Tag Archives: mixed media artist

Dare To Go Deeper

“Rest Here” – Watercolour and acrylic ink on watercolour paper.

When I started painting 20 years ago, I had spent most of my life saying… “I am not an artist. I am a writer, but have no artistic ability.”

And then, on a whim and a desire to spend more time with my eldest daughter, I picked up a paint brush loaded with colour and fell in love.

Yesterday, as I sat at my studio worktable and debated whether to follow the guidelines of the online course I’m taking with Laura Horn or ‘just do it my way, I could hear the critter winding up his full-on, ‘You Can’t Do That’ diatribe in preparation for letting me have it, ‘the full truth and nothing but the truth about my artistic limitations. “You are not a watercolour artist,” he hissed. “You don’t even like working in watercolour. Why don’t you just skip the watercolour and play with your acrylic inks. It’s safer that way. You won’t be disappointed or look like a fool.”

The only way I know to quiet the critter is to breathe and acknowledge his fears.

“I hear you. I know you’re just trying to protect me but I’ve got this. I won’t know if I like them or not until I at least attempt to learn how to work with them. I’ve got this.”

The critter was not quite ready to call it quits. “You don’t got this! It’s bad enough you think you’re an artist but seriously… Well there are so many real artists out there who are so much better than you. They at least sell their work. You? You can’t even get it up onto your Etsy site so people can buy it.”

“Oh that’s what this is about? Not having my art up on my Etsy page?”

“Well you gotta admit Louise, you’re a bit of a disappointment there. Know what I mean?”

And a deep primordial fear awoke within me the longer I listened to the critter’s voice. “Oh no! I am a disappointment!”

I felt that fear. It felt so real. So tangible. So true.

And the the wise woman of care and courage whispered deep within me, “You are never and can never be a disappointment,” the wise woman of care and courage whispered deep within me. “What feels disappointing is when you do not give yourself grace to explore, test your boundaries, and use your mistakes to grow deeper in your understanding and communion with you, your life and the world around you.

And then…

I loaded my palette with watercolours and fell in love.

This morning I awoke from a dream vibrating with a deep awareness of all the lessons yesterday’s exploration of watercolour taught me.

And I smile in gratitude. Calling myself ‘an artist’ doesn’t mean I know it all or have all the answers or have even done it all or explored all the possibilities of my art-making. It means I’m open to the full and intoxicating exploration of my creative essence.

The lessons…

  • Sometimes you just gotta load your fear up with a bunch of paint and let the colours play it out on the canvas of life.
  • Just because you say you can’t doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • Don’t believe everything you think.
  • It’s okay to not know. You can’t learn all sides of the truth if you tell yourself you already know them all.
  • Truth reveals itself slowly, like a rose coming into full-boom. It needs care and time, nature’s grace and a willingness to be surprised by what is coming into bloom so that it can evolve into its full beauty.
  • Life is like your palette. Load it up with yummy colours. Mix them up to your heart’s content and let them dance with wild abandon on the canvas of your wildest dreams come alive in living colour.
  • When you think you’ve gone as far as you dare, dare to go deeper.
  • You are not, and can never be, a disappointment. End of story.

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About the painting.

The following two photos are of the different stages of this painting where I wanted to quit.

At this one, I thought, “Oh. I like it. What if I mess it up?” Problem was… the lesson I was on called for botanicals and painting over the background… Breathing through my fear of messing it up, I dove deeper.

Hmmm…. This looks good. Why don’t I just leave it at this point?

And… I dove deeper.

I’m grateful I did. I learned a lot.

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PS. As to my Etsy store… I’m going to work on loading it up and have it launched properly by September 15. That’s a commitment! To me.

There Is Only Love

The theme of the fourth lesson in Orly Avineri’s course, “Come Outside” is repetition.

This was a challenging one for me. So many thoughts, and my inherent desire to organize them, got muddled up in my staying present with the allowing of what was seeking to appear, to appear. Plus, a real-life story unfolding in all its beauty and wonder kept distracting me.

This morning, I awoke with a clearer sense of what the story of this page was. I am grateful for sleep and dreams and the muse’s constant flow.

As with my other pieces in this new art journal I’ve just begun, this page includes torn up bits of my mother’s prayer cards embedded within the pages as well as a prayer she used to recite in French (it was her first language).

The crosses are a reflection of the crosses we all carry with us in our life. They can burden us down, or free us. Like any burden, we can choose to struggle beneath their weight or live their gifts.

Crosses have recently been a dominant element in my creative flow – perhaps because since my mother’s passing on February 25th, I’ve been doing a lot of work on healing the broken places, and my relationship with my mother and the Catholicism of my childhood appears a great deal in those places.

For me, this piece is about the multi-faceted, complex colours, stories, textures, depth of life on earth and our separation from the whole.

When we let go of seeing our differences as a reason to fear and hate and hurt one another, we create space for our magnificence to shine. In its coruscating light, no matter how we present our beauty, wounds and wisdom, our natural human beauty shines through.

In that beautiful space, we know and live the truth — We are all one humanity, one human condition, one planet. We are all connected. All of the whole, with the whole, essential to the whole of life on earth.

In the beginning and the end, as is written at the bottom repetitively (and as I’ve come to resonate with even more deeply since my mother’s passing) – There is only Love.

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This will be my last regular posting for awhile. I’m taking a few weeks off from blogging to focus on other things.

I may intermittently be posting, but not on an everyday basis.

Enjoy this season of growth and change and beginnings and endings no matter where in the world you are!

Much Love. Many blessings. Bright light.

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

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