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.


Life is in the art of making it real

Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” — Oscar Wilde

In the studio, I find neither life nor art imitating the other. Instead, I find life makes more sense through art-making.

Life-making and art-making are one and the same to me. Every life is a work of art that is a reflection of its creator.

Like life, art-making becomes fuller, richer, more satisfying, when I get brave and don’t fear the steps I’m taking but instead, commit to taking them wholeheartedly, trusting I have the capacity, and the heart, to deal with whatever comes my way lovingly, compassionately, honestly and bravely.

Last night in the studio, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to create. I simply wanted to create.

I prepared a page in my art journal and while flipping through a bunch of pages I’d collected for collage, found an ink mono print I’d done a couple of years ago of my face.

Cool! I thought. I’ll collage my face into my page and go from there.

It had been awhile since I’d tried to collage one of the ink mono prints into a piece I’m working on and didn’t think back to my last experience.

It could have been a big mistake!

To collage the mono print into my piece, I use a liquid medium. Liquid medium makes ink run. I’d learned this important fact the last time I’d tried to do this — and forgotten it.

Last time, I scrapped the piece.

This time, I chose to keep working through it and make my ‘mistake’ part of my process.

I didn’t worry about the ink running. I made it part of the creation.

And, because I have experiencing working with art products and processes, I knew how to stabilize the mono print once I’d gotten it to where I wanted it to be so that I could keep working on the piece without the ink continuing to run.

And that’s when it struck me. What I was doing was very much like living life.

We all have our ‘histories’. The past things we’ve done and experienced and learned that inform our life today. Like dissecting frogs in Biology Class there are some lessons I’ve learned that do not apply to my life today. For others, dissecting frogs may have led to studying medicine or becoming biology teachers. We are each unique in how we use what we’ve learned and experienced to enrich the journey of our lives.

We carry our learnings and experience through our journey, like beautiful threads in our tapestry of life. Some threads are longer. Some create a pattern we find pleasing. Some we tie-off and weave in another colour or pattern. No matter what we do with the thread, it is always there, ready to add value to the vibrancy and stability of our world today.

Since trying to collage in that first mono print a couple of years ago, I’ve spent a lot more time in the studio. In the process, I’ve gotten more confident and free in my creative journey.

Whereas last time the ink ran I scrapped the project, this time I chose to keep pushing through it. To trust in the process and use what I knew about art-making to enhance my journey. I chose to use my ‘mistake’ as a gift to help create and enrich the outcome.

Here’s the thing though. There was a part of the process last night that did apply to Biology Class long ago.

In Grade 13 I did not want to dissect frogs and convinced my teacher that he didn’t want me doing it either. Instead, I put together an independent study program where I spent the year outside the Biology classroom and in the Grade 3 & 4 classrooms in the elementary school next door. There, I taught children the art of living life compassionately, cooperatively, creatively.

Last night I used some of the lessons I learned from putting together that independent study project when I was in my teens.

Believe in yourself.

Trust in the process.

There are no mistakes, just opportunities to create.

Every life is a work of art. We all have the talent and capacity to create beautiful lives through bravely taking each step of our journey believing in ourselves, borrowing from our pasts when necessary and giving ourselves the grace of trusting in the process of life unfolding in all its beautiful colours running wildly across the page we are creating in this moment right now.





Safe in this moment of possibility

Walking into the studio to simply be present in its space has been a challenge for me this past week.

Fall has settled in and I have been building a nest to hibernate within, letting go of the possibilities of what comes next.

I resist that walk. I hesitate, tell myself I have other things to do, I’m too tired, too edgy, too anything other than present.

I lose myself into a novel. Turn on the television. Convince myself it’s okay to resist and tumble into that rebellious state where doing what is good for me, what is nurturing and supportive falls short of my conscious decision to not do what I know feeds my spirit.

I have been here before, in this space of rebellious resistance to the things that bring me pleasure, joy, peace, contentment. This place where I resist what opens my heart wide, sets it to beating fearlessly as I move into the flow of creativity coursing through my veins.

I am in my head. Walled up in rebellious denial of my power to walk through the barriers I have placed to keep me out of the heart-space of creativity where I am free to flow in all directions without needing a map, a guidebook, a plan.

In this space I ask myself questions that don’t have answers. They just have rabbit holes down which I slide into perpetual cycling in and out of rationalizing my state of being.

There is only one way to stop spiralling into resistance. Breathe and allow.

Breathe and allow.

Allow what is present without judging it or believing it will be forever.

Now is not forever.

And in the now that is not forever, I find the grace to allow myself to shift from inaction into action.

To turn away from the voice of resistance I must breathe and allow myself the sacred connectedness of sitting in front of a blank page, a white canvas and being present to my fear that what I create is not good enough or not right or that the timing is wrong, that I am not meant to create, or that I am too small to change, or too weak to deal with this state I am in.

There is no right or wrong or enough in creativity and I am never too small, to weak, to nothing. I am all that I am and there is only the act of creating exactly where I am at.  There is only the act of casting words upon a page or throwing paint at a surface upon which I have already begun to tell its story if only to change the story that was present when I walked away from the space of believing in all things are possible.

It is sacred ground this creative space. And I have been holding onto the fear I will fall if I believe in it.

I breathe and allow.

Now is not forever and in this not forever place I let go of my fear of being stuck, of falling and of flying.

I breathe and lovingly acknowledge I have moved away, changed, shifted and am holding onto the fear that nothing is possible. In the nothingness of standing in fear with my eyes closed, I cannot see the light shining.

It is in the fearlessness of those moments, those tender, fragile moments where I fear what might be revealing itself upon the canvas or the page that I must let go of my fear and simply stand confidently and unafraid and do that which I fear the most — trust.

Trust in myself. Trust in being present. Trust in the muse, in creativity, the Universe.

When I trust in what is, in where I am, no matter where I am standing, Love is with me, creativity abounds and possibilities open up in endless gratitude for my being present to each moment unfolding.

I have been amusing myself in the land of darkness. It is time to open my eyes and breathe into my fear. It is time to allow possibility, creativity, hope and joy to surface. It is time to let go and trust, no matter what appears, I am safe in this moment of possibility.