love that is the wholeness of everything.

“What if…,” the wise woman within asks me, “what if you choose to trust?”

Seriously? Trust that I’ll be okay without my fears, worries, insecurities, doubts… Trust that Love is enough? That I am enough?

Is Love enough to embody all my human stuff?

And I smile.

And breathe.

Creating this journal has been a labour of Love. It has held me under its thrall for the past month, inviting me to let go of my self-criticisms and worries and doubts to fall, effortlessly and with grace, into the wonder and magic of the creative process (which is Life).

It has taught me to trust in the process. To trust in Life.

If life is the process of moving from one moment to the next, when I choose to see it is Love that invites me to let go of this moment to step into the next, then I must trust that is enough. That I am enough. Or, as in this case, this page is enough.

In an ideal world we would all choose to cross from one love-imbued moment into the next, leaving our fears, our worries, our insecurities, our doubts that cloud the present moment and all the Love it contains, behind.

What if… we chose to do just that? Every moment of every day? To carry only Love? And trust, Love is Enough.

Namaste

_____________________________

About the Page:

I intentionally printed the profile facing outward from the page (my first attempt she was facing inward. I thought, “That works.” The muse had a stronger vision. I reprinted her so that when she was affixed to the page, she was facing outwards) — She is (I am) looking forward, directly at Love.

As I wanted to play with some sewing and ribbon in the journal, (to symbolize ‘threading it all together’) I drew and cut out the profile and then monoprinted it onto cloth that I affixed with ribbon and glued it at the top, onto the page.

Under the fabric, within the whiteness of the profile, a page with the title of all the blog posts I’ve written about each page is affixed, just visible through the profile.

As I only affixed the cloth at the top, it can be lifted to reveal the page.

For me, this symbolizes how we can intellectually understand that Love is the Answer, but until we lift the veil of our human condition to face and honour our doubts and worries and concerns, as well as our lack of trust, we cannot ‘see’ how we have the choice to simply choose Love, again and again and again.

Until we are lovingly willing to peer into the mysteries of life and embrace our own mystery and wonder, and trust that we are enough, we will carry our doubts and worries through time.

Letting go is essential.

And letting go only happens when we trust Love will greet us at the doorway and welcome us in, again and always. In Love, we will be enough.

And yeah. That’s easier said than done!

The Bird of Time

In the final days of my mother’s life, I carried with me a book that was one of my father’s favourites – Edward Fitzgerald’s “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.

On those nights when I sat in the dark alone with her as she slept, I would read to her the poetry my father once read aloud.

“Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring

Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:

The Bird of Time has but a little way to flutter

and the Bird is on the Wing.

Yesterday, as I began work on the final 2-page spread of my Sheltered Wonder art journal, the Bird of Time flew onto the page, reminding me that “Time is fleeting. Savour every moment and then, with a loving heart, let every moment go and flow with grace into the next.”

This moment in which I sit typing, watching the river flow deep and fast as spring runoff swells its waters, it is the only moment I have in which to be present within the beauty and the mystery of life and death.

Three months ago, as I sat in the dark of night in my mother’s room, reading to her, singing, holding her hand or sitting silently within the stillness of her breathing, the Bird of Time was fluttering its wings calling her home to where she yearned to go – back to her family, back into the arms of my father, her beloved Louis, back to the God who had never forsaken her.

This morning, I sit writing and the Bird of Time is on the Wing, calling me, just as the Egyptian goddess did on an earlier page, to ‘Awaken and Dare’.

There is much brokenness in this world of ours. Much despair. Anger. Fear. Death. Turmoil. Angst. Inequality. Injustice. Prejudice. Racism. Apathy. Confusion. Silence. Condemnation.

And always, in the brokenness, there is the wholeness of life. There is Love.

Yesterday, as I walked in the forest with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and watched him run and chase the ball and stop to sniff grass and dandelions in full bloom, I was reminded of just how precious this moment is. And how filled with miracles life can be.

This turmoil that Covid has brought, the death of one man under the knee of another that has erupted in cries for justice, change and equality, perhaps they are the carriers of the miracle we have needed to force us to stop chasing after dreams of more wealth and power and to become present in the beauty of this life we embody of planet earth, our shared home.

Perhaps, they are bidding us to dare to examine our human condition and awaken to its priceless beauty, a beauty that affects each of us the same, yet different.

Every human being has skin covering a skeleton made up of bones upon which arteries and veins, organs and muscles rely. The inner workings of our human condition are the same for each of us. It is just the outer manifestation of the miracle of our life that is different for all 7.5+ bilion of us.

And, just as my mother’s passing was not the ending of my life but the beginning of a new phase, the miracle that Covid brings and the miracle that has erupted with George Floyd’s death is not a symptom of the dying off of our humanity. It is our awakening.

What we do in this moment, right now, matters. It matters how we respond, how we step forward, how we find healing, how we give and find and receive forgiveness. How we share grace.

It all matters, just as the lives of those who have died under Covid’s insidious presence matter. Just as Black Lives Matter.

It is the miracle of these times. They are not calling us to rise up and state, ‘my life matters more’. They are urging us to claim that other lives matter equally as much. And to do something about the matter.

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And So I Pray

In every life, a little rain must fall so flowers can grow and hearts can learn to weather the storms and break open in Love. Pgs 28 – 29. Sheltered Wonder art journal

When I started this Sheltered Wonder art journal project, I wrote out the Wonder Rules to guide me. The reason for the journal is clear – to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the things I’ve learned, experienced, grown through, been challenged by and challenged during the sequestered solitude of Covid.

There have been so many moments where fear rose up, threatening to consume my peace of mind. It was through spending time in nature and in my studio that I was able to grapple with my fear so that I could find my calm even in its presence.

There have also been moments that absolutely took my breath away. Moments where the beauty of the world around me outweighed the sorrow and grief.

And, there have been moments where I felt like I was drowning in sorrow and grief. It has been here, in my studio, creating and writing, that I have found comfort, insight, healing, grace.

In this bubble in which I live, life flows as effortlessly as the river outside my window.

I struggle some days to align my world with what is going on in the world around me. And right now, that means how do I Share Grace, the fifth Wonder Rule, with my neighbours to the south where violence and death tolls continue to mount as the unrest boils over and Covid ravages lives daily.

There is little I can do in the physical world to change the course of events outside my own sphere of influence.

There is lots I can do in the metaphysical world, and also in this ‘cyber world’ where we meet up and share and learn and grow.

And that is, to practice every minute of every day, the art of sharing grace.

The issues that are impacting our US neighbours are deep and profound. Sitting here, north of the 49th parallel, it can tempting to sit in judgement. To cast aspersions upon those in leadership roles, those in power and control, those breaking the laws, those upholding them.

Grace means, I don’t do that. I cannot share darkness. I must share only light.

Light comes in many forms. For me, to add value (which is part of the fourth Wonder Rule – Find Value ) – my light must come in the form of my prayers. I must use my prayers to override any commentary I might want to make so that it is only my prayers that ripple out into the world for peace, understanding, compassion and healing for my neighbours to the south and all the world.

Just as the girl in the painting is carrying a bouquet of flowers to the tree surrounded by a field of wildflowers, I can only add my prayers to the millions of prayers going out to our US neighbours and to the world.

And so, I pray. In rain and sun, under grey skies or blue, I pray.

And I send my prayers out to the sky, the trees, the air, to the river of love flowing to those whose hearts are breaking, those whose lives are ending, those who are carrying burdens that feel too heavy and are falling under the weight. Those who are fighting for and against the turmoil of these times.

Those who are standing in confusion, fear, worry, sadness, sorrow, grief. Those crying in the darkness of their grief, those crying out for mercy, those calling out for the violence to stop, those calling out for change to happen now.

I pray and in my prayers grace finds me and hope embraces me. Hope for our neighbours to the south. For the world still struggling to come out from under the yoke of Covid. Those still struggling to come to grips with the loss of those they love, the life they had, the life they knew as normal. Those praying for peace. For change. For relief. For life.

I pray and send my prayers and my Love out into the world. It is the only way I can Share Grace.

May we all know peace. May we all know Love. May we all find the courage to heal what separates and divides us. May we all embrace our differences and celebrate our humanity as one people, one world, one human race.

And so I pray.

Namaste.

The Quiet Whispers

Listen to the quiet whispers of your heart. They are your heartsong yearning to be set free. Sheltered Wonder Art Journal – pages 26 – 27

In my 40s I decided to join my then teenage daughter in painting.

It changed my life. It also gave me a valuable lesson in How to Hear the Quiet Whispers of Your Heart.

Don’t believe everything you tell yourself about yourself.

When I started painting, I had spent most of my life telling myself I had no artistic talent. I thought it was true.

Committing myself to exploring my painterly ways in my 40s taught me that I was not always right. That in fact, the things I tell myself about myself are often based on my fears, not my heartfelt desire to live a true and authentic life. And, often, when I say, “I can’t do that” what I’m really saying is I’m afraid of looking stupid. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid it won’t be perfect.

Which brings me to the second thing I learned about How to Hear the Whispers of Your Heart.

Get rid of ‘Can’t’.

Can’t is an easy way to let yourself off the hook of turning up for yourself in your life where ever you are, however you are, even in your fear.

If you’ve never done something before and you catch yourself saying, “I can’t do that”, challenge yourself. Allow yourself the grace of doing it imperfectly.

When I said, “I have no artistic ability” I was really just giving myself a soft landing and an excuse not to try something new. Sure, when I look back on some of my earlier pieces I can see how little I knew about colour, composition, light, depth – everything. But, if I’d never picked up that brush, I’d have missed out on the immense pleasure I’ve experienced over the years of creating art that speaks to and from my heart.

In the process, I’ve learned lots about colour, composition… and I’ve strengthened my creative voice and found incredible joy rising up from within the depths of my being.

I still sometimes catch myself saying, “I can’t…” That’s when I must listen for my heart’s whispers by reframing the ‘can’t into an invitation… “I have never tried that before. I wonder what will happen when I do?”

Which of course, brings me to the most important thing I’ve learned as ‘a creative’.

Listen for your heart’s whispers.

Your heart knows best. It is wise. It is loving.

The heart speaks in loving whispers, not angry shouts. Sometimes, you have to listen really deeply for the whispers because the fear that lives at the base of your skull shouts so loud it can be confused as ‘the truth’. In fear’s strident nature, it can become a habit to allow fear to drown out your heart’s quiet truth.

The way to tell the difference between heart truth and fear posing as truth is to ask yourself, “Does this voice hurt me or inspire me?”

If you hear angry, loud messages that are telling you you’re not going to make it, you’re not good enough, you’re stupid or anything negative and hurtful, it’s important to acknowledge that it is fear having its way with your real truth – you are worthy. You are good enough. You are magnificent, brilliant, a shining light.

In those moments when you realize the shouting within is becoming the ‘truth’ you’re accepting as yours – Stop. Breathe. Listen. Deeply. And ask yourself ‘Wonder Questions’… “I wonder what is really true here?” “I wonder what will happen if I just… step here, do this, experiment with this idea, stop listening to ‘can’t’…

Develop the practice of allowing the ‘shouts’ within to become an invitation to get still and listen for the quiet whispers of your heart.

Remember — The heart speaks in loving whispers, not angry shouts. Listen for its whispers.

Years ago, I did something I didn’t believe I could. I started to paint. My life is so much richer, vibrant, loving because I risked turning ‘can’t’ into possibility.

What about you? Are there ‘can’ts’ in your life yearning to be transformed?

Listen to the quiet whispers of your heart.

Namaste.

We Are All Connected

“We are all connected.” 2 page spread in Sheltered Wonder art journal – pages 24 – 25

When I sat down to create this page, bees and flowers were not in my focus. The page itself had started with a piece of collaged paper that came from Tamara’s work surface when she was here painting outside with me for the afternoon.

She’d scraped some paint off of her canvas, cleaned the scraping tool off on the paper covering her work table and exclaimed, “You should collage this into your next piece. The colours are so cool and look at that pattern!”

The beginning with the piece of paper collaged onto my page and gold gesso applied as an underpainting.

Why not, I replied. And promptly applied some medium to the middle of my just beginning next spread and affixed the paper.

The question then became… Where to from here?

It was all about experimenting with backgrounds and materials to see what happened when…

I worked on it a bit that day and then continued with it the next day. Again, letting the page itself guide me with whatever secret/story it was bringing to light.

I added background textures. Painted over places that didn’t ‘feel’ right. Kept delving into the background story.

Gold makes me think of bees and honey. I underpainted honeycomb shapes with pastels and painted a flower.

Hmmm… if there are honeycombs maybe there need to be bumblebees.

Part of what I’m enjoying most in creating the “Sheltered Wonder” art journal is the opportunity to experiment with supplies and materials I haven’t used in awhile.

Somewhere in my stash of stencils I knew I had a bumblebee. I dug through the box where I store them and found it. Perfect. Suddenly, two bumblebees appeared on the page surrounding the flower.

All things in nature are connected through an intricate web of delicate interdependency. Flowers rely on bees to pollinate them. Bees need nectar from flowers to create honey.

Flowers create beauty in our world. Honey nourishes.

Yet, we humans often forget the interdependent nature of all things on this planet. Including us. We strive for independence as if that is the gold ring of success. Even when our success doesn’t happen in isolation. It is always in connection with the people and things we employ to create whatever we have succeeded in doing.

Like art-making.

This piece began with a suggestion from a friend. From there, it evolved into what it became because of all the products I used that someone, somewhere developed and created. It also helped that the muse was flowing freely and I was open to her whispers.

We are all connected, interconnected and interdependent. As John Dunne wrote long ago, “No man is an island.” We are one world. One people. One planet. We need each other. As the African word ‘Ubuntu’ so aptly describes, “I am because we are.”

In Covid’s presence, I have felt the wave of interconnectedness as country after country worked to flatten the curve of this virus’ onslaught.

In the midst of shelter in place orders, people rose up to share their many gifts. From music shared on balconies and driveways, to art ‘zoom-in’ s happening online, to poetry readings and cooking classes, and hundreds of other ways people found to connect, we the people of this planet have risen to the challenge and found ways to make ‘shelter in place’ feel less alone and frightening.

As the world ‘opens up’ again and shelter in place becomes less prevalent, may we all remember the beauty of this time where together, we created a planet where the best of our humanity connected us in ways we never imagined possible.

Namaste.

Nothing In Nature Is Ever Wasted

It is inevitable. Somewhere between sitting down at my studio table to begin, and deciding I’d reached the end of the process for whatever I’m working on, I decide I must quit.

Not because I’ve reached a place where the natural harmony of the creation feels complete. Oh no. Never then.

It’s always somewhere in between the beginning and the ‘ending’. That place where I am thinking about the value of the ‘end product’ instead of being present to the value of being in the creative process. That’s when the critter wants me to believe that whatever I’m creating isn’t being organized enough to have value, make sense, look ‘good’. I may as well just chuck it and begin again.

Yesterday, I decided to collage three of the leaves I’d used to imprint with the day before, as the focal point of my painting. The message being — ‘nothing in nature is ever wasted’.

Good message. Yuck application.

Or at least that’s what my critter mind (who does not care about proper usage of English) kept hissing about midway through the creative exploration of what was seeking to emerge.

I didn’t. Quit.

I kept exploring.

Which also means, I kept breathing. Deeply. I kept breathing into the present moment bringing my entire body into attunement with the mystery that arises in the art of creating.

Nature is your inspiration”, the voice of wisdom whispered within my body. “Let your curiosity and your natural desire to explore open you up to what is possible when you allow the muse to have her way with you without your thinking getting in her way.”

“Nothing in nature is ever wasted.”

I let curiosity guide me.

I am grateful. I did not give up.

Spring blossoms are in full bloom here at the eastern foot of the Canadian Rockies. The undergrowth in the forest separating our lawn from the forest that lines the riverbank is growing thicker. Dead autumn leaves are decaying, becoming fertilizer for new growth.

A robin takes up residence in an abandoned nest tucked into the branches of a tree. I watch it carry offerings from Mother Earth, twigs and grasses and dead leaves. She is busy making it a safe home for her new family. Waste not. Want not.

I affix three leaves to a piece of watercolour paper and halfway through worry I have made a mistake. Ugh, the critter hisses. This painting is going nowhere’.

Frustration with the whole creativity process mounts. I want to give up.

“There is nowhere to be but within the wholeness of everything”, the voice of wisdom whispers. “Keep diving into wholeness. Let your entire being be present within the process.

I breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Deeply. Slowly. My thinking mind stills. My body attunes to the wonder and awe of the moment.

Criticical thinking of what I’m creating falls away. Appreciation of being in the creative moment rises up to greet me and welcome me home.

All things that were once alive become part of creating new life in nature. Nothing is ever wasted.

Like creativity.

Nothing is wasted. Every layer becomes part of the whole. Every idea energy to ignite what is possible into becoming visible.

I wanted to give up yesterday. And then, Nature called me back into the moment and I found myself, once again, in the sacred space of creating with Nature as my guide. Allowing all that was yearning to be called forth into awareness to become visible.

Nature. Wonder. Awe.

Curiosity. Imagination. Inspiration.

Harmony. Gratitude. Grace.

A perfectly whole trifecta of three. The embodiment of my creative expression.

Nothing is ever wasted when I am immersed in creative expression.

I whisper a prayer of gratitude to Mother Nature.

Thank you Mother for your gifts. For this exquisite moment. Thank you for your wholeness. I am complete in your expression of life, of mystery, of endings and beginnings. I am whole when I allow your creative Nature to flow freely through all that I create, all that I am. Thank you Mother for this life.

Harmony and peace wash over and up and throughout my body.

Nothing is wasted in nature. This moment, right now, is perfect. And it flows with nature’s perfect symmetry into the next.

Namaste.

Art, Like Life, Happens In The Messy Places

“Magnifico” – 2-page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal – acrylic and acrylic ink on watercolour paper – Pgs 22 – 23

I painted outside yesterday. I moved two tables, chairs and some supplies out of my studio and onto the lawn and set myself up for a day of magic.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Tamara, friend, fellow artist and one of the other three founding members of the Basement Bombshells Art Collective, joined me for an appropriately socially-distanced paint-in on the lawn. We laughed and chatted and threw ideas around as easily as the squirrels leaping through the Poplars that every so often kept dropping little stickies onto Tamara’s canvas. They all added to the texture of her work while our conversation, the magic that happens when two artists come together to create and the environment offered up the perfect space to delve deep into soulful expression.

Nature’s beauty is ever-present. It lies deep within the soil giving birth to plants and trees, flowers and weeds. It fills the air. With birdsong and distant traffic humming, whispering leaves rustling in the trees and rushing waters gushing towards a far-away sea.

It is beauty. It is the beast. It is light. It is dark. It is softness. It is the hard edges of humanity colliding into life in the messy. In those places where we have forgotten the magnificence of our birthright and fight to find our place, make our mark, make ourselves be known, make peace, make love, make war.

Yet, no matter how far we slip into the dark side of fighting for our lives, we cannot avoid that which is true for every single human on this earth.

We are all born magnificent.

Our lives all began in one single act. I like to think of it as an act of divine love. And, no matter how it is initiated in human form, it is this same act that creates every single being on this earth.

And then, life happens with all its beauty and all its messy, inexplicably painful, frightening part. Immersed in trying to understand the messy, we lose sight of what is true as we struggle to make sense of a world that often defies logic. In our sense-making quest to commandeer life into some sort of order, we forget our magnificence and fall beneath the burden of living ‘our purpose’., finding success, making our life work.

Like life, art happens in the messy places. Pags 23 – 24 — work in progress

Until, one day, we come upon a time when the brevity of our life journey appears to be drawing closer and closer upon the horizon. “Where have the years gone?” we ask as we turn inward towards the glimmering shimmers of light illuminating the sacredness of our being here, on this planet we call home. Slowly, we begin to remember. Magnificence is our birthright. It is at the heart of our human essence. And the cracks appear in our memory as we remember to let go of mediocrity and live our magnificent selves alive in a world of other magnificent selves.

Yesterday, I painted outside amidst Nature’s splendour and I remembered.

Ah yes. This is life. This is joy. This is calm. This is what it feels like to feel, really, really feel, what it means to ‘be alive’ embodied in the present moment. To feel at one with all of nature, sentient and non-sentient beings, in this moment, right now. To know my inherent humanity in all its magnificent colours and to experience the magnificence of others.

Leaves used for imprinting.

Inspired by nature, I collected a few leaves and imprinted their delicate nature onto the page. I splashed and swirled, drew and etched as the page came alive with colour, texture, form, depth.

I’ve titled this 2 page spread, “Magnifico”. It is my reflection of nature’s reminder to never forget the magnificent nature of all things.

To honour always, our humanity and our impact upon this planet we call ‘ours’. It is fragile, this ecosystem that sustains us. It is intertwined amidst and in and of each breath we take in and each breath we exhale. It is a delicate, sacred dance. A gift of life that gives each of us air to breathe, water to drink, gravity to hold us in place and land upon which to stand and sit, walk and run. It is our home. It deserves our loving attention.

Namaste

______________________________________

You can see the work Tamara created in THIS CONVERSATION on my FB page.

In Between, There Is Magic

Page 8 – 2 page spread on watercolour paper. Acrylic and acrylic inks. — The Sheltered Wonder Art Journal

A cat misses noticing a bird because it is watching up in the trees instead of down on the ground.

The bird walks freely, oblivious to the cat because it is down in the grasses searching for worms.

I am fascinated by the flights of fancy that percolate up when I am immersed in the magic of the creative journey.

Yesterday, I didn’t get to my art table until late in the afternoon. Earlier in the day, I had sat down at my computer to write a short story. It’s a piece of homework I needed (wanted) to get done for a writer’s circle. I thought it would be ‘short’ – like a thousand words short. 3,000 words later my first draft is done.

The story came unbidden. I put my fingertips to the keyboard, closed my eyes, took a deep cleansing breath and began to type. The words began to flow and kept on flowing. Magically. Effortlessly. Inspired by being willing to close my eyes and trust in the process. It’s what always happens when I let go of looking for the words and simply let them come through me from the Universe’s rich vault of stories always in the making.

And my soul revels in the mystery and my heart feels all pumped up with joy.

When I finished, it was already early evening. Too late to start a new page for my art journal, I told myself. Is that the new series I’m watching on Netflix calling my name?

I glanced at the screen of my laptop. It sat silently in front of me, the little N icon staring back. Capitulate, it urged. You know you want to.

Yes, I do.

At least the little part of my mind that likes to take the easy path to nowhere wants to.

The wise woman within, the one who knows how fulilling and joyful I feel when I am creating. She knows what I need most.

I shut the lid of my laptop. Get up from my desk. Tell C.C., my beloved he is on his own for dinner (there’s a stew I took out of the freezer thawing in the fridge) and went down to my studio.

Outside, the rain poured down. The glass of the french doors were streaked in rivulets of water. Each one seemed to hold a prism of green light filled with shimmery, wavy images of the leaves on the trees outside dancing on the glass. It was cool in the studio. I put the fire on, turned on lots of lights, my painting playlist, began to move my body to the music and bid the muse have her way with me.

I had no idea what I would be creating for this spread in the journal. I needed her intercessions. I needed to trust she would flow freely.

I pulled out a file of things I hadn’t looked at in a long time. There were stencils I’d made for my She Persisted series. Drawings and cut-outs I’d created and saved (for a rainy day) and found a cat and a bird I’d drawn some time ago stuck between two sheets of wax paper.

What if…

It was all the invitation the muse needed to have her way with me.

I am grateful.

The muse is always flowing freely. It is up to me to heed her enticements. She doesn’t discriminate. If I am too distracted by life and my little mind worries that keep running me around in circles, I will miss her visit. She doesn’t judge. She just continues to flow freely, seeking other more responsive lives in which to float down and share her magic.

One thing about the muse, no matter how distracted I am, as long as I am open to her entreaties to create, she will visit me again.

Yesterday, she did not leave until I felt satiated and the magic of the page was revealed.

It is one of the aspects of diving into the mystery of my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal that has so inspired me to keep creating.

I never know what is going to appear on the page. Until it does.

Like magic.

You don’t see it happening. And then it does.

Namaste.

Plant Only Love

Two page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal. Mixed media on watercolour paper.

If your life is like a garden – to cultivate, to tend, to nurture — what seeds have you planted?

How have you tended it well? What have you nurtured in its fertile soils? What have you weeded out? What new plants have you introduced? Which ones have you transplanted? Where is it overgrown? Where is it barren and dry?

What is your garden asking of you today?

I had fun playing with creativity in my garden yesterday. Experimenting. Wondering, what if I… And then, letting the ‘what if’ guide me. Under its spell, I painted without knowing where I was going, trusting always that whatever was appearing was opening the portal to the next, and then the next, and then the next discovery.

In the art of creativity, I found myself immersed in wonder and awe, free-flowing through time, surfing on a jet stream of creativity that held me captive high above the earth, paying no heed to gravity’s pull calling me to come back to earth.

Eventually I did. Come back to earth. But not before something I hadn’t imagined would appear, appeared on the canvas – in this case an 11 1/5″ x 7″ piece of 140lb watercolour paper – filled with watercolour and inks, a bird on a branch, bright, joyful pops of colourful flowers popping up out of the ground.

The use of complementary and analogous colours was unintentional (that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘colours from the opposite sides of the colour wheel’). I had sat down at my studio work table with an idea in my mind of what I was looking to express.

It wasn’t what appeared.

And that is the beauty of the creative process. When I get out of my head brain and become present with my entire body attuned to the moment, magic happens.

For me, there is something chaotically joyful and abandoned about this painting. It stirs both my heart and my curiosity. It makes me wonder, ‘is the bird just alighting?’ or, is it just taking flight? What are the stories the wind is whispering to the leaves of its travels around the globe?

And then, the art-related questions of, ‘What would happen if I painted the bird white? Gave her a red belly? Or yellow one? What if…

And the circle continues. Widens. Broadens out to encompass more and more possibilities.

I’m not sure this painting is finished with me yet. I’m still wondering ‘what if’s’ and that is always a sign.

The choice to heed their intriguing possibilities is mine.

Hmmmm…. Will she or won’t she?

Ahhh. Life is such a beautiful, joyful dance of mystery, mysticism and magic. It is a garden full of all the seeds I’ve planted growing into my life today. No matter what seeds I plant, or what seeds are pollinated by the winds of time, it is my destiny to tend it so that all that grows, all that flourishes, all that becomes known and witnessed and experienced is, Love in all its rainbow colours.

Namaste.

Seeking Perfection Is Tiring. Seek Beauty.

Beauty found her safe inside the bud of her imagination. Captivated by beauty, she danced free.

As I type this morning, I am listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s recording of 12 Songs From Home. The album notes state, “… at the height of Italy’s lockdown, Ludovico Einaudi waited until his family had gone to bed before taking out his iPhone to record himself at the piano. 12 Songs from Home is the result — an intimate record of a solitary artist, performing pieces from his most acclaimed solo albums.”

To my ears, and heart, the music he shares feels like the river that flows outside my window. Liquid. Velvety. Flowing. Deep and joyful. Soft. Sensuous. Soulful.

Yesterday, when I entered the studio to create a spread for my Sheltered Wonder journal, I put on Coldplay’s Everyday Life album and danced to Arabesque. It wasn’t a ‘dance by numbered steps’ kind of dance. It was more chaotic, free-flowing, arms moving anywhere they wanted to go, body following, sometimes leading. It felt like liquid movement that stirred my senses awakening my connection to the muse’s flow and the art of creating.

Fact is, the muse is always flowing. It’s just sometimes I am deaf to her entreaties to create from the depths of my being present in this moment, right now.

Which is why I begin every creative session in my studio with a dance. Moving my body breaks down the barriers I’ve created in my head to keep me separate from the muse’s exhortations that I let go, set sail, dance free.

My original intention was to go consecutively through the 5 Wonder Rules at the front of the Shelter Wonder art journal I’m creating as a reflection of this time in self-isolation. (Be Curious. Stay Open. Seek Beauty. Find Value. Share Grace.)

I created a two-page spread for Be Curious on the weekend and was intending to work on Stay Open yesterday. And while the image and words that appeared could be a visual guide for, Stay Open, my heart knows this page was created with Seek Beauty at the root of its conception.

And so, I let go of creating in the order my mind says makes sense, and fall into the grace of the rhythm of the muse where all that makes sense is to simply let go and create.

I am grateful.

In the muse’s beautiful song, I dance free of having to do it, ‘the right way, and find myself blessed with the gift of being in the grace of the simplicity that comes when I let go and create, or as Dale suggests in her comment on Wonder. Dream. Dare. “Enjoy and do. Enjoy and do.”

Namaste.

_________________

About the painting:

I tried a new technique yesterday that I learned in an online course with Lorna Horn. I love the ethereal nature of her technique of painting leaves and, as I always do, I adapted it to my own expression.

The woman in the bud is a surprise. I had no intention of painting a woman — the spread was going to be all leaves and buds in various poses and then, I saw an image in an artbook I often use as reference and she appeared on the page.

That is the beauty of the creative process. There is no right nor wrong way. There is only the way I choose to express what is on my heart, in my soul, percolating up from my belly seeking release. And in that expression there is no The Good. The Bad and The Ugly. (thank you Clint Eastwood). There is only the beauty of self-expression. The wonder of what appears. And the joy of creating from the depths of my being present.

A note about the quote: Beauty found her safe within the bud of her imagination. Captivated by beauty, She danced free.

After writing it, I kind of cringed. Dang. It would be better to read… beauty found her sheltered within the bud….

And I smile. Seeking perfection is soooo tiring. I’ll stick with seeking beauty in all its manifestations.

And… this is the page I created for Be Curious.

The little speckles beside the words and above her hands are gold dust — they just don’t show up in the photo. 🙂

And… I know. I know. More?

I wanted to share a link to Coldplay’s album, Everyday Life (my fav by far). When I searched online I found this video of the cover song – and a reference to something I believe in deeply – Ubuntu. And… even more serendipity… The video was released on my birthday last year — how cool is that? 🙂